Hamas Weapons Kill Palestinians

Last Thursday an explosion rocked the Al-Zawiya marketplace in Gaza City, killing one person and wounding at least ten others, some of whom were in a critical condition and taken to the Shifa Hospital.

The explosion took place in a residential building, most of which collapsed, and the damage extended to nearby homes and shops. Later reports said that fourteen civilians were injured, including six children.

In a typical Hamas statement, officials said the cause of the explosion was not immediately clear. But Palestinians in the Gaza Strip said it took place in a facility Hamas uses to store weapons.

A video of the incident posted on Twitter reveals the sound of small explosions taking place before the big one that caused the main damage and casualties.

Screenshot from video of the explosionScreenshot from a video of the explosion (Twitter)

Consequently, Palestinian human rights organisations called on Hamas and other terrorists to stop storing weapons in residential areas; and demanded that those responsible for the explosion are held accountable.

On Friday, 23rd July, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) issued a statement saying:

‘Field investigations indicate that the incident occurred due to
the blast of large explosive devices stored inside the house.’

The statement also stressed that: ‘the use of civilian objects to save or manufacture explosives is a clear violation of the international humanitarian law, in particular, the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 and Protocol (I) to the Geneva Conventions.’

As such, the organisation considers ‘the recurrence of such incidents is a threat to the right to life and puts civilians’ lives in unacceptable and unjustified danger.’

That statement clearly provoked an angry response from Hamas because, two days later, the Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council (PHROC) expressed deep shock and strong denouncement of the campaign launched against the PCHR after publishing a press release concerning the explosion that rocked al-Zawiyah Market in Gaza City.’

‘PHROC is deeply shocked by the statement issued by the
National and Islamic Factions` Follow-up Committee in the Gaza Strip
which included false and groundless malicious accusations against PCHR.’

‘What came in the Follow-up Committee`s press release and
the successive statements and comments on social media
pose a direct threat to PCHR and its staff.’

Some Palestinians acknowledge that Hamas chooses popular markets as ‘safe places’ for ammunition warehouses simply because Israel does not target such places.

There was a similar explosion in the open market in the Nuseirat refugee camp last year, which killed more than ten Palestinians and injured dozens of others.

One cannot help but admire the Palestinians who speak out in this way. It takes a great deal of courage to speak out against a terrorist group like Hamas.

When will the international community add its weight to the pressure on Hamas to stop these crimes against its own civilians?