2006 shelling of Beit Hanoun

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The 2006 shelling of Beit Hanoun by the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) happened on 8 November, when shells hit a row of houses in the Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun, [1] killing at least 19 Palestinians and wounding more than 40. [2] [3] The shelling followed the IDF's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in completion of a week-long operation codenamed Operation "Autumn Clouds", which the Israeli government stated had been intended to stop the Qassam rocket attacks on Israel by Palestinian militants. [4] The Israeli government apologized and attributed the incident to a technical malfunction.

Gaza Strip region on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea

The Gaza Strip, or simply Gaza, is a self-governing Palestinian territory on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea, that borders Egypt on the southwest for 11 kilometers (6.8 mi) and Israel on the east and north along a 51 km (32 mi) border. Gaza and the West Bank are claimed by the State of Palestine.

Beit Hanoun Municipality type A in North Gaza, State of Palestine

Beit Hanoun or Beit Hanun is a city on the northeast edge of the Gaza Strip. According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, the town had a population of 32,187 in mid-2006. It is administered by the Hamas administration. It is located by the Hanoun stream, just 6 kilometers (3.7 mi) away from the Israeli town of Sderot. After 19 Palestinian civilians died during shelling by the IDF in 2006, the United Nations appointed a fact-finding commission, to be led by Desmond Tutu, to investigate if the shelling constituted a war crime; but the investigation was cancelled due to the lack of Israeli cooperation.

Palestinians Ethnic group

The Palestinian people, also referred to as Palestinians or Palestinian Arabs, are an ethnonational group comprising the modern descendants of the peoples who have lived in Palestine continuously over the centuries and who today are largely culturally and linguistically Arab; this definition includes those ethnic Jews and Samaritans who fit this definition. Despite various wars and exoduses, roughly one half of the world's Palestinian population continues to reside in historic Palestine, the area encompassing the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and Israel. In this combined area, as of 2005, Palestinians constituted 49% of all inhabitants, encompassing the entire population of the Gaza Strip (1.865 million), the majority of the population of the West Bank and 20.95% of the population of Israel proper as Arab citizens of Israel. Many are Palestinian refugees or internally displaced Palestinians, including more than a million in the Gaza Strip, about 750,000 in the West Bank and about 250,000 in Israel proper. Of the Palestinian population who live abroad, known as the Palestinian diaspora, more than half are stateless, lacking citizenship in any country. Between 2.1 and 3.24 million of the diaspora population live in neighboring Jordan, over 1 million live between Syria and Lebanon and about 750,000 live in Saudi Arabia, with Chile's half a million representing the largest concentration outside the Middle East.



Israel stated that the shelling was in response to a Qassam rocket attack from that location, possibly from a car driven into the area. [5] According to the Israeli military, the artillery had misfired due to a malfunction of the guidance system. [6] [7] At least 40 people were wounded. Thirteen of the dead belonged to the same family. [4] [8]

Palestinian response

Palestinian National Authority Interim government in Western Asia

The Palestinian National Authority is the interim self-government body established in 1994 following the Gaza–Jericho Agreement to govern the Gaza Strip and Areas A and B of the West Bank, as a consequence of the 1993 Oslo Accords. Following elections in 2006 and the subsequent Gaza conflict between the Fatah and Hamas parties, its authority had extended only in areas A and B of the West Bank. Since January 2013, the Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority uses the name "State of Palestine" on official documents.

Hamas Palestinian Sunni-Islamic fundamentalist organization

Hamas is a Palestinian Sunni-Islamic fundamentalist militant organization. It has a social service wing, Dawah, and a military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades. It has been the de facto governing authority of the Gaza Strip since its takeover of that area in 2007. During this period it fought several wars with Israel. It is regarded, either in whole or in part, as a terrorist organization by several countries and international organizations, most notably by Israel, the United States and the European Union. Russia, China, and Turkey are among countries who do not regard it so.

Mahmoud Abbas Palestinian statesman

Mahmoud Abbas, also known by the kunya Abu Mazen, is the President of the State of Palestine and Palestinian National Authority. He has been the Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) since 11 November 2004, and Palestinian president since 15 January 2005. Abbas is a member of the Fatah party and was elected Chairman of Fatah in 2009.

Israeli response

Ehud Olmert Israeli politician, prime minister of Israel

Ehud Olmert is an Israeli politician and lawyer. He served as the 12th Prime Minister of Israel from 2006 to 2009 and before that as a cabinet minister from 1988 to 1992 and from 2003 to 2006. Between his first and second stints as a cabinet member, he served as mayor of Jerusalem from 1993 to 2003. After serving as PM he was sentenced to serve a prison term over convictions for accepting bribes and for obstruction of justice during his terms as mayor of Jerusalem and as trade minister.

Peace Now Pacifist organization from Israel

Peace Now is a non-governmental organization, liberal advocacy and activist group in Israel with the aim of promoting a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Gush Shalom is an Israeli peace activism group founded and led by former Irgun and Knesset member and journalist Uri Avnery in 1993. The left-wing organization has been involved in several Israeli controversies, such as sending a "Relief Convoy to Gaza" while it is under Hamas administration, and the mainstream Israeli media has described it, on occasion, as "radical" and "extreme". The American Friends Service Committee has described the group as "one of Israel's most influential peace organizations".

United Nations investigation

On 15 November 2006, the United Nations Human Rights Council adopted resolution S-3/1 [ permanent dead link ] which called for a fact-finding mission, consisting of Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Professor Christine Chinkin of the United Kingdom to travel to Beit Hanoun. [13] The resolution was accepted by a wide margin, with only seven countries opposing and six abstaining. [14]

In reaction to the resolution, the Foreign Affairs Minister of Israel released a statement noting that Israel had already expressed regret regarding the incident, decrying the UN's "ignoring of the ongoing terrorism against Israeli civilians by the Palestinian terrorist organizations", and expecting the UN "to show a more balanced and fairer approach toward Israel and not to automatically adopt any notion from those whose only desire is to discredit Israel." [15]

On three occasions, the mission attempted to travel to Beit Hanoun via Israel. Each of these attempts was frustrated by the refusal of the Government of Israel to cooperate with the mission. [16] The mission finally visited Beit Hanoun from 27 to 29 May 2008.

In its final report, the mission concluded that "[I]n the absence of a well-founded explanation from the Israeli military who is in sole possession of the relevant facts the mission must conclude that there is a possibility that the shelling of Beit Hanoun constituted a war crime." [17]

Tutu has vigorously protested the overall response to the incident: "The right to life has been violated not just through the killings [in Beit Hanoun], but also through the lack of an adequate investigation of the killings." [18]


Andrew Exum has stated that the Israeli military had a "long history of mistakes causing many civilian casualties." About the 2006 shelling, he said that: "it was found it was caused by a faulty programming card in a counter-battery radar system, called Shilem, designed to track an enemy projectile's trajectory back to its point of origin and direct artillery fire back at that spot. The inquiry also found that the artillery crew had not recalibrated their weapons overnight and did not have spotters monitoring whether their fire was accurate, so 12 to 15 artillery shells were fired before it was realised they were hitting an apartment complex. It is not clear what changes the IDF made to its targeting methods as a result." [19]

International response

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Operation "Autumn Clouds" is an Israeli military operation that began on 1 November 2006, following numerous rocket and mortar attacks on southern Israel, when the Israeli Defense Forces entered the Gaza Strip triggering sporadic fighting near Beit Hanoun. The operation is the largest military endeavor undertaken by the Israeli military since Operation "Summer Rains" in the summer of 2006. The operation was launched to stop Palestinian rocket attacks into Israel.

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On April 28, 2008, an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) attack took place in close proximity to a Palestinian family in Beit Hanoun. The IDF claimed that Palestinian gunmen they had targeted, were most probably carrying explosives which caused the civilian deaths immediately after its assault while Palestinian residents in Beit Hanoun claimed the explosion was a result of Israeli tank fire.

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2008 Israel–Hamas ceasefire 2008 Egyptian-brokered six-month temporary peace in Gaza

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Events in the year 2006 in Israel.

Events in the year 2006 in the Palestinian territories.

2014 Israeli shelling of UNRWA Gaza shelters

The 2014 Israeli shelling of UNRWA Gaza shelters were seven shellings at UNRWA facilities in the Gaza Strip which took place between 21 July and 3 August 2014 during the Israeli-Gaza conflict. The incidents were the result of artillery, mortar or aerial missile fire which struck on or near the UNRWA facilities being used as shelters for Palestinians, and as a result at least 44 civilians, including 10 UN staff, died. During the 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict, many Palestinians fled their homes after warnings by Israel or due to air strikes or fighting in the area. An estimated 290,000 people took shelter in UNRWA schools.


  1. Isabel Kershner (19 May 2007). "Israeli Army Strikes Gaza Rocket-Launching Cell". New York Times.
  2. 1 2 12 children among 19 killed by Israeli tank fire, The Guardian
  3. 1 2 Italy: Israel shelled Beit Hanoun deliberately, YNet Israel News, 12 November 2006
  4. 1 2 "Israeli shelling kills 18 in Gaza". BBC News. 8 November 2006. Retrieved 14 November 2006.
  5. 1 2 How Israel put Gaza civilians in firing line, The Guardian , 12 November 2006
  6. Peretz to reevaluate IDF policy of shelling northern Gaza Strip, Haaretz, 9 November 2006
  7. IDF: Inquiry results regarding the incident in Beit Hanoun on 8 November 2006 Archived 5 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine , 9 November 2006
  8. Palestinians killed by Israeli security forces in the Occupied Territories B'tselem
  9. Israeli fire kills scores in Gaza; Palestinians, world slam attack, AFP, 8 November 2006
  10. 1 2 Ian Fisher (9 November 2006). "Israeli Leader Tries to Ease Anger After Shelling". New York Times.
  11. 1 2 3 Security Council urged to condemn Israel's 'aggression' in Gaza, AFP, 9 November 2006
  12. Gush Shalom in Action Blood on the Flag [ permanent dead link ]
  13. President of Human Rights Council appoints Christine Chinkin [ permanent dead link ] to serve on High-Level Fact-Finding Mission to Beit Hanoun, UNISPAL, 6 December 2006.
  14. UN General Assembly by wide margin deplores Israeli military action, calls for dispatch of Mission to Beit Hanoun. 17 November 2006.
  15. "The UN General Assembly ignores terrorism". Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 19 November 2006.
  16. IMPLEMENTATION OF GENERAL ASSEMBLY RESOLUTION 60/251 OF 15 MARCH 2006 Archived 30 April 2008 at the Wayback Machine ENTITLED "HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL", A/HRC/5/20, United Nations Human Rights Council, 18 June 2007.
  17. HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATION IN PALESTINE AND OTHER OCCUPIED ARAB TERRITORIES [ permanent dead link ], Report of the high-level fact-finding mission to Beit Hanoun established under Council resolution S-3/1, A/HRC/9/26, United Nations Human Rights Council, 1 September 2008.
  18. Tutu urges Israel 'war crime' probe Al-jazeera Friday, 19 September 2008. Verified 8 Jan 2009.
  19. Gaza civilian death toll raises questions about Israeli military training, Julian Borger, 31 July 2014, The Guardian
  20. Israel/Occupied Territories: Amnesty International delegate visits scene of Gaza Strip killings Archived 16 November 2006 at the Wayback Machine , Amnesty International USA
  21. 1 2 3 4 5 In quotes: Gaza attack reaction, BBC