The Israeli air force assassinated two leaders of the armed wing of the Palestinian Hamas party, Aug. 30. The helicopter rocket attack on the Hamas leaders’ car, on a main street of a Gaza Strip refugee camp, also killed several civilian passersby including an 8-year-old girl. Another Israeli air force assassination attack on a heavily populated area in Gaza Sept. 1 killed at least one Palestinian and wounded 20 passersby, including several children. This attack was the seventh assassination conducted by the Israeli armed forces in the occupied territories since Aug. 21, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) charged.

The Israeli Gush Shalom peace group published an ad in a leading Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, Aug. 22, denouncing the Sharon government’s assassination policy. Calling Sharon a “pyromaniac firefighter” who “pours gasoline instead of water on a burning house,” the ad said, “The daily assassinations will cause the whole country to go up in flames. Every assassination invites a suicide bombing.”

Gush Shalom sponsored a protest vigil Sept. 3, under the slogan “Break the cycle of bloodshed. Stop the liquidations.”

The PCHR described the Israeli assassination attacks in the occupied territories as “officially sanctioned attacks on civilian areas,” in violation of international human rights and humanitarian law. These are “ongoing war crimes, including willful killings of Palestinian civilians, perpetrated by the Israeli occupying forces,” the Palestinian human rights group charged. PCHR called on the international community to intervene to protect Palestinian civilians.

Hans Lebrecht contributed to this article.