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Identical letters dated 17 March 2004 from the Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General and the President of the Security Council
In recent weeks, Israel, the occupying Power, has been intensifying its military campaign against the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem. This has included in particular an escalation of military raids and attacks in the Gaza Strip, which has involved the killing of tens of civilians, including the extrajudicial killing of several Palestinians by the Israeli occupying forces.
Today, the Israeli occupying forces fired at least two missiles into a crowd of people in the Rafah refugee camp, killing four Palestinians and wounding several other people. While the occupying forces claimed the missiles were fired at “suspected militants”, among those killed were two unarmed teenage boys, Musbah Abdallah Muwafi, 14 years old, and Ala’ Wawl Al-Najili, 15 years old. This deadly assault followed a missile attack late yesterday, 16 March, in Gaza City, during which the occupying forces launched missile fire at a home in the city, resulting in the extrajudicial killing of two Palestinian men, Hosni Nidal Al-Sarafiti and Nasser Yassin, the wounding of at least 14 other people, including a two-year-old girl, and the destruction of the home of the Haroubi family.
In this regard it is imperative to draw attention to the fact that yesterday the Security Cabinet of Prime Minister Sharon’s government decided to step up the military campaign in the Gaza Strip ahead of a possible planned withdrawal by the Israeli occupying forces. According to this policy set out yesterday evening by the Israeli government, the occupying forces have been ordered to act without restraint or limitations against the leaders of Palestinian groups in the area, including Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Fatah. Specifically, it was reported that this new offensive by the Israeli occupying forces could include the assassination of Palestinian “leaders” and “militants” with the aim of “making the organizations pay a stiff price” ahead of any withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. In this regard, it has been reported that the Israeli occupying forces have been amassing more troops and tanks on the outskirts of the Gaza Strip to carry out this escalation policy. In addition to carrying out extrajudicial killings or assassinations, it has been reported that the occupying forces intend to carry out a series of night-time raids against selected targets throughout the Gaza Strip.
It is becoming starkly clear that it is the intention of Israel, the occupying Power, to cause as much death, destruction and chaos in the Gaza Strip prior to any possible withdrawal of the occupying forces in implementation of Mr. Sharon’s illegitimate unilateral “disengagement plan”. Further, such actions by Israel ensure the continuation of the cycle of violence on the ground and thus the prevention of any return to dialogue or negotiations between the two sides. The occupying Power’s deliberate pursuit of such illegal policies and practices can have no other objectives at this time and must be vehemently condemned by the international community. Moreover, measures must be taken to prevent the further escalation of this Israeli military campaign against the Palestinian civilian population that remains helpless and without any protection from the brute force of the occupying Power. The continuation and intensification of Israel’s military campaign against the Palestinian people will clearly lead only to more bloodshed and to more suffering by innocent civilians, which should be avoided at all costs.
This letter is in follow-up to our previous 184 letters to you regarding the ongoing crisis in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, since 28 September 2000. These letters, dated from 29 September 2000 (A/55/432-S/2000/921) to 10 March 2004 (A/ES-10/260-S/2004/187), constitute a basic record of the crimes committed by the Israeli occupying forces against the Palestinian people since September 2000. For all of these war crimes, State terrorism and systematic human rights violations committed against the Palestinian people, Israel, the occupying Power, must be held accountable and the perpetrators must be brought to justice.
Accordingly, in follow-up to the above-mentioned letters, I regret to inform you that, since my last letter to you, at least 14 Palestinians, including children, have been killed by the Israeli occupying forces, raising the total number of martyrs killed since September 2000 to 2,835 Palestinians. (The names of the martyrs that have been identified are contained in the annex to the present letter.)
I should be grateful if you would arrange to have the text of the present letter and its annex distributed as a document of the tenth emergency special session of the General Assembly, under agenda item 5, and of the Security Council.
Annex to the identical letters dated 17 March 2004 from the Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General and the President of the Security Council
Names of martyrs killed by the Israeli occupying forces in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem *
(Thursday, 11 March 2004 to Wednesday, 17 March 2004)
Thursday, 11 March 2004
Yussef Mustafa Shahwan
Saturday, 13 March 2004
Said Mahmoud Mresh
Mohammed Sulieman Haboush
Ali Shawkat Ali Fares
Sunday, 14 March 2004
Mohammed Mufid Al-Mubyad
Mahmoud Saidy Elieweh
Ahmed Rafik Hamdan
Monday, 15 March 2004
Musa’d Ayesh Ermilat
Tuesday, 16 March 2004
Hosni Nidal Al-Sarafiti
Wednesday, 17 March 2004
Faraj Said Abu Jazar
Mahmoud Abu Nahl
Musbah Abdallah Muwafi (14 years old)
Ala’ Wael Al-Najili (15 years old)
* The total number of Palestinian martyrs killed by Israeli occupying forces since 28 September 2000 is 2,835.