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Identical letters dated 30 July 2014 from the Permanent Observer of the State of Palestine to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General, the President of the General Assembly and the President of the Security Council
I have been instructed to draw your attention to the most recent horrific incidents of war crimes and State terrorism committed by Israel, the occupying Power, against the Palestinian people throughout the Occupied State of Palestine, in particular in the besieged Gaza Strip, where the humanitarian situation has become catastrophic owing to Israel's destructive and deadly military aggression.
Now in its twenty-third day, this Israeli war against the occupied and defenceless Palestinian civilian population in Gaza continues to cause high civilian casualties and massive human suffering. As at the time of writing of the present letter, at least 1,269 Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli occupying forces, using all means of lethal weaponry and warfare. Among the dead are at least 147 people pulled from the rubble of flattened homes on Saturday, 26 July, during the period of the humanitarian ceasefire.
This immense death toll includes approximately 287 children, along with 141 women and 57 elderly persons. Moreover, it must be brought to the attention of the international community that, from the onset of this barbaric Israeli war, the Ministry of Health has confirmed that the Israeli occupying forces have targeted 52 Palestinian families, brutally killing 285 members of those families. In addition, the number of civilians injured, many severely and permanently, continues to rise. In total, at least 7,110 Palestinians have been injured, including more than 2,164 children, 1,100 women and 282 elderly persons.
We are compelled to convey to you the list below, which includes just a small fraction of the multiple grave violations, many of them amounting to war crimes, committed by Israel, the occupying Power, since our last letter, of 25 July 2014. Some events that occurred prior to our letter, but for which information was not available at the time, have also been included.
On 30 July:
Yesterday, 29 July, UNRWA spokesperson Chris Gunness warned of the severe strain on UNRWA capacity, stating: “We have reached breaking point with this massive wave of human displacement. This will leave the warring parties, especially the Government of Israel, to assume direct responsibility [for displaced Palestinians].”
Moreover, as of today, 22 hospitals, clinics and medical centres have been directly hit by Israeli fire and the occupying Power continues to target medical staff, including staff travelling in clearly marked ambulances.
While witnessing the horrifying images and testimonies from those on the ground, one cannot but recall many of the observations made by the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict in the aftermath of Israel's so-called “Operation Cast Lead”, in 2008-2009, which stated: “While the Israeli Government has sought to portray its operations as essentially a response to rocket attacks in the exercise of its right to self-defence, the Mission considers the plan to have been directed, at least in part, at a different target: the people of Gaza as a whole” (A/HRC/12/48, para. 1883). Tragically, the same can be said of Israel's current war on Gaza.
The international community, including the Security Council, must exert all possible efforts to bring this bloodshed and immense suffering of the Palestinian people to an immediate end and to hold Israel, the occupying Power, accountable for all of the grave breaches it has committed against the people whose land it occupies. The presidential statement issued by the Security Council on 28 July was an important step, but what is needed now is a strong Council resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire, the lifting of the blockade on Gaza and the immediate provision of protection for the Palestinian people under occupation. Here, we echo what was said by the UNRWA Commissioner-General in his press statement today: “We have moved beyond the realm of humanitarian action alone. We are in the realm of accountability. I call on the international community to take deliberate international political action to put an immediate end to the continuing carnage.”
We urgently appeal to the international community to answer the calls of the Palestinian people under occupation, who are crying out in despair for help, as well to heed to the calls by all those who value the sanctity of human life, including the lives of the Palestinian people and their children. The killing must end. The suffering must end. The siege must end. It is beyond the time for the international community to make good on its promise and take all measures necessary to bring an end to Israel's occupation and all the ills that have become manifest as a result and allow the Palestinian people to live a free and dignified life in their independent State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
This letter is in follow-up to our 512 letters regarding the ongoing crisis in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, which constitutes the territory of the State of Palestine. These letters, dated from 29 September 2000 (A/55/432-5/2000/921) to 25 July 2014 (A/ES-10/645-5/2014/539) constitute a basic record of the crimes being committed by Israel, the occupying Power, against the Palestinian people since September 2000. For all of these war crimes, acts of State terrorism and systematic human rights violations being committed against the Palestinian people, Israel, the occupying Power, must be held accountable and the perpetrators must be brought to justice.
I should be grateful if you would arrange to have the text of the present letter distributed as a document of the tenth emergency special session of the General Assembly, under agenda item 5, and of the Security Council.