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Today, Israeli helicopter gunships fired missiles at a Palestinian gathering in Bethlehem, killing 4 more Palestinians. At the same time, more than 10 Palestinian civilians were seriously injured in this brutal Israeli attack. The Palestinian civilians targeted were preparing a reception for a Palestinian who was released that same day from an Israeli prison. This is a dangerous escalation of the Israeli assassination campaign against Palestinian civilians and represents a serious violation of international law, international humanitarian law as well as the ceasefire agreement.
Furthermore, today’s attack followed an overnight attack by Israeli tanks on four Palestinian police positions in the West Bank towns of Jenin and Tulkarem. Israel claims that this criminal act was carried out in response to the suicide bombing that occurred yesterday in Binyamina, Israel, which resulted in the death of two Israelis in addition to the bomber. This Israeli claim has been made despite the fact that the Palestinian Authority repeated its clear position in this regard in a statement issued after the bombing, condemning it and any attacks against any civilians.
These criminal actions by the Israeli occupying forces in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem, are part of the ongoing Israeli bloody military campaign being waged against the Palestinian people. The government of Mr. Ariel Sharon is fully responsible for that campaign, including war crimes and State terrorism being committed against the Palestinian civilian population under occupation.
Since our last letter to you dated 13 July 2001 (A/ES-10/96-S/2001/697), I regret to inform you that Israeli occupying forces have killed six more Palestinians, including the above-mentioned martyrs, bringing the total number of Palestinian martyrs to 525. (The names of the martyrs are contained in the annex to the present letter.) At the same time, the total number of Palestinian civilians injured, many severely and permanently, also continues to rise each day.
Moreover, I am writing this letter in follow-up to our previous 56 letters addressed to you regarding this grave and ongoing situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem, dated from 29 September 2000 to 13 July 2001 (A/55/437-S/2000/930; A/55/450-S/2000/957; A/55/466-S/2000/971; A/55/474-S/2000/984; A/55/490-S/2000/993; A/ES-10/39-S/2000/1015; A/ES-10/40-S/2000/1025; A/ES-10/42-S/2000/1068; A/ES-10/43-S/2000/1078; A/ES-10/44-S/2000/1093; A/ES-10/45-S/2000/1104; A/ES-10/46-S/2000/1107; A/ES-10/47-S/2000/1116; A/ES-10/48-S/2000/1129; A/ES-10/49-S/2000/1154; A/ES-10/50-S/2000/1173; A/ES-10/51-S/2000/1185; A/ES-10/52-S/2000/1215; A/ES-10/53-S/2000/1247; A/ES-10/54-S/2001/7; A/ES-10/55-S/2001/33; A/ES/10/56-S/2001/50, A/ES-10/57-S/2001/101; A/ES-10/58-S/2001/131 A/ES-10/59-S/2001/156; A/ES-10/60-S/2001/175; A/ES-10/61-S/2001/189; A/ES-10/64-S/2001/209; A/ES-10/65-S/2001/226; A/ES-10/66-S/2001/239; A/ES-10/67-S/2001/255; A/ES-10/68-S/2001/284; A/ES-10/69-S/2001/295; A/ES-10/70-S/2001/304; A/ES-10/71-S/2001/314; A/ES-10/72-S/2001/332; A/ES-10/75-S/2001/352; A/ES-10/76-S/2001/372; A/ES-10/79-S/2001/418; A/ES-10/80-S/2001/432; A/ES-10/81-S/2001/447; A/ES-10/82-S/2001/463; A/ES-10/83-S/2001/471; A/ES-10/84-S/2001/479; A/ES-10/85-S/2001/486; A/ES-10/86-S/2001/496; A/ES-10/87-S/2001/504; A/ES-10/88-S/2001/508; A/ES-10/89-S/2001/544; A/ES-10/90-S/2001/586; A/ES-10/91-S/2001/605; A/ES-10/92-S/2001/629; A/ES-10/93-S/2001/657; A/ES-10/94-S/2001/669; A/ES-10/95-S/2001/686 and A/ES-10/96-S/2001/697).
As we have repeatedly indicated in the past, the Security Council of the United Nations cannot absolve itself from its responsibility vis-à-vis the ongoing tragic and dangerous situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem, and in the Middle East as a whole. We once again reiterate our call to the Council to uphold its responsibility and take the necessary measures to save the situation, as well as to ensure compliance with international law, international humanitarian law and existing Palestinian-Israeli agreements.
I would 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.
* Total number of Palestinian martyrs killed by Israeli occupying forces since 28 September 2000 = 525.