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Yesterday, the Palestinian people solemnly observed the passage of the forty-fourth year since Israel’s military occupation of the Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and other Arab lands in 1967. It was a day marked with high sensitivities as the Palestinian people under occupation and throughout the Diaspora reflected on the decades of injustice and oppression inflicted by Israel, the occupying Power, on the Palestinian people and its continuing denial and violation of their inalienable human rights and obstruction of the fulfilment of their legitimate national aspirations for freedom, justice, peace, security and dignity in their homeland.
In this connection, it is my profound regret to inform you of the brutal killing and injury by Israel, the occupying Power, of yet more unarmed, defenceless Palestinian civilian protesters. In a repeat of the lethal actions perpetrated on 15 May 2011, the Israeli occupying forces responded to civilian demonstrators in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and the Occupied Syrian Golan with excessive and indiscriminate force that caused dozens of casualties.
In the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Palestinian civilians protesting the Israeli occupation were immediately fired at with tear gas, sound bombs, noxious sprays and rubber bullets as they approached the military checkpoint erected by the occupying Power in the Qalandiya area between Ramallah and Jerusalem. It has been reported that at least 120 civilians were injured by the Israeli occupying forces, including at least nine paramedics who had been attempting to provide aid to the injured protesters. In the Occupied Syrian Golan, hundreds of demonstrators, the majority of them Palestine refugees, were attacked with deadly force by Israel, the occupying Power, leading to even greater casualties than on 15 May. It has been reported that at least 23 Palestinian civilians, all unarmed, peaceful protesters, were brutally killed and dozens more were wounded by the Israeli occupying forces in the confrontation that occurred in the town of Majdal Shams.
The Palestinian leadership condemns Israel’s killing of these unarmed civilians attempting to peacefully demonstrate against the brutal and oppressive 44-year Israeli occupation of the Palestinian land and for the realization of their rights and justice. The international community, including the Security Council, must hold Israel, the occupying Power, accountable for the killing and wounding of civilians, so many of whom have been seriously and permanently injured, such as a young Palestinian man, Munib Al-Masri, who was injured in the Israeli attack on protesters last month in Maroun Al-Ras in southern Lebanon and has been tragically rendered disabled for life. Further, Israel must be called upon by the international community to respect the right of civilians to peaceful protest and to cease its use of excessive, indiscriminate and lethal force against them.
In the context of these recent serious developments and in the light of the strong international consensus that prevails regarding the parameters for achieving a final peace settlement in accordance with the two-State solution on the basis of the pre-1967 borders, it is high time that the international community undertake immediate and concrete measures to send the appropriate message to Israel, the occupying Power, that this 44-year, illegitimate military occupation of the Palestinian people and their land must come to a complete end. In this regard, it is worth drawing attention to the fact that there is even strong Israeli support for the two-State solution, as expressed by the thousands who took part in a peace demonstration on Saturday, 4 June, in the city of Tel Aviv, rallying for an end to the occupation and in support of the State of Palestine on the 1967 borders.
Israel must be compelled to abide by all of its obligations under international law and the relevant United Nations resolutions in this regard; the rule of law must apply to all members of the international community without exception. Indeed, it is high time to bring an end to Israel’s impunity and its self-proclaimed immunity from the law and to firmly reject and challenge the illogical and empty pretexts repeatedly used by the occupying Power to justify its illegal actions, including in particular its insidious settlement colonization campaign throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem. Challenging Israel’s unlawful measures and rhetoric in this regard in a way that effects change and adherence to the law will markedly alter the political and physical environment, offering a real opportunity for credible peace negotiations to succeed.
The Palestinian people and their leadership thus reiterate their appeal to the international community to uphold the political, legal and moral responsibilities towards the question of Palestine. Serious and coordinated efforts must be exerted to advance the achievement of a final peace settlement that justly resolves all aspects of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including ensuring an end to the Israeli occupation and the realization by the Palestinian people of their right to self-determination and freedom in their independent State of Palestine on the basis of the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital, and ensuring a just and lasting solution to the plight of the Palestine refugees. The international community should not be deterred by Israel’s arrogant and spiteful intransigence; on the contrary, it should be more insistent than ever that international law prevail in all circumstances and should no longer tolerate Israel’s illegal policies and practices that are rapidly destroying the two-State solution and the chances to achieve peace and security in the Middle East.
This letter is in follow-up to our previous 393 letters 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 31 May 2011 (A/ES-10/520-S/2011/331) 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 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.