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Identical letters dated 17 November 2015 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
We are compelled to draw your attention to the continuously rising tensions and violence in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem — the territory constituting the State of Palestine — as Israel, the occupying Power, continues its military aggressions and human rights violations against the Palestinian people.
Israeli occupying forces continue to use excessive force against Palestinian civilians, including against children and peaceful demonstrators, causing death and injury and the destruction of property. Moreover, Israel has been unrelenting in its pursuit of illegal colonization practices, with settlement and wall construction continuing unabated. For example, in just the past week, the occupying Power approved the construction of 891 settlement "units" in the illegal settlement of "Gilo" and approved the construction of 450 more settlement "units" in the illegal settlements of "Ramat Shlomo" and "Ramot", all in Occupied East Jerusalem. At the same time, Israel continues to impose countless collective punishment measures on the Palestinian people, including home demolitions and its blockade on the Gaza Strip. The destructive impact of such Israeli violations on the situation on the ground is immense, as reflected in rising tensions, deteriorating socioeconomic conditions and deepening anger and frustration among the Palestinian civilian population living under this nearly 50-year-old Israeli occupation.
In this regard, civilian casualties have continued to rise. According to the Palestinian Health Ministry, since the beginning of October, Israeli occupying forces have killed 89 Palestinians, among them 18 children and 4 women; 70 were killed in the West Bank and 18 in the Gaza Strip. Moreover, more than 3,500 Palestinians have been shot and wounded with live and rubber-coated steel bullets and 6,300 persons have been treated for excessive tear-gas inhalation, while 280 were injured in other ways, including assaults by occupying forces and burns from tear-gas canisters.
We must highlight one of the many violations committed by Israel, the occupying Power, which took place on 12 November 2015 in Al-Ahli Hospital, in Al-Khalil. There, so-called Israeli "undercover" forces disguised as Palestinian civilians, wearing kefiyehs and fake beards, with one dressed as a pregnant woman, raided the hospital, seeking to seize Azzam Azmi Al-Shalaldah (age 20), a patient at the hospital, who had undergone surgery after being shot by an Israeli settler a couple of days earlier while he was picking olives in Sair Valley. Once they located the room, Israeli forces entered and shot his cousin, Abdallah Al-Shalaldah (age 28) at least three times in the head and upper body as he exited the restroom where he was washing his hands in preparation for prayers. The Israeli forces then threatened another patient at gunpoint and handcuffed another relative to a bed before seizing Azzam Al-Shalaldah and taking him from the hospital.
We wish to quote Philip Luther, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International, who stated, "the fact that Abdallah Shalaldah was shot in the head and upper body suggests that this was an extrajudicial execution, adding to a disturbing pattern of similar recent incidents by Israeli forces in the West Bank which warrant urgent investigation". Moreover, it must be clearly stated that this latest crime by the Israeli occupying forces is a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, in particular article 18, which states, "Civilian hospitals organized to give care to the wounded and sick, the infirm and maternity cases, may in no circumstances be the object of attack, but shall at all times be respected and protected by the Parties to the conflict."
In this regard, I must also refer to the joint statement by the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross warning about the impact of today's conflicts on civilians and urgently appealing for action to address human suffering and insecurity, in which they, inter alia, called on States to "ensure unhindered access to medical and humanitarian missions and to protect medical and humanitarian workers and facilities" and to "condemn those who commit serious violations of international humanitarian law, such as deliberate attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure".
While it is impossible to record every crime by the Israeli occupying forces and terrorist settlers against the Palestinian people, the list below reflects some of the many crimes of the recent period.
On 11 November 2015:
• Israeli occupying forces raided a boys' school in Taqou', east of Bethlehem, harassed the students and threatened to shut down the school if stones were thrown at occupying forces
On 13 November 2015:
• Mahmoud Mohamad Issa Al-Shalaldah (age 22) died from wounds sustained on 12 November 2015 after being shot by occupying forces in the town of Sair, north of Al-Khalil
• Hassan Jihad Al-Baw (age 23) was shot and killed by a live bullet to the heart by Israeli occupying forces in Halhul, north of Al-Khalil
• Naval occupying forces opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats off the coast of northern Gaza
• Lafi Yousef Awad (age 22) was shot dead by occupying forces in Budrus, west of Ramallah
On 14 November 2015:
• Israeli occupying forces raided the headquarters of the General Prosecutor 's office and court in the town of Dura, south of Al-Khalil. They bombed the main door of the court and the Prosecutor's office, before proceeding to break down other internal doors and tampering with the contents. Later, occupying forces raided and searched several Palestinian-owned commercial shops and homes in Al-Khalil and seized surveillance cameras and recording devices.
• In Nablus, Israeli occupying forces destroyed the family homes of three Palestinians — Karam Al-Masri, Yehya Hamad and Samir Kousa — all of whom are currently incarcerated in Israeli jails, and also demolished the family home of Mo'az Hamed, in Ramallah
On 15 November 2015:
• Israeli settlers, protected by occupying forces, attacked and chased Palestinians who were picking olives on their land, which is located near Beit Ummar, north of Al-Khalil
On 16 November 2015:
• Israeli occupying forces invaded the Qalandiya refugee camp before dawn and demolished the house of Mohammad Abu Shahin, who is incarcerated in an Israeli prison
• Laith Assad Manasra (age 21) and Ahmad Abu Al-Eish (age 28) were shot and killed during the Israeli raid of the Qalandiya refugee camp, and Yusuf Abu Latifa (age 17) was critically wounded and was detained while he was being transferred to the hospital in an ambulance
• Israeli occupying forces detained a Palestinian child, Ahmed Nidal Abu Sbeitan (age 12), and his father at their home in Al-Tur, in Occupied East Jerusalem
• Occupying forces fired on Palestinian fishermen offshore from Beit Lahiya, injuring two fishermen
• Occupying forces demolished nine residences and barns in Khirbet Jorat Al-Khalil and Al-Qanub
On 17 November 2015:
• Israeli occupying forces opened fire on Palestinian homes and agricultural land situated near the border area in eastern Gaza
• Mohamed Munir Saleh (age 24) was shot and killed by occupying forces near Turmus'aya
As evidenced by the mounting list of human rights violations and violations of international humanitarian law, the Palestinian people are facing pervasive insecurity and constant threats to their lives under this belligerent foreign occupation. We repeat our appeal to the international community to provide protection for the Palestinian people. We also call for urgent action to compel Israel to halt its illegal policies and practices. Only this can stem the deterioration of the situation, which continues to spiral further out of control each day, and change the dangerous reality on the ground. The international community, particularly the Security Council, must demand that Israel end all of its violations. Israel can no longer be permitted to act as a State above the law and must be compelled to comply with all of its obligations under international law, including humanitarian law and human rights law, and to end this illegal occupation. International inaction will only ensure further Israeli impunity, with grave consequences for innocent civilians and for the prospects for peace.
This letter is in follow-up to our 564 previous 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 11 November 2015 (A/ES-10/701-5/2015/861), 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 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.