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Identical letters dated 8 March 2004 from the Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General and the President of the Security Council
The Palestinian civilian population in the Occupied Palestinian Territory continues to be the target of brutal and deadly military attacks perpetrated by the Israeli occupying forces. In recent weeks, these attacks, which have included extrajudicial killings, have further intensified, resulting in mounting Palestinian casualties and further destruction and devastation. Since the beginning of the year in January and up until today, the Israeli occupying forces have killed at least 104 Palestinian civilians, including women and children, and have wounded hundreds of people. This figure includes the 14 Palestinians who were killed by the Israeli occupying forces yesterday, Sunday, 7 March 2004, in the Gaza Strip.
In the early morning hours of Sunday, the occupying forces raided the Bureij and Nusseirat refugee camps in the Gaza Strip. Dozens of armoured personnel carriers and tanks, provided with cover by helicopter gunships overhead, raided the camps in what the occupying Power has referred to as “pinpoint operations” intended to target “militants”. The Israeli attack even included the use of snipers, who were positioned on rooftops of buildings that were overtaken by the occupying forces in the densely populated camps. Before noon, the Israeli occupying forces had killed at least 14 Palestinians, including four children ranging in age from 8 to 18 years old, and injured more than 80 other civilians, more than half of them children and several of them critically. During the raids, the occupying forces also destroyed one home, caused damage to several other houses and roads and used bulldozers to uproot orchards and fields in the vicinity of the refugee camps.
Today, the Israeli occupying forces continued their attacks on civilians when they shot and killed a Palestinian boy, Khaled Mousa Hadeeb, age 15, while he was working in a field belong to his family near an Israeli settlement in the Gaza Strip. Moreover, the occupying forces continued to use excessive force against Palestinian civilians and others protesting against the Wall being constructed by the occupying Power in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. At a demonstration today in the West Bank village of Beit Lakiya, which included hundreds of Israelis, Palestinians and foreign activists, two people were injured when the occupying forces fired rubber-coated bullets at the protesters.
Such ongoing Israeli policies and practices, including the continued perpetration of extrajudicial killings against Palestinian civilians and the continued construction of the Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, constitute serious violations and grave breaches of international law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention. War crimes are being committed against the Palestinian people under Israel’s military occupation. Palestinian men, women and children are being constantly and relentlessly terrorized, punished, harassed and humiliated by the occupying Power as it continues to violate their human rights and to colonize their land. This is the dark reality of daily life in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem. The current escalation of illegal Israeli actions against the Palestinian people is compounding the suffering and hardships of the civilian population and exacerbating the prevailing humanitarian crisis.
The international community, including the Security Council, cannot continue to turn a blind eye to such ongoing and intensifying Israeli transgressions and violations of international law. Israel, the occupying Power, cannot be allowed to continue to act with impunity; it must be held accountable for its actions. Israel cannot be permitted to continue incurring death and destruction among the Palestinian people and to continue to undermine any efforts for a resumption of dialogue and negotiations for a peaceful settlement, while choosing instead to pursue its illegal agenda in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including the imposition of an unjust and illegitimate unilateral settlement on the Palestinian people.
This letter is in follow-up to our previous 182 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 3 March 2004 (A/ES-10/258-S/2004/173), 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, it is my profound regret to inform you that, since my last letter to you just five days ago, at least 23 Palestinians, including children, have been killed by the Israeli occupying forces, raising the total number of martyrs killed since September 2003 to 2,812 Palestinians. (The names of martyrs that have been identified are contained in the annex to the present letter.)
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.
Names of martyrs killed by the Israeli occupying forces in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem *
(Thursday, 4 March 2004 to Monday, 8 March 2004)
Thursday, 4 March 2004
1. Awni Nayef Kalab
2. Mohammed Al-Abed Othman (14 years old)
Friday, 5 March 2004
1. Mu’taz Nafez Al-Shirafi (10 years old, sustained wounds from 28 February 2004)
Saturday, 6 March 2004
1. Tha’er Khaled Abu Sereyeh
2. Hossam Khaled Mohammed Eleweh
3. Besheer Moussa Moussa Abu Al-Amrein
4. Hatem Mahmoud Tafesh (18 years old)
5. Mikdad Mohammed Al-Mibayad
Sunday, 7 March 2004
1. Mahmoud Abdallah Younes (8 years old)
2. Mohammed Ali Badawi (15 years old)
3. Mohamemd Amer Ayman Abu Azreeq (12 years old)
4. Amr Mohammed Al-Jamal (18 years old)
5. Shady Ahmed Al-Sa’edni
6. Fares Fathi Al-Hawajri
7. Mohamed Isamail Al-Shatly
8. Ahmed Harb
9. Mousa Manar Hamou
10. Yussef Mohammed Al-Sinwar
11. Khaled Kassem Al-Hazki
12. Hasan Ahmed Zuhd
13. Haytham Mohammed Al-Esawy
14. Hazem Rawhi Aql
Monday, 8 March 2004
1. Khaled Mousa Hadeeb (15 years old)
* The total number of Palestinian martyrs killed by Israeli occupying forces since 28 September 2000 is 2,812.