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Identical letters dated 24 December 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 regret to inform you of the continuing turmoil and deterioration of the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, owing to the illegal and provocative policies that continue to be pursued by Israel, the occupying Power. These illegal policies continue to negatively impact the situation on the ground and to cause suffering and hardship for the Palestinian people, in particular in the Gaza Strip, and threaten to reignite another cycle of violence, which must be avoided at all costs.
In this regard, I wish to bring to your attention, yet again, the deteriorating and critical situation in the Gaza Strip, where more than 1.8 million Palestinians continue to live under an oppressive and unlawful blockade and are still reeling from the effects of the massive human devastation and physical destruction caused by the criminal Israeli military aggression against Gaza this past summer. In addition, they are now bearing witness to recent Israeli military attacks against the Gaza Strip, in grave violation of the provisions of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War.
The most recent Israeli attacks against the Gaza Strip took place on 24 December in the towns of Khuzaa and Al-Qarara, to the east of Khan Younis. As a result of the Israeli attack, Taysir Al-Smeiri, age 33, was killed and two others were seriously injured. Shortly thereafter, the occupying Power launched another attack using warplanes and tanks, causing further damage to an already devastated Gaza. It should also be noted that, during the past weekend, Israeli warplanes hit southern Gaza for the first time since Israel waged its war against the Palestinian people in Gaza that ended in August. In this regard, we call on the international community, including the Security Council, to act forthwith to bring an immediate halt to this escalation of violence and to demand that Israel abide by its legal obligations under the Charter of the United Nations and as an occupying Power under the Fourth Geneva Convention.
Moreover, we wish to bring your attention to the continuation of Israel's illegal colonization of Palestinian land, which includes the destruction, theft and confiscation of Palestinian lands and properties, the construction and expansion of both settlements and the Wall and the forced displacement of Palestinian families. Just today, Israeli authorities gave final approval to the construction of 380 new settlement units in the illegal settlements of “Har homa” and “Ramot” in occupied East Jerusalem. We have repeatedly cautioned that Israel's illegal settlement campaign, which continues unabated, is undermining and fragmenting the contiguity and territorial integrity of the State of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital and threatens the viability and prospects for the physical realization of the two-State solution on the basis of the pre-1967 borders.
In this connection, the Palestinian leadership condemns this latest announcement of further settlement building and demands that the occupying Power rescind this latest decision and cease immediately and completely all of its settlement activities in the Occupied State of Palestine, including in and around East Jerusalem. We call on the international community, in particular the Security Council, to hold Israel, the occupying Power, accountable for the advancement of any settlement activities, including the transfer of its own population to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, which constitutes a war crime as defined by the Fourth Geneva Convention, the Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
Furthermore, we call on the international community to bring an end to all of Israel's other violations against the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, including the violation of the right to life. International law, including humanitarian and human rights law, cannot be selectively applied when it comes to the Palestinian people, who continue to unjustly suffer under Israel's nearly five decade-long military occupation. The Palestinian people must be accorded the same rights and protections, guaranteed by international law, that are accorded to all other peoples. The international community, including the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, have the duty to ensure the respect of those provisions of international humanitarian law that protect the rights, safety and well-being of a people living under foreign occupation.
In this regard, as we mentioned in our letter of 19 December 2014 (A/ES-10/668-5/2014/927), we once again draw the attention of the international community to the Conference of High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, convened on 17 December 2014 by Switzerland, in its capacity as the depositary State of the Geneva Conventions, and to the declaration adopted by the High Contracting Parties, which, inter alia, called once again on Israel, the occupying Power, “to fully and effectively respect the Fourth Geneva Convention in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem”, and emphasized that “all serious violations of international humanitarian law must be investigated and that all those responsible should be brought to justice”.
The international community must intensify its efforts to demand and ensure Israeli compliance with the call by the High Contracting Parties in the declaration mentioned above and to ensure compliance with human rights law and relevant United Nations resolutions before the situation further deteriorates.
This letter is in follow-up to our 532 letters regarding the ongoing crisis in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, which constitutes the State of Palestine. These letters, dated from 29 September 2000 (A/55/432-5/2000/921) to 19 December 2014 (A/ES-10/668-5/2014/927), constitute a basic record of the crimes 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.