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It is against this tragic backdrop that the Palestinian people yesterday marked one year since the deadly Israeli invasion of the Jenin refugee camp, in which dozens of Palestinian civilians were killed, hundreds of homes were destroyed and thousands were displaced or left homeless. The horror, devastation and anguish of those days continue to haunt us, and we maintain that those responsible for the war crimes perpetrated against the Palestinian people during that attack must be held accountable and brought to justice. The inability of the international community to take measures to seriously address such crimes and atrocities has undoubtedly allowed Israel to continue to act with impunity against the Palestinian people and to continue the bloodshed.
In the past two weeks alone, while the eyes and ears of the world have been turned to the grave situation in Iraq, the Israeli occupying forces have committed innumerable violations and grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem. Since my last letter to you, at least 25 Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli occupying forces, including seven of whom were killed yesterday alone. Among those killed have been several innocent children. Only three of the recent tragic incidents in which Palestinian children have been killed by the occupying forces include the killing of a 12-year-old girl, Christine George Sa’deh, in Bethlehem on 25 March 2003, the killing of a 14-year-old boy, Jihad Abdelaziz Nazal, in Qalqilya yesterday as he stood outside his home, and the killing of an 18-year-old boy, Ibrahim Abdelnour Abu Shaloof, in a missile strike on Gaza yesterday.
In addition, the Israeli occupying forces have continued to raid cities, towns, villages and refugee camps throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, interrogating thousands and abducting and detaining dozens of people. Moreover, this week, the occupying forces once again began rounding up Palestinian males in certain areas. On Wednesday, the occupying forces raided the Tulkarem refugee camp, blocking all roads leading to and from the camp with barbed wire and imposing a curfew on the entire camp. Using loudspeakers, the occupying forces then ordered all males between the ages of 14 and 40 to leave their homes and to gather in the courtyard of a school belonging to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), which the forces had occupied, or to face punishment. The 1,000 boys and men were then boarded onto buses and forcibly taken to the Nur al-Shams refugee camp, a few kilometres east of Tulkarem, and ordered not to return to their homes until the occupying forces completed their searches. Several of those rounded up were arrested and detained by the occupying forces. Today, a similar military raid and search is being conducted in Jenin by the occupying forces, in addition to the raid and search of more than 30 homes in the city last week.
At the same time, Israel, the occupying Power, has continued its illegal practice of home demolitions. Dozens more Palestinian homes throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, have been deliberately destroyed in recent weeks, displacing and dispossessing several more Palestinian families. Further, the occupying Power continues to confiscate more Palestinian land and to pursue its illegal settler colonialism at a feverish pace. Among recent measures, reported to be coordinated with the Israeli Prime Minister’s office, has been the move of several illegal Israeli settlers into a new settlement adjacent to the densely populated Arab neighbourhood of Ras al-Amud in Occupied East Jerusalem. The continuous transfer of Israeli settlers into the Occupied Palestinian Territory and the ongoing confiscation of land represent blatant attempts by the occupying Power to colonize the Palestinian land and are flagrant violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
This letter is in follow-up to our previous 162 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 17 March 2003 (A/ES-10/222-S/2003/326), 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 deep regret to inform you that, since our last letter to you, the Israeli occupying forces have killed at least 25 Palestinians, including children, raising the total number of martyrs to 2,290 Palestinians. (The names of the martyrs that have been identified thus far are contained in the annex to the present letter.)
I would be grateful if you would arrange to have 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.
2. Nabeel Mohammed Dwidar
3. Nasr Eldin Mustafa Asedeh
Sunday, 23 March 2003
Ibrahim Mohammed Alfleet
Monday, 24 March 2003
Ahmed Imad Fayez Abahreh (15 years old)
Tuesday, 25 March 2003
1. Mahmoud Bassam Nasar (14 years old)
2. Muwafaq Abdelraziq Badawneh
3. Nader Salameh Al-Jawarish
4. Alaa’ Eldin Mohammed Ayad
5. Christine George Sa’deh (12 years old)
Thursday, 27 March 2003
1. Iyad Khalil Fayad
2. Ihab Said Jars
Friday, 28 March 2003
Mohammed Awad Muqbil Ghanem
Sunday, 30 March 2003
Mohammed Ahmed Darwish (15 years old)
Monday, 31 March 2003
1. Mahmoud Mohammed Al-Mashharawi
2. Mahmoud Ali Al-Najjar (18 years old)
3. Mohammed Farouk Tafesh (16 years old)
Wednesday, 2 April 2003
Omar Musa Ahmed Matar (14 years old) (died from wounds sustained on 28 March)
Thursday, 3 April 2003
1. Khaled Ali Mohammed Rayan
2. Jihad Abdelaziz Nazal (14 years old)
3. Walid Tawfiq Al-Lidawi
4. Wisam Abdelkareem Al-Sha’ir
5. Ibrahim Abdelnour Abu Shaloof (18 years old)
6. Mahmoud Nafez Shaath
7. Iyad Mohammed Alyan
*The total number of Palestinians killed by the Israeli occupying forces since 28 September 2000 is 2,290 martyrs.