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The Palestinian death toll continues to rise as Israel, the occupying Power, persists with its deadly military assaults against the Gaza Strip. On this seventh day since the start of the latest Israeli aggression, reports from the ground indicate that more than 140 Palestinians have been killed, including many children, and more than 950 people have been injured. Grave breaches of international humanitarian law, particularly the Fourth Geneva Convention, and human rights law are being perpetrated by Israel against the Palestinian civilian population under its occupation.
Despite the ongoing efforts to achieve a ceasefire, Israel has intensified this brutal military campaign, targeting civilian areas in the northern, central and southern Gaza Strip with no regard for civilian life. Several refugee camps, including Al-Bureij, Jabaliya Al-Shatei’ and Al-Nuseirat, have been targeted by Israeli missile strikes. In addition to the killing of innocent civilians, Israel continues to deliberately and wantonly destroy Palestinian property, including homes and refugee shelters, displacing hundreds of Palestinian civilians yet again. In events reminiscent of the criminal Israeli military aggression of December 2008 and January 2009 against Gaza, traumatized and frightened Palestinian families are once again seeking refuge from the onslaught in the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East schools.
Families continue to suffer multiple tragedies as a result of this Israeli aggression, deepening the trauma and fear that has gripped the Palestinian civilian population. An Israeli missile airstrike yesterday on Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip killed a family of four: Fuad Hijazi, the father, Amna Hijazi, the mother, and their twin sons, Suhaib and Mohammed, age four. Twelve other civilians were also wounded in that attack. Two teenage brothers, Ahmed Tawfiq Al-Nasasra, age 17, and Mohammed Tawfiq Al-Nasasra, age 15, were also killed in an Israeli assault on the Rafah area late yesterday, which also resulted in the serious wounding of 14 other people. In another attack near Rafah, two brothers, Abed Abu Mour, age 24, and Khalid Abu Mour, were also killed. Today, an airstrike by the Israeli occupying forces on Deir Al-Balah killed Salim Ayish Abu Sitta and his brother Mohammed, and a missile airstrike on two cars in the Sabra neighbourhood of Gaza City resulted in the killing of Subhi Dughmush, Salah Dughmush and Ahmad Dughmush, along with three other Palestinians who have not yet been identified. Also among those killed was a physically disabled man, Mohammed Zeidan, who was killed in an Israeli strike on an agricultural area near Al-Nuseirat refugee camp.
The Israeli occupying forces have also continued to deliberately target media premises and journalists in Gaza. Today, three Palestinian journalists were killed in two separate attacks: Mohammed Musa Abu-Aisha, Director of Al-Quds Educational Broadcasting, was killed in a strike on Deir Al-Balah, and two cameramen for Al-Aqsa TV, Hussam Salameh and Mahmoud Al-Koomi, were killed in an Israeli assault on Al-Nasr neighbourhood in north-west Gaza City.
Palestinian casualties also continued to be caused by Israel in the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territory as lethal weaponry and excessive force continue to be used against civilians, including demonstrators. Yesterday, in the Bir Al-Mahjar neighbourhood of Al-Khalil, Israeli occupying forces fired live ammunition at protestors, killing Hamdi Mohammed Jawwad Al-Falah, age 22, with shots to his chest, face and legs.
Also in the West Bank, Israeli settlers continue to terrorize Palestinian civilians and destroy properties with total impunity as the Israeli occupying forces provide them with protection, colluding with their barbaric crimes. Once again, Israeli settlers set fire to a mosque, this time in the village of Urif, near Nablus, inflaming religious enmity, and settlers set fire to a Palestinian car and spray-painted racist graffiti in the village of Sinjil near Ramallah.
We reiterate our total condemnation of all of these illegal actions being perpetrated by Israel, the occupying Power, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, which are dramatically raising tensions and destabilizing the situation on the ground. In this regard, we reiterate our demand for a full cessation of the Israeli military campaign against the Gaza Strip, which is causing grave suffering for the Palestinian civilian population, who are also being terrorized by Israel, as the threat of an intensification of assaults, including the possibility of a ground invasion by Israel, continues to loom, causing great fear and distress among the population.
We call once again on the international community and specifically on the Security Council to act collectively and seriously to address this crisis to prevent its exacerbation and avert more loss of innocent civilian lives. In this regard, we reiterate our request for a meeting of the Security Council, which we have repeatedly conveyed since the start of this Israeli military aggression, in order for the Council to shoulder its Charter responsibilities and act to stop this onslaught against the Palestinian people.
This letter is in follow-up to our previous 442 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 19 November 2012 (A/ES-10/570-S/2012/854) 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.