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I write to draw your attention to a disturbing increase in the firing of rockets and mortars at Israel from the Gaza Strip over the course of the past month — and the past week in particular.
Since 16 June 2011, terrorists in Gaza have launched more than 15 rockets and mortars into Southern Israel, including six attacks in the past five days. Two rockets landed near Kibbutz Zikum on 9 July 2011, causing a fire. On 12 July 2011, two rockets were launched into Southern Israel, one of which exploded in the middle of a civilian neighbourhood and damaged a home. Just yesterday, a rocket exploded near the major Israeli city of Be’er-Sheba, where more than 200,000 people live.
These attacks are deliberately targeted at Israeli civilians — and continue to represent a serious danger to the population. It is only by coincidence that the recent barrage of rocket and mortar fire has not resulted in civilian casualties. Israel holds the Hamas terrorist organization — which remains in de facto control of the Gaza Strip — fully responsible for all attacks emanating from the area that it controls. In response to these attacks, Israel has exercised and will continue to exercise its right to self-defence, as appropriate, and will take all necessary measures to protect its citizens.
These attacks constitute a clear violation of international law and must be addressed with the utmost seriousness. The persistence of rocket fire from Gaza is no accident. It should serve as a clear reminder that calm in Gaza is far from certain — and that Hamas is far from changing its ways. Israel expects the Security Council, the Secretary-General and the international community to condemn all of these attacks in very clear terms and send a firm message to Hamas and its patrons, which seek to escalate conflict in our region.
These attacks also highlight the serious consequences that result from the illegal smuggling of arms into the Gaza Strip — an integral part of Security Council resolution 1860 (2009) that does not receive the attention that it deserves from the international community.
I should be grateful if you would have the present letter distributed as a document of the Security Council.