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Israel, the occupying Power, continues to commit grave breaches of international humanitarian law, including acts constituting war crimes and State terrorism, against the Palestinian civilian population under its belligerent foreign occupation. The escalation of military attacks and excessive and indiscriminate use of force by the Israeli occupying forces against civilians, particularly in the Gaza Strip, has been the cause of an ever-rising toll off bloodshed, death and injury suffered by the Palestinian people at the hands of their occupier.
Today, 13 June 2006, the Israeli occupying forces launched yet another targeted, deliberate air strike against a vehicle travelling in the densely populated Zeitoun neighbourhood in central Gaza City. The occupying forces launched several missiles, striking the vehicle as well as a nearby home, which resulted in the killing of at least nine Palestinians. Among the civilians killed were a father and his young son and another child from the same family, the Al-Mughrabi family, in addition to three Palestinian medical personnel who had rushed to the area to tend to the casualties after the first missile struck. More than 40 other civilians were also wounded in that attack, including children who were playing inside and near the home at the time of the attack. Several of the wounded are reported by Gaza hospitals to be in critical condition and there is fear that the death toll from this deadly Israeli attack may still rise.
In addition to the brutal killings committed today by the occupying forces, on Sunday, 11 June, another targeted air strike was launched against an area in Beit Lahiya, near the Jabaliya refugee camp, in which two Palestinian men were killed and three others were wounded. At the same time, the occupying Power has resumed its sonic boom attacks over the Gaza Strip, causing widespread fear and terror among the Palestinian people, especially children, and causing damage to property. Moreover, Israeli officials, including the Defence Minister, who, in response to the international outcry regarding the killing of civilians, has stated that Israel will not exercise restraint, continue to make inflammatory statements of incitement, indicating that these kinds of military attacks and acts of State terrorism against Palestinian civilians will not only continue but will intensify, further inflaming the cycle of violence and further jeopardizing any Palestinian efforts to achieve calm.
The international community must continue to strongly condemn Israel’s escalation of extrajudicial killings and deliberate and indiscriminate military attacks against civilian areas and, furthermore, the international community must take immediate action to bring a halt to these grave human rights violations and crimes against the Palestinian people. In this regard, I believe it is imperative to recall the relevant provisions of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 12 August 1949, and thus the obligation of the High Contracting Parties to ensure the protection of the civilian population under Israel’s occupation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem. It is in this vein that on Sunday, 11 June 2006, five Israeli organizations, including the main human rights organization, B’tselem, called upon the Israeli government to cease its killing of Palestinian civilians. It is time now for the international community as a whole, including the Security Council, to shoulder its responsibilities in this regard to bring an end to these violations, to the ongoing suffering of the Palestinian civilian population under Israeli occupation and to the continuing deterioration of the situation on the ground, which poses a serious threat to regional stability.
This letter is in follow-up to our previous 245 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 9 June 2006 (A/ES-10/337-S/2006/378), 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, 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, I regret to inform you that since my last letter to you four days ago, at least 13 more Palestinian civilians, including children, have been killed by the Israeli occupying forces, raising the total number of martyrs killed since September 2000 to 3,914. (The names of the martyrs that have been identified are listed in the annex to the present letter.)
I should 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.