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It is with great sadness that I draw your attention to the terrorizing actions by the Israeli occupying forces being committed against the Palestinian civilian population, especially with regard to today’s killings of Palestinian civilians, in the Qalandiya refugee camp. Additionally, it is with deep dismay that we have learned of the approval of more illegal settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, the area constituting the State of Palestine. Israel, the occupying Power, has yet again, arrogantly and spitefully, taken unilateral actions jeopardizing the prospects for peace at this critical juncture in the negotiating process, where the international community has witnessed once again Israel’s policy of occupation, death and destruction rather than of upholding international law.
During the wee hours of the morning on Monday, 26 August 2013, Israeli occupying forces raided the Qalandiya refugee camp in East Jerusalem. The raid was conducted using unmarked vehicles, and Israeli occupying forces disguised themselves in civilian garb. The purpose of the raid, according to the occupying Power, was to detain a former Palestinian prisoner, Yousef Al-Khatib, for questioning. They raided a civilian home, alarming and terrifying camp residents and awakening them and causing them to take to the streets in concern. As a result of this traumatic arrest procedure, three Palestinians were shot and killed and at least 15 were injured, six of whom are in critical condition. Robeen Zayed, age 34, an employee of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East was shot in the chest, dying instantly; Yunis Jameel Jahjouh, age 22, was shot in the chest and killed as well; and Jihad Aslan, age 20, was pronounced dead after being declared brain dead. This deplorable and inhuman procedure for arresting Palestinian civilians is unacceptable, as evident in the unwarranted deaths and injuries it has caused.
In addition to the recent Palestinian civilian killings, Israel, the occupying Power, has approved additional illegal settlements. Yesterday, the Jerusalem City Council approved plans to construct 1,500 settlement units for illegal Israeli settlers in occupied East Jerusalem, the capital of the State of Palestine. The construction of these 1,500 units in the illegal settlement of “Ramat Shlomo” will expand this settlement further towards the Palestinian town of Shu’fat, causing the confiscation of 580 dunams of Palestinian land. These Israeli settlement activities are illegal and a flagrant breach of all legal norms, including international law, relevant United Nations resolutions, the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and the road map obligation to freeze all settlement activities.
We condemn in the strongest terms these aggressions and crimes committed against the Palestinian people. All these deplorable actions continue to fuel tensions and further destabilize the situation on the ground and heighten pessimism around the negotiating process and the questioning of true intentions. Further, the aggression against the Qalandiya refugee camp resulted in the consequential cancellation of Palestinian-Israeli peace talks today. It is troubling that as we take a step forward in the peace process, Israel, the occupying Power, takes several steps back.
Stressing the importance of this critical time in the peace process, we renew our call upon the international community to exert pressure on Israel, the occupying Power, to stop killing Palestinian civilians and to cease all illegal settlement activity. Further, we renew our call upon the international community, including all relevant organs of the United Nations, particularly the Security Council, to condemn these Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people. We also call on the Secretary-General to use his good offices, in particular after his recent successful visit to the State of Palestine, to make clear to Israel that it can no longer speak about peace while simultaneously destroying it, confiscating Palestinian land and killing Palestinians.
The present letter is in follow-up to our previous 471 letters regarding the ongoing crisis in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, which constitutes the territory of the State of Palestine. These letters, dated from 29 September 2000 (A/55/432-S/2000/921) to 23 August 2013 (A/ES-10/601-S/2013/505) 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 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 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.