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Identical letters dated 7 January 2016 from the Permanent Observer of the State of Palestine to the United Nations
addressed to the Secretary-General, the President of the General Assembly and the President of the Security Council
Despite the renewed sense of hope in the international community at the start of a new year, hope is regrettably absent in the Occupied State of Palestine, as the Palestinian people have begun yet another year under Israel's belligerent military occupation and the prospects to end this illegal situation and decades-long injustice are as dismal as ever. Throughout the holiday season and into this first week of the year, Palestinian civilians continued to suffer the brutality and criminality of the Israeli occupation, enduring daily civilian casualties, including numerous children and women, and intensifying acts of repression and collective punishment affecting every single aspect of life.
It is in this context that the Palestinian leadership continues to call for international protection for the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem. International humanitarian law provides for the protection of civilian persons in situations of armed conflict, including situations of foreign occupation, in accordance with the Fourth Geneva Convention. Palestinian civilians are in urgent need of protection, as they remain defenceless and vulnerable in the face of daily killings and injuries committed by the Israeli occupying forces with zero accountability to deter these crimes. We thus again call on the international community to provide protection to the Palestinian people and underscore the particular responsibility of the Security Council in this regard.
As of this date, it has been documented that, since the current period of unrest began on 1 October 2015, 148 Palestinians, among them 27 children and 7 women, have been killed by the occupying forces and terrorist Israeli settlers. Thousands more have been injured, with over 7,000 wounded by either live ammunition or rubber-coated bullets and over 10,000 suffering tear gas inhalation as occupying forces continue to use excessive and indiscriminate force against the Palestinian civilians, and hundreds of others have been assaulted by Israeli soldiers and settlers.
The recent tragedy that struck the Hammad family of the village of Silwad, north-east of Ramallah, is just one example of the criminal brutality of this occupation that continues to destroy the lives of generations of Palestinians and continues to make peace and coexistence seemingly impossible. On 25 December, Christmas Day, a mother of four children was shot and killed by Israeli occupying forces in cold blood. Mandiya Mohammed Ibrahim Hammad, age 38, was driving in her car on the afternoon of that day when Israeli soldiers approached her car with weapons pointed. In fear and panic, Mandiya raised up her hands, yet the car continued to move slowly and the Israeli soldiers began firing at her from all sides. The car veered and hit a cement wall, and yet the soldiers continued to fire at her and even prevented an ambulance from approaching, denying Mandiya medical aid and leaving her to bleed to death from the 17 bullets shot at her body, including her face, chest and pelvis, and leaving four young children, including a 10-month-old baby, without a mother for the rest of their lives.
The tragic end of Mandiya's life is symbolic of the tragedies suffered by innumerable Palestinian families as a result of the wrath of this illegal Israeli occupation. The following are just some of the crimes perpetrated by the Israeli occupying forces and terrorist Israeli settlers in the recent period against the Palestinian people, and this includes attacks causing death and injury as well as deliberate, illegal acts of colonization and destruction:
24 December 2015:
• Mohammed Zahran (23) was killed after occupying forces had fired multiple shots at him near Salfit
• Eyad Jamal Issa Ideis (25) was killed by occupying forces at the "Ari" military checkpoint
• Wisam Naser Abu Ghwailie (age 20) was shot dead by occupying forces near the illegal settlement of "Adam", located on the land of Jaba town, north-west of Jerusalem
• Bilal Omar Zayed (age 23) was shot dead by occupying forces in the Qalandiya refugee camp
25 December 2015:
• Hani Rafiq Wandan (age 22) was shot dead by Israeli occupying forces near the Al-Shujayyia neighbourhood in the Gaza Strip
26 December 2015:
• Mos'ab Mahmoud Al-Ghazali (age 26), was shot by occupying forces near the Bab Al-Jadid area in Jerusalem and was left on the ground to bleed to death
• Maher Zaki Al-Jabi (age 56) was killed by occupying forces at the Huwara checkpoint in Nablus
27 December 2015:
• Noureddine Saba'aneh (age 23) and Mohammed Rafeeq Saba'aneh (age 17) were fatally shot by Israeli occupying forces in Huwara village, south of Nablus
• Occupying forces prevented Palestinians from farming their land near Qusra, south of Nablus
• A young Palestinian woman, Enas Al-Sayori (age 23), was injured after an attempted kidnapping by terrorist settlers near Shuafat in Occupied East Jerusalem
28 December 2015:
• Occupying forces detained 14 Palestinians and summoned 8 others in predawn and night raids
• Israel is proceeding with plans for settlement construction in the so-called "E-1" area between the illegal settlement bloc of "Ma'aleh Admumim" and Occupied East Jerusalem
• Yousef Abu Sbeikha (age 48) died of wounds sustained on 25 December after being shot by Israeli occupying forces in central Gaza
29 December 2015:
• Four Palestinian children were attacked by an Israeli settler and occupying forces, including a Palestinian girl, Dana Al-Tamimi (age 7), who was repeatedly struck by the settler, suffering smashed teeth and bruises and cuts on her head, while occupying forces attacked Dana's brother, Mo'tasm (age 10), and two other children, brothers Nabil and Farhat Al-Rajbi (ages 10 and 14)
• Occupying forces demolished a two-storey home under construction belonging to a Palestinian family in the village of Sour Baher, south-east of Jerusalem
• Israeli occupying forces razed an agricultural land near Beit Sahour, east of Bethlehem
• Israel issued military orders for the confiscation of 500 dunums of Palestinian land south of Nablus
• The occupying Power issued administrative detention orders, without charge or trial, against 36 Palestinians; 17 others received renewed orders
30 December 2015:
• Occupying forces detained 28 Palestinians, including 9 children, from across the West Bank
• Israeli occupying forces issued an order to demolish the family house of Mohammed Abdul Baset Al-Hroub, who is being detained in an Israeli prison
31 December 2015:
• Hasan Bzoor (age 22) was killed by Israeli occupying forces near Beita junction, south of Nablus
• Shadi Ghabish (age 38) died of wounds sustained on 4 December 2015 near the Al-Jalazoun refugee camp, north of Ramallah
• Extremist settlers from the illegal settlement "Mabo Dothan" near the Palestinian village of Yabad, south-west of Jenin, assaulted a Palestinian taxi driver and threw stones at Palestinian vehicles
• Israeli occupying forces razed a Palestinian-owned plot of land in Wadi Sa'ir, east of Al-Khalil, in order to establish a military watchtower in the area
• Occupying forces detained nine Palestinians from across the West Bank
2 January 2016:
• Israeli warplanes launched a series of air strikes targeting several locations across the Gaza Strip, causing extensive damage to properties and panic and fear among the civilian population
3 January 2016:
• Extremist settlers torched eight Palestinian-owned cars in the Al-Thawri neighbourhood of Jerusalem
• The leader of an extremist Israeli "anti-assimilation" group called "Lehava" recently renewed his calls to burn churches in Occupied East Jerusalem
• Israeli occupying forces detained 12 Palestinians from the West Bank districts, including Jerusalem, and summoned 4 others for interrogation
4 January 2016:
• Israeli occupying forces detained at least 20 Palestinians during predawn and night raids
• Occupying forces filled with cement the homes of the two Palestinians, Alaa Abu Jamal and Bahaa Elayyan, who had been shot and killed by occupying forces in October 2015
• Occupying forces opened fire at Palestinian farmers trying to reach their fields east of Gaza City
5 January 2016:
• Ahmad Kawazbeh (age 18) was shot dead by occupying forces near the illegal "Gush Etzion" settlement area, north of Al-Khalil
• Occupying forces detained a total of 17 Palestinians, including at least 4 children, from several West Bank villages and towns
• Israeli occupying forces confiscated construction materials and equipment belonging to the municipality of Dahiriya, south-west of Al-Khalil
• The occupying Power ordered the demolition of two farm structures in Beit Ummar, north of Al-Khalil
6 January 2016:
• Occupying forces demolished five dwellings of Palestinian Bedouin families in the Abu Nuwwar community, east of Jerusalem, part of the so-called "E-1" corridor, leaving 25 people homeless
• Israeli occupying forces detained at least 18 Palestinians, including several children, in multiple predawn detention raids across the West Bank
• Occupying forces fired at Palestinian fishing boats off the coast of Gaza, setting one of the boats on fire and destroying it
• The occupying Power is proceeding with plans to illegally construct a settlement on the land of a southern West Bank church compound. The church lies in a sensitive location between the illegal "Gush Etzion" settlement and illegal Israeli settlements around Al-Khalil, and its incorporation would establish a nearly continuous line of settlements between Jerusalem and Al-Khalil
7 January 2016:
• Occupying forces demolished two Palestinian homes in the Ein El-Lawza area of Jerusalem
• Occupying forces targeted Palestinian fishermen near Gaza City with gunfire
• Occupying forces killed three young Palestinian men north of Al-Khalil near the illegal settlement of "Gush Etzion"
In the face of such incessant crimes and the systematic violation of their human rights, it is becoming increasingly difficult for the Palestinian people to believe in the promises of the rule of law and in the prospects for peace and justice. The increasing violence, extremism and cruelty of the Israeli occupation are destroying all such convictions with each passing day. We therefore again urge the international community to renew its resolve to redress this injustice and to ensure protection to the Palestinian people until a solution is secured.
We specifically implore the Security Council to uphold its Charter duties to address this conflict, which is undeniably a threat to regional and international peace and security. A credible political horizon is urgently needed to restore conviction in international law and in a negotiated political solution. The Council cannot stand idly by as the situation continues to deteriorate and tensions continue to rise in a region already in grave turmoil. It should act immediately to adopt a resolution that reaffirms the parameters of the two-State solution based on the pre-1967 borders and in accordance with the relevant United Nations resolutions, the Madrid principles, the Arab Peace Initiative and the Quartet commitment to achieve a just, lasting solution and that sets a clear time frame for an end to the Israeli occupation and the fulfilment of Palestinian rights, including to self-determination and freedom in their independent State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital. As we approach the forty-ninth year since the onset of the Israeli military occupation of the Palestinian land, we appeal for collective, serious and responsible action to salvage the prospects for peace and to set the Palestinian and Israeli peoples on the path towards its realization.
This letter is in follow-up to our 570 previous 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/55/432-5/2000/921) to 23 December 2015 (A/ES-10/707-5/2015/1023), 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 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.