Follow UNISPAL Twitter RSS
Identical letters dated 17 December 2015 from the Chargé d'affaires a.i. of the Permanent Observer Mission 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
I write to convey our rising concerns about Israel's illegal policies and measures in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem — the territory that constitutes the State of Palestine. The persistence of systematic destructive, oppressive and unlawful actions by the occupying Power is exacerbating the already-critical situation being endured by the Palestinian civilian population, further poisoning the atmosphere and heightening tensions. With each passing day, such grave breaches of international law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention, have brought more deaths of Palestinian civilians, among them many children and women, more destruction of more Palestinian homes, land and property and more humanitarian suffering.
Since 1 October 2015, the Palestinian Ministry of Health has documented that Israeli occupying forces and terrorist settlers have killed 126 Palestinians, among them 26 children and 6 women. Moreover, 4,700 Palestinians have been shot and wounded with live and rubber-coated steel bullets, many suffering serious injuries, and 9,650 persons have been treated for excessive tear gas inhalation. 390 people have been injured by other violent actions, including physical assaults by occupying forces and burns from tear gas canisters. Military raids on Palestinian villages, towns, refugee camps and cities continue to take place on a nearly daily basis and hundreds more Palestinians have been abducted, arrested and detained and placed under administrative detention in the recent period. To date, it has been documented that over 2,500 Palestinians have been arrested by Israeli occupying forces since 1 October 2015, nearly half of them children.
Along with the depraved killing and injuring of Palestinian civilians that is raining so much loss and grief on Palestinian families, the occupying Power also continues to demolish Palestinian homes, depriving civilians of their property and of shelter, rendering dozens of families homeless and violating numerous other human rights. It must be underscored here that the destruction of civilian properties and all such acts of collective punishment and reprisal constitute blatant breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention. One must ask the question: how can the illegal and cruel practice of demolishing homes, leaving hundreds of families with small children homeless, with nowhere to shelter and stripped of their human security, contribute to promoting calm and restoring a path to peace? Obviously, such destructive crimes will do no such thing, but will rather only further inflame tensions and provoke more anger and frustration, with far-reaching negative consequences.
While it is impossible to record every crime by the Israeli occupying forces and terrorist settlers against the Palestinian people, the list below reflects some of the many crimes of this recent period:
9 December 2015:
• Abdul Rahman Meswadi (age 21) was shot dead by Israeli occupying forces and settlers in the Old City neighbourhood in Al-Khalil.
• Israeli occupying forces fired tear gas inside an elementary school in the village of Husan, west of Bethlehem, causing several tear gas-related injuries.
11 December 2015:
• Uday Irsheid (age 24), was shot and killed by occupying forces in Ras Al-Jura in Al-Khalil.
• Issa Ibrahim Al-Hroub (age 57) was shot and killed by Israeli occupying forces at Al-Nabi Younis junction, north of Al-Khalil.
• Sami Madi (age 41) was shot and killed by occupying forces near Al-Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza.
12 December 2015:
• Israeli occupying forces stormed and wreaked havoc on Al-Ihsan medical clinic in Bethlehem in a clear violation of international law. They searched and ransacked the clinic, tampered with its contents, and seized several computers and other property, in addition to patients' medical records.
• Israeli occupying forces raided, and confiscated computers and other items from, a scientific library in central Ramallah.
13 December 2015:
• Israeli settlers unleashed dogs on an 18-year-old Palestinian shepherd, Rami Daraghmeh, in the northern Jordan Valley, seriously injuring him.
• The occupying Power served eviction orders on two families living in the Silwan neighbourhood of Occupied East Jerusalem.
• A Palestinian girl, Lama Al-Bakri (age 16), was shot with a barrage of live bullets and seriously injured by occupying forces near the entrance of the illegal "Kiryat Arba" settlement in Al-Khalil.
14 December 2015:
• Israeli warplanes carried out airstrikes on two different locations in the northern and central Gaza Strip, causing damage, and causing panic to spread among the civilian population.
Abdul Muhsen Hassuneh (age 21) was shot and killed by Israeli occupying forces near the central station in Jerusalem.
15 December 2015:
• Occupying forces opened fire on Palestinian farmers and prevented them from reaching their farms along the border area east of Deir El-Balah in the central Gaza Strip.
• The occupying Power announced plans to demolish the family home of Bahaa Alayyan, who was killed in October 2015 by Israeli occupying forces.
16 December 2015:
• Ahmad Jahajha (age 21) and Hekmat Hamdan (age 29) were fatally shot by Israeli occupying forces during a predawn military raid on Qalandia refugee camp, north of East Jerusalem.
• Occupying forces demolished a home and razed the area where the house was built in the neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem.
• The occupying Power announced that it would demolish three two-story homes belonging to Palestinians in the village of Al-Khader, south of Bethlehem.
• A young Palestinian woman, Samah Abdul Mu'men (age 19), succumbed to wounds she sustained from an attack by Israeli occupying forces at a checkpoint in Nablus in November.
17 December 2015:
• Israeli occupying forces shot and killed a Palestinian child, Abdullah Hussein Nasasreh (age 16), near the Huwwarah military checkpoint, south of Nablus.
As the international community continues to witness these relentless Israeli violations of the human rights, human security and human dignity of the Palestinian people, not only since 1 October 2015 but over nearly five decades of this brutal, illegal Israeli occupation, we must underscore that many of these violations also unquestionably constitute war crimes. For all of these crimes, Israel, the occupying Power, must be held fully accountable in accordance with international law and the principles of justice. Without accountability, the prospects for reigning in such illegal behaviour will remain remote, with grave consequences for the objectives of attaining peace and security at any time in the near future.
The international community must be resolute in demanding that Israel, the occupying Power, immediately and completely halt all illegal practices and comply with its obligations under international law without exception. For all of the injustices being perpetrated every day against the Palestinian people, we reiterate our call for immediate international action and again urgently call for international protection for the Palestinian civilian population under Israel's occupation. This is imperative to save lives, to de-escalate the current dangerous situation and to salvage the minimal prospects for peace before us, and the international community, in particular the Security Council, has clear responsibilities in this regard that must be upheld in all seriousness and without delay.
This letter is in follow-up to our 568 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 10 December 2015 (A/ES-10/705-5/2015/948), 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 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.