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In violation of international law, including humanitarian and human rights law, Israel, the occupying Power, continues to launch deadly military assaults against the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem. In the short period since my last letter to you, the occupying Power has killed at least 14 more Palestinians, including children, and wounded dozens more as it has continued carrying out violence and destructive raids throughout the Territory. Israel’s use of such excessive and indiscriminate force is a cause of daily terror to the besieged Palestinian civilian population under its occupation who live under constant threat to their safety and well-being.
Yesterday, 6 September, the Israeli occupying forces once again entered the Gaza Strip with army tanks and bulldozers backed by helicopter gunships and launched an assault on the southern area of Khan Younis. During this incursion the occupying forces killed 10 Palestinian civilians and wounded several others. In addition to firing upon homes and agricultural fields, the occupying forces carried out house raids in the Khan Younis area, destroying their contents and traumatizing their inhabitants, including children, woman and elderly persons. This attack followed the brutal killing on 29 August of three innocent children, Yahya Ramadan Ghazal, age 12, Mahmoud Musa Ghazal, age 10, and Sara Suleiman Ghazzal, age 9, by Israeli artillery fire on a field east of the Jabaliya refugee camp in Gaza.
The Palestinian civilian population in the Gaza Strip, which remains isolated and imprisoned owing to the continued closure of all border crossings into and out of the area, is also bracing itself for the deepening of the humanitarian crisis they are suffering in the light of the repeated threats by Israeli officials to cut off electricity and other vital supplies to Gaza. This cruel collective punishment of the entire Palestinian population in the Gaza Strip is unjustifiable under any tenet of international law. The international community must undertake the necessary measures to address this crisis situation and to bring about the cessation of all such grave breaches of the law by the occupying Power and its forces against the Palestinian people in Gaza.
At the same time, it must be stressed that Israel, the occupying Power, also continues its illegal practices against the Palestinian civilian population throughout the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territory in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. In addition to the continuation of its insidious, unlawful colonization campaign via the settlements and the Wall, the occupying Power has continued to carry out incursions and raids in the recent period, particularly in the northern West Bank in and around Nablus, Jenin and Qalqilya. This has involved violent house-to-house searches, the injury of civilians, including schoolchildren, by indiscriminate fire and the arbitrary arrest and detention of dozens more Palestinian civilians. All such actions by the occupying Power, along with its imposition of the severest restrictions on the movement of Palestinian persons and goods throughout the West Bank, including into and out of East Jerusalem, continue to cause turmoil in the daily lives of the civilian population, gravely affecting their socio-economic life and imposing further humanitarian hardships on them.
This situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, must be of serious concern to the international community for it constitutes a threat to the stability and security of the region and perpetuates an environment totally hostile to making peace. At this time, the Palestinian leadership is doing all in its capability to address the internal Palestinian situation and to alleviate civilian hardships. Yet, the international community must to its part to uphold its legal obligations, particularly under the Fourth Geneva Convention, in order to appropriately address this situation. The above-mentioned illegal actions by the occupying Power must be condemned and Israel must be called upon to halt all of its violations of international law. If Israel continues to choose not to comply with the law, then it must be compelled to do so and this requires action by the international community. The silence of the international community, including the Secretary-General and the United Nations, in the face of such constant Israeli military assaults and violations of the human rights of the Palestinian people sends the wrong message again and again, encouraging Israel, the occupying Power, to continue acting in grave breach of the law, comfortable with the knowledge that it will not be held accountable for its illegal actions against the Palestinian people under its occupation.
This letter is in follow-up to our previous 294 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 27 August 2007 (A/ES-10/398-S/2007/512), 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.
In follow-up to the above-mentioned letters, I regret to inform you that since our last letter to you, at least 14 more Palestinian civilians have been killed by the Israeli occupying forces, raising the total number of martyrs killed since September 2000 to 4,679. (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.