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Identical letters dated 10 July 2006 from the Permanent Observer
of Palestine to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General
and the President of the Security Council
The toll of human carnage and physical destruction being caused by Israel, the occupying Power, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, continues to rise as Israel continues to wage its senseless and unlawful aggression against the Palestinian people. The military attacks and other measures of collective punishment that continue to be meted out by the occupying forces against the Palestinian civilian population in the Gaza Strip are in flagrant violation of all norms and rules of international law, in particular the Fourth Geneva Convention, which governs situations of foreign occupation.
Israeli declarations to continue pursuing this violent military aggression are a frightening indication of the widening scope of this tragedy and of the increasing bloodshed and loss to be suffered by the Palestinian people at the hands of their occupier. Hundreds of Palestinian families have been fleeing their homes and many more have voiced their desire to leave the area in search of safety, fearing for their lives even in the sanctity of their own homes, but have been unable to do so for fear of the continuing barrage of attacks and have called upon various international agencies to help them reach safe areas. This dramatic decline of the humanitarian situation in Gaza has been unequivocally corroborated by various United Nations agencies functioning in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and warnings of an impending humanitarian disaster are increasing.
In the period since my last letter to you, the Israeli occupying forces have persisted in launching an endless series of attacks by warplanes and tanks against targets throughout the Gaza Strip, including heavily populated civilian areas, killing and wounding more civilians and causing more destruction to infrastructure and property. Among the rising number of casualties caused in recent days by the occupying Power have been three innocent members of the same family. Just two days ago, on Saturday, 8 July, the Israeli occupying forces carried out several air missile strikes, one of which hit a home in a neighbourhood east of Gaza City, killing a mother, Amina Hajjaj, her 6-year-old daughter Rawan, and her 20-year-old son Mohammed, and wounding another four members of that family in their own home. Such cruel and murderous acts against defenceless civilians should be vehemently condemned, all efforts should be exerted to bring them to an immediate halt, and those responsible should be brought to justice.
In addition, to the human casualties, the Israeli occupying forces continue to cause wanton and deliberate destruction in the Gaza Strip, wreaking widespread havoc and laying waste to vital Palestinian infrastructure. Over the weekend, the occupying forces destroyed another bridge and a power transformer in Beit Hanoun and, in Beit Lahiya, tanks barrelling through narrow streets sheared off outer walls of buildings, including homes, knocked down electricity poles and destroyed streets, and bulldozers razed fields and trees an destroyed greenhouses.
All of this has been taking place at the same time that the Palestinian leadership continues to exert all possible efforts to calm the situation and to reach a diplomatic solution to the current crisis. On Saturday, 8 July 2006, Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh publicly called for a truce and for talks and mediation aimed at resolving the issue of the Israeli soldier taken prisoner. However, these calls were completely rejected by the Government of Israel, which has instead chosen to continue flexing its military power against the Palestinian people, pounding them relentlessly with military attacks and collectively punishing them in blatant violation of international law.
The international community cannot continue with conscience to tolerate this inhumane and lawless treatment of the defenceless Palestinian civilian population by Israel, the occupying Power. The continued passivity of the international community, including the Security Council and the Quartet, can only further embolden Israel to continue acting with impunity and total disregard for international law as it has been doing for decades. Here, it is relevant to recall that 9 July 2006 marked the second anniversary of the International Court of Justice’s rendering of its historic Advisory Opinion on the wall being constructed by Israel, the occupying Power, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, which identified the countless breaches of international law being committed by Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and determined the applicable rules of international law and Israel’s binding obligations in this regard, which Israel continues to violate and about which the international community continues to be passive.
Indeed, as long as the international community continues to be unable to act to bring an end to such Israeli violations, including those being committed in this crisis, the Palestinian people, including innocent children and women, will only continue to face more bloodshed, suffering and loss. The Palestinian leadership thus reiterates its appeals for urgent action to be taken by all concerned parties, foremost the Security Council, to bring an end to this lethal aggression by the Israeli occupying forces and to alleviate the critical humanitarian situation being endured by the Palestinian people.
This letter is in follow-up to our previous 252 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 6 July 2006 (A/ES-10/344-S/2006/489), 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 it is my profound regret to inform you that since 22 June 2006 and until 10 July 2006, at least 67 more Palestinian civilians, including children, have been killed by the Israeli occupying forces, raising the total number of martyrs killed since September 2000 to 3,995. (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 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.