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The critical situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, continues to deteriorate and the Palestinian civilian population under Israeli occupation is facing a deepening humanitarian crisis because of the occupying Power’s continued closure of border crossings and its imposition of severe restrictions on movement and access, including for humanitarian supplies. In addition to the turmoil, uncertainty and instability being experienced by the Palestinian people as a result of the regrettable military coup carried out by outlaw militias affiliated with Hamas that took over Palestinian Authority institutions in the Gaza Strip last week, fears are now growing among the civilian population about impending shortages of essential food, medical and fuel supplies due to Israel’s tightening of closure on all of the border crossings into and out of the Gaza Strip and its attempts to further isolate the Gaza Strip from the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territory and the outside world.
The United Nations, through its various agencies operating on the ground in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, the World Food Programme, the World Health Organization and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, among others, have been calling attention to this dire situation and are carrying out urgent efforts to provide vital assistance to the Palestinian civilian population. However, as noted today in statements by United Nations officials, the agencies providing such emergency assistance will soon run out of supplies if Israel, the occupying Power, does not allow for the immediate and regular opening of border crossings, including the main cargo crossing at Karni. Continued closure will have a devastating impact on the already desperate and impoverished Palestinian civilian population in the Gaza Strip. The international community must thus strongly urge Israel, the occupying Power, to open the border crossings to allow for movement of essential goods and supplies into the Gaza Strip and also to allow ill Palestinian civilians in urgent need of medical treatment access to proper medical care outside of Gaza in order to avert the further exacerbation of this crisis.
At the same time, I must draw your attention to the fact that Israel, the occupying Power, continues to carry out military attacks and other illegal policies and practices in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, further inflaming tensions and ensuring the continued decline of the situation on the ground. Today, the Israeli occupying forces carried out several attacks in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, killing at least six Palestinian men. Four of the men were killed in an Israeli missile and tank attack near Khan Younis in the Gaza Strip and two of the men were killed in a military raid near the city of Jenin in the West Bank. Also, a few days ago, on 14 June 2007, the Israeli occupying forces killed four Palestinian children, ranging from 13 to 17 years of age, by indiscriminately firing tank shells at civilian homes in the Al-Showka neighbourhood of Rafah in the Gaza Strip. The occupying Power has never ceased its use of such excessive and deadly force against the Palestinian people under its occupation and continues to carry out violent military raids and incursions and arrest campaigns throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory unabated.
The situation on the ground as a result continues to be one characterized by daily violence by the occupying forces against the Palestinian civilian population, resulting in both human and material loss and destruction, and the continued arrest and detention of thousands of Palestinians. Simultaneously, Israel, the occupying Power, continues to pursue its illegal settlement campaign and unlawful construction of the Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in particular in and around East Jerusalem, and continues to impose more than 550 checkpoints and roadblocks to restrict Palestinian movement, collectively punishing the entire population and destroying their socio-economic life. The cumulative impact of all such illegal Israeli actions is the grave undermining — if not the total prevention — of any attempts for the normal development of the Palestinian society, for the recovery of the devastated economy and for the effective functioning of the Palestinian Authority.
The international community must take action to compel Israel to cease forthwith such illegal policies and practices against the Palestinian people and to instead scrupulously abide by its legal obligations under international law, including humanitarian and human rights law, in its actions towards the civilian population under its occupation. Israel cannot be allowed to continue to ignore and gravely breach its obligations under international law with impunity. The Security Council, the United Nations organ entrusted with the maintenance of international peace and security, must uphold its responsibilities in this regard.
In closing, I wish to reiterate that the Palestinian leadership, under the leadership of President Mahmoud Abbas, remains committed to the objective of bringing an end to the 40-year-old Israeli occupation of the Palestinian land, including East Jerusalem, and achieving a just and peaceful settlement to the question of Palestine and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Thus, the Palestinian leadership continues to do its utmost to bring calm and stability to its people and to extend its hand in pursuit of negotiated and just peace, on the basis of international law, United Nations resolutions, the Arab Peace Initiative and the Road Map. We urge the international community to extend its needed support to these serious efforts and to actively promote the peace process on an urgent basis.
This letter is in follow-up to our previous 284 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 30 May 2007 (A/ES-10/387-S/2007/322), 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 30 May 2007 at least 21 more Palestinian civilians have been killed by the Israeli occupying forces, raising the total number of martyrs killed since September 2000 to 4,575. (The names of the martyrs who 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.