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Identical letters dated 18 August 2005 from the Chargé d’affaires a.i. of the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General and to the President of the Security Council
While much attention has been paid to Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza and parts of the northern West Bank, an action widely heralded as a force for positive changes to the situation on the ground, the occupying Power continues to commit systematic human rights violations, State terrorism and even war crimes against the Palestinian people under its occupation. The humanitarian hardships faced by the Palestinian people continue to rise as Israel, the occupying Power, continues to wage its military campaign in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, killing and wounding civilians, destroying property and relentlessly imposing collective punishments on the entire Palestinian civilian population. There is hardly a single day that passes in which a Palestinian life is not taken by the Israeli occupying forces, with 51 Palestinians, including women, children and the elderly, being killed in the past two months.
In addition to the killings, destruction and collective punishments perpetrated by the Israeli occupying forces, the Palestinian people continue to be subjected to ongoing harassment, violence and destruction committed by illegal Israeli settlers. The latest attack by an illegal settler occurred against the backdrop of the highly anticipated and long-awaited Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and parts of the northern West Bank, after 38 consecutive years of brutal occupation. The attack occurred yesterday, Wednesday, 17 August 2005, in the northern West Bank near the illegal Israeli settlement of “Shilo”, when an illegal settler grabbed a gun from an Israeli security guard at knifepoint and then opened fire from close range, brutally killing four innocent Palestinian civilians with absolute impunity. Two Palestinians were killed instantaneously, and a third wounded Palestinian was taken by the illegal settler to another area where he shot him dead at point-blank range. The fourth Palestinian was declared clinically dead today.
Illegal Israeli settlers, currently numbering more than 400,000 throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, have been allowed by the occupying Power to terrorize the Palestinian people and to kill, destroy and steal with vicious impunity. The occupying Power must be held fully accountable for the actions taken by illegal Israeli settlers against the Palestinian civilian population and must bring the perpetrators of such repeated criminal acts to justice.
Moreover, while the attention is focused on Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza and parts of the northern West Bank, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon announced yesterday that following the withdrawal from Gaza, its colonial settlement campaign would, in fact, continue and be accelerated. The international community must compel the occupying Power to cease its continued confiscation and destruction of Palestinian land for the purpose of illegal settlement building and for its unlawful construction of its expansionist Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem.
For its part, the Palestinian leadership is exerting maximum efforts to ensure a smooth and successful Israeli withdrawal from Gaza and parts of the northern West Bank. The Palestinian side holds the sincere hope that a successful withdrawal will be the first step towards the full implementation of the road map in order to achieve the two-State solution of Israel and an independent, sovereign and territorially contiguous Palestine, living side by side in peace and security on the basis of the pre-1967 borders.
This letter is in follow-up to our previous 219 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 June 2005 (A/ES-10/303-S/2005/372) constitute a basic record of the crimes 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.
Accordingly, in follow-up to the above-mentioned letters, it is my profound regret to inform you that, since our last letter to you, which included an attached list of martyrs, dated 17 May 2005, at least 51 more Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli occupying forces, raising the total number of martyrs killed since September 2000 to 3,715. (The names of the martyrs that have been identified are listed in the annex to the present letter.)
I would 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.