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Israel, the occupying Power, continues to wage its brutal military campaign against the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, especially in the Gaza Strip, while the international community continues to espouse a muted response. In the past two days alone, Israeli occupying forces killed nine more Palestinians, while at least 50 others were injured, including an 11-year-old boy and a mother of three. Most of the deaths that have been inflicted, on the Palestinian people by the Israeli occupying forces occurred in the town of Khaza’a, east of Khan Younis, and in the town of Beit Hanoun, north of Gaza City. This tragic death toll is aggravated by the Israeli occupying forces blocking medical crews from accessing the injured and dead in Beit Hanoun in particular, as well as the siege imposed by the occupying forces against Beit Hanoun Hospital. Adding to the alarm of Palestinian residents and observers are the clear intentions of the Israeli forces to further escalate the situation on the ground by expanding the military assault on the Gaza Strip. In Rafah, a large number of Israeli military armoured vehicles, tanks and bulldozers occupied Gaza International Airport on Tuesday, 31 October 2006, and Israeli soldiers called on residents to evacuate their homes. Official Israeli declarations have also made it clear that the ongoing military assault is the largest of its kind against the Gaza Strip since June 2006.
Over the past four months, the Israeli occupation war machine has bombarded Gaza unabatedly, causing a high number of deaths and injuries to the civilian population. These atrocities come at a time when two alarming developments have taken place. On Monday, 30 October 2006, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert declared before the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that the Israeli occupation forces will expand its operations in Gaza. That declaration was endorsed by the Israeli security cabinet at its meeting today. This escalated Israeli aggression also comes only a day after Avigdor Lieberman, head of the extremist party Israel Beytenu, joined the Israeli Government in the position of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Strategic Threats. The Israeli Prime Minister’s alliance with Lieberman, who is notoriously known for his openly declared anti-Palestinian sentiments, should be cause for concern for the international community as a whole.
In line with the above-mentioned developments, it is starkly evident that Israel, the occupying Power, intends to escalate the situation on the ground by causing as much death and destruction as possible in the Occupied Palestinian Territory through the deliberate use of excessive, indiscriminate and completely disproportionate force against the Palestinian population. Indeed, in both word and action, the occupying Power has indicated that it will continue with its aggression and illegal policies, further compounding the suffering of the Palestinian people, who are already forced to bear inhumane conditions under its brutal occupation. Hence, we continue to call on the international community to take action to compel Israel, the occupying Power, to cease its military attacks and to scrupulously abide by international law, particularly the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.
The present letter is in follow-up to our previous 268 letters to you regarding the ongoing crisis in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, since 28 September 2000. Those letters, dated from 29 September 2000 (A/55/432-S/2000/921) to 25 October 2006 (A/ES-10/362-S/2006/843), 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.
In follow-up to the above-mentioned letters, it is my profound regret to inform you that, since our last letter to you, at least 15 more Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli occupying forces, raising the total number of martyrs killed since September 2000 to 4,304.
I should be grateful if you would arrange to have 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.