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Since our last letter to you, dated Thursday, 3 August 2006, the following tragic events have occurred in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem. Israeli occupying forces continued their indiscriminate and disproportionate shelling towards civilian areas and agricultural land throughout the Gaza Strip. On Friday, 4 August 2006, Israeli occupying forces widened their scope of aggression on the Al-Shawka neighbourhood, east of Rafah in southern Gaza. Israeli warplanes fired missiles onto the homes of Palestinian civilians, causing more death and injury among the civilian population and vast destruction to civilian property and infrastructure.
Moreover, the new tactic by the occupying forces of telephoning Palestinians before dropping bombs on their homes is sowing panic and fear in the Gaza Strip. As a result, hundreds of Palestinian civilians have fled their homes in terror. In one tragic incident, a 3-day-old infant girl, Shahd Al-Eid, fell from her mother’s arms as she was fleeing to seek refuge from an Israeli missile attack. The infant was later pronounced dead as a result of internal bleeding and bruises. On Saturday, 5 August 2006, Israeli warplanes fired missiles at a group of civilians also trying to flee their homes in the Tannour Quarter in the Al-Shawka neighbourhood. The missile fell into a crowded street in the midst of a fleeing family, resulting in the deaths of two children and the injury of scores more.
The United Nations humanitarian agencies working in the Occupied Palestinian Territory have continued to express their deep concern about the impact of the ongoing Israeli aggression on Palestinian civilians and civilian infrastructure in Gaza, which has resulted in a sharp decline in the humanitarian situation facing 1.4 million people, more than half of them children. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) has reported an increasing number of displaced Palestinians as a result of Israeli aggression in the Gaza Strip. As a result, UNRWA is currently sheltering 1,345 people from 289 families, nearly all of them refugees, in four schools in the Gaza Strip. The World Food Programme has reported that more Palestinians are now dependent on food aid, increasing the number of Palestinians it feeds monthly from 160,000 people to 220,000 people. The United Nations Children’s Fund has also reported that Palestinian children living in Gaza are indeed bearing the brunt of Israel’s onslaught and that of the approximately 40 Palestinian children killed since 28 June 2006, almost a quarter were less than 10 years old.
Israel, the occupying Power, has also continued with its illegal policies and practices in the West Bank. Yesterday, Israeli occupying forces abducted the Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council, Aziz Al-Dwaik. Israeli occupying forces besieged Al-Dwaik’s home, abducting and leading him into an undisclosed area. Israeli occupying forces also abducted another elected member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, Fadl Hamdan. Eight other Palestinian civilians were also arrested by Israeli occupying forces throughout the West Bank, including an 18-month-old baby, whom the occupying forces abducted from his mother and left in the street for an hour.
The present letter is in follow-up to our previous 259 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 3 August 2006 (A/ES-10/352-S/2006/613), constitute a basic record of the crimes being committed by Israel, the occupying Power, against the Palestinian people since September 2000. Moreover, we reiterate that 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 that the 13 Palestinians killed today raises the total number of martyrs killed since September 2000 to 4,149. (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 an official document of the tenth emergency special session of the General Assembly, under agenda item 5, and of the Security Council.