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Further, Israel, the occupying Power, continues with its practice of assassinating Palestinian civilians. On Sunday, 31 December 2000, Dr. Thabet Thabet, a Palestinian dentist and a director at the Palestinian Health Ministry, was targeted and summarily executed by Israeli occupying forces in the town of Tulkarem. Not only has the occupying Power repeatedly pursued such illegal actions, but several high-ranking officials have declared their intention to continuing pursuing the policy of assassination of Palestinians “suspected” of activities against Israel. As stated by the Israeli Deputy Defence Minister, Ephraim Sneh, “If anyone has committed or is planning to carry out terrorist acts, he has to be hit.” He further added that no one was immune to this policy, “even if he had a position in the Palestinian Authority.” In a similar statement, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, on the same day of Mr. Thabet’s assassination, advised Israeli civilians to leave matters to the Israeli army, “which, as we saw today, is taking action against the direct perpetrators of terrorist attacks,” further confirming such illegal actions as official Israeli policy.
I wish to refer now to the letter of 2 January 2001 by the Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations (A/55/725-S/2001/2) and several erroneous comments contained therein. In this regard, I wish to reiterate that the Palestinian side remains opposed to any terrorist actions by any side and definitely does not condone any of the actions referred to in that letter. Moreover, with regard to the Israeli settlers, illegally transferred by the occupying Power to the Occupied Palestinian Territory in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 and relevant Security Council resolutions, the Palestinian side reiterates that they remain the complete responsibility of the occupying Power. It is the occupying Power alone that should be held responsible for any actions involving the illegal settlers. Further, it should be noted that many of those settlers have been increasingly involved in terrorizing the Palestinian population in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, in many cases killing and injuring Palestinian civilians.
The suffering of the Palestinian people under Israeli occupation continues as the occupying Power continues to violate and commit grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention and other relevant instruments of international law, including resolutions of the United Nations Security Council and General Assembly. The continuous killing and destruction being carried out by the Israeli occupying forces in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem, serve as stark and unfortunate reminders of the need for serious and immediate action by the international community to assist and protect Palestinian civilians under occupation.
I would be grateful if you would arrange to have the text of this letter and its annex distributed as an official document of the tenth emergency special session of the General Assembly, and of the Security Council.
Sunday, 31 December 2000
1. Dr. Thabet Thabet
2. Tarek Al-Qatou
3. Mu’taz Serouji
4. Muaz Ahmed Mohammed Abu Edwan (10 years old)
5. Tahrir Suliman Rizq
Tuesday, 2 January 2001
Saber Awad Ibrahim Khader