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I am compelled to draw your attention and, through you, the attention of the international community to the continuation by Israel, the occupying Power, of its illegal colonization campaign in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and particularly its ongoing illegal attempts to change the reality on the ground in Occupied East Jerusalem. Day in and day out, Israel has continued to pursue its destructive colonization campaign through the confiscation of Palestinian land, the expansion of settlements and settlement infrastructure, the transfer of Israeli settlers, construction of the Wall and other such destructive measures, including the demolition of more Palestinian homes, which, according to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), reached a record high in March for the third consecutive month, in its attempt to de facto annex more Palestinian land.
Accordingly, I wish to draw your attention to the most recent Israeli violation in regard to its illegal colonization of Palestinian land. On Monday, 4 April 2011, Israel, the occupying Power, approved the construction of 942 settlement units in the so-called settlement of Gilo, in Occupied East Jerusalem. The continuation of this illegal, reckless and destructive colonization campaign once again confirms Israel’s deliberate intent to defy international law and the unequivocal calls of the international community for the immediate and full cessation of all Israeli settlement activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem. In this regard, we regret to reiterate that continued international inaction has clearly emboldened Israel’s defiance and intransigence.
The consequences of such illegal and provocative colonization Israeli practices have become abundantly clear. The contiguity, integrity and viability of the Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, the capital of the future State of Palestine, is being gravely undermined; Palestinian lives and rights are being detrimentally impacted, daily and grossly; and the prospects for realizing the two-State solution for peace on the basis of the pre-1967 borders are being deliberately sabotaged.
Moreover, I regret to inform you that Israeli settler terror, violence, harassment and intimidation against the Palestinian civilian population throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, have intensified. Despicable and destructive acts against Palestinian civilians and their properties have continued unabated, such as the razing of Palestinian agricultural land, the destruction of and damage to Palestinian homes and property, the theft of olive trees, the uprooting of tree saplings, the destruction of water and sewage pipes, and attacks causing severe bodily harm to Palestinian civilians. Such lawlessness and impunity have clearly been fostered and fuelled by the military, financial and physical reinforcements and incentives provided to the settlers by the Israeli government, including its absolute failure to hold the settlers accountable for their crimes.
I am also compelled to draw your attention to the continuing condemnable use of excessive and lethal force by Israel, the occupying Power, against Palestinian civilians in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. This has included indiscriminate force against innocent civilians, as well as extrajudicial killings, deliberately and callously carried out by the Israeli occupying forces.
In this connection, today, Tuesday, 5 April 2011, adding to Israel’s long list of violations of international law, including international humanitarian law and human rights law, the occupying forces shelled an area in Beit Lahiya, in the north of the besieged Gaza Strip, killing Mohammed Shahla and injuring many others who were in the vicinity of the brutal attack. This latest killing came on the heels of yet another barbaric attack against the Palestinian people in Gaza that took place on Saturday, 2 April 2011, in which Israeli occupying forces carried out an extrajudicial assassination, killing three Palestinians who were driving in a car between the town of Khan Yunis and Deir Al-Balah refugee camp, also in the Gaza Strip. Indeed, such excessive and condemnable aggression against the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, serves only to further increase tensions on the ground.
Israel must respect its obligations as an occupying Power under international law, including humanitarian and human rights law, and cease immediately with all of its unlawful actions which are totally contrary to and incompatible with the realization of peace. We call upon the international community, particularly the Security Council, to give due attention to the grave situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and to ensure that timely measures and action be undertaken to compel Israel, the occupying Power, to halt completely all of its illegal and aggressive policies against the Palestinian people and their land, including settlement expansion and settler violence, extrajudicial executions, excessive and lethal force against Palestinians, home demolitions and finally commit to the pursuit of peace.
This letter is in follow-up to our previous 387 letters 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 22 March 2011 (A/ES-10/514-S/2011/173), 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, acts of 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.
I should be grateful if you would arrange to have the text of 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.