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Over the past month, I have written to you on four separate occasions to convey the rapid and dangerous deterioration of the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, as a result of the incessant Israeli military assaults against the Palestinian civilian population. In this regard, since my most recent letter, of 16 October 2006, Israel, the occupying Power, has further demonstrated its utter disdain for international law and its determination to plunge the area further into conflict and violence.
Over the past week, the Israeli occupying forces have carried out a number of military assaults in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, particularly in the Gaza Strip, resulting in the death and injury of numerous innocent Palestinians. On 19 October, the occupying forces reoccupied the international Rafah crossing and Philadelphi route in Gaza and remained in the area for two days. Moreover, two Palestinians were killed by Israeli snipers during that same assault. In addition, I should also highlight that many disturbing statements have been made by key Israeli officials regarding their intention to vote on reoccupying the Philadelphi route.
On 23 October 2006, which was the first day of the Muslim holiday of Eid Al-Fitr in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, the Israeli occupying forces carried out a brutal military incursion into Beit Hanoun, killing nine Palestinians, six of whom belonged to the same family. During the same attack, scores of innocent Palestinians were also injured, many seriously. The assault began when the occupying forces attacked the condolence tent of the Al-Shinbari family, killing five people instantly and injuring scores of others. The Israeli infantry then moved in and began shelling the area and clashing with the residents, resulting in the killing of four more. On the same day, in Tammoun village near Jenin, Israeli occupying forces also killed 25-year-old Mohamed Odeh.
It is irrefutable that such repeated Israeli assaults on Palestinian life, property and rights have regrettably become commonplace. However, what is most unfortunate and highly disheartening is the lack of response, even through modest statements, by the international community towards such deadly actions. During these especially harsh times, the Palestinian people look to the international community, including the United Nations, for a principled position against the ceaseless Israeli infringements upon their lives, rights, property and potential future.
The international community, in accordance with the rules and principles of international law, including international humanitarian law, has clear responsibilities in terms of ensuring the proper conduct of the occupying Power, including compliance with its legal obligations and commitments. Moreover, measures must be taken, not only to prevent the further escalation of this Israeli military aggression against the Palestinian civilian population, but also to bring it to an immediate halt. The Palestinian people under occupation remain helpless and without any protection from the brute force of the occupying Power.
The present letter is in follow-up to our previous 267 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 16 October 2006 (A/ES-10/360-S/2006/818), 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, at least 15 more Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli occupying forces, raising the total number of martyrs killed since September 2000 to 4,289. 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 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.