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I write again to draw your attention to the escalating fire of rockets and mortars at Israel from the Gaza Strip.
Since I last wrote to you, on 9 August 2011 (see S/2011/504), a rocket and some six mortars have been fired into southern Israel. On 15 August 2011, a rocket launched from Gaza exploded in the immediate vicinity of Be’er-Sheva — the largest city in southern Israel and the home of nearly 200,000 people. It is only by chance that these most recent attacks did not cause civilian casualties. With rockets continuing to rain down on our major cities, Israel cannot and will not rely on good luck to defend its citizens. Israel has exercised and will continue to exercise its right to self-defence, as appropriate, and will take all necessary measures to protect its citizens.
Israel holds the Hamas terrorist organization fully responsible for all attacks emanating from Gaza, where it remains in de facto control. So far, Palestinian unity is a virtual reality. In the real world, Palestinian rockets continue to be aimed at kindergartens, homes and hospitals in Israel.
The attacks of the past week continue a troubling escalation of these acts of terrorism, which deliberately target Israeli civilians and alter the fabric of their daily life. In the past month alone, some 29 rockets and mortars have been fired into Israeli communities. From schoolyards to backyards, all areas of southern Israel are under constant threat of attack. Indeed, an entire generation of children is being raised under the spectre of ever present rocket fire from Gaza, from which Israel withdrew completely in 2005.
While the world talks about an alleged humanitarian crisis in Gaza, Hamas smuggles Mercedes-Benz sedans and designer clothes into the area. However, it is not only luxury goods that are smuggled into Gaza, but also first-class missiles. The illegal smuggling of arms fuels the violence that continues to flow from Gaza. Preventing this illegal activity is an integral aim of Security Council resolution 1860 (2009) but it receives hardly any attention from the international community.
The rocket fire emanating from Gaza represents a flagrant violation of international law and must be addressed with the utmost seriousness. Israel expects the Security Council, the Secretary-General and the international community to condemn all of these attacks immediately and unequivocally. The People of Israel, like any other people, deserve to hear these acts of terror condemned with a loud and clear voice. Silence is not an option.
I should be grateful if you would have the present letter distributed as a document of the Security Council.