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I regret that I am compelled to immediately follow up the letter I conveyed to you just yesterday due to the dangerous escalation in the military campaign being waged by Israel, the occupying Power, against the Palestinian civilian population in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. In less than 24 hours, at least 14 more Palestinians, including several children and women, have been killed by the Israeli occupying forces. In this regard, it is imperative to recall that in a series of letters communicated to you in recent weeks, we have warned about the intensification of deadly Israeli attacks against the Palestinian people and the grave decline of the situation and have repeatedly called upon the international community, including the Security Council, to assume its responsibility and take the necessary measures to bring a halt to the growing Israeli military aggression and the grave breaches being committed against our people. Regrettably, while the international community has remained passive, the Palestinian people have continued to suffer even more loss of life as a result of the brutality of their occupier.
The latest barrage of military attacks began late on the night of 8 June, when the Israeli occupying forces launched a targeted air strike, assassinating a high-ranking Palestinian security official, Jamal Abu Samhadana, in the Gaza Strip. Three other Palestinians were killed and at least 10 people were wounded in the same attack. Israel’s extrajudicial killing of a Palestinian government official represents a very dangerous escalation of its military campaign against the Palestinian people, which can only foment anger and extremism and re-ignite the cycle of violence, as evidenced by the reaction of the thousands of mourners who gathered for Mr. Abu Samhadana’s funeral in Gaza. In the continuation of military assaults, that deadly air strike was followed by another attack on 9 June, against an area in Beit Hanoun in the Gaza Strip, in which three Palestinian men were killed by the occupying forces.
The peak of the occupying Power’s cruelty and brutality in the past 24 hours occurred later in the day on 9 June, in a military attack launched against a beach area in Beit Lahiya in the Gaza Strip, during which the occupying forces, using artillery shelling and firing from naval gunboats, struck a family beach picnic, killing innocent Palestinian civilians and terrorizing the many other people gathered at the beach on this Friday afternoon. The attack resulted in the murder by the occupying forces of four small children, two women and one man — all believed to be members of the same family — and in the wounding of at least The peak of the occupying Power’s cruelty and brutality in the past 24 hours occurred later in the day on 9 June, in a military attack launched against a beach area in Beit Lahiya in the Gaza Strip, during which the occupying forces, using artillery shelling and firing from naval gunboats, struck a family beach picnic, killing innocent Palestinian civilians and terrorizing the many other people gathered at the beach on this Friday afternoon. The attack resulted in the murder by the occupying forces of four small children, two women and one man — all believed to be members of the same family — and in the wounding of at least 40 more civilians at the Sudaniya beach area. The dead and wounded were rushed to already-overwhelmed hospitals throughout Gaza, which have been suffering from critical shortages in medicines and supplies as a result of the siege imposed on the Occupied Palestinian Territory in recent months.
As I indicated in my letter to you dated 8 June 2006, the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, is dire as a result of the occupying Power’s escalation of military attacks and intensifying violations being committed against the Palestinian people and of the continuing economic and political isolation being imposed. The current situation will only spiral farther out of control and deteriorate further, with evermore dangerous repercussions, including the refuelling of the vicious cycle of violence, the grave destabilization of conditions on the ground and the critical undermining of Palestinian efforts to promote calm, stability and unity, efforts to which we have repeatedly referred in our recent letters to you and which are now being seriously threatened.
The Security Council, whose primary responsibility is the maintenance of international peace and security, must act to bring a halt to these military attacks against the Palestinian civilian population under Israel’s occupation and to stem the continuing decline of the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. I believe it is imperative to recall that one of the priority concerns of the Security Council in recent years has been the protection of civilian persons in armed conflict, and this must include innocent and defenceless civilians under foreign occupation.
This letter is in follow-up to our previous 245 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 8 June 2006 (A/ES-10/336-S/2006/374), 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, 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, I regret to inform you that since my letter to you dated 8 June 2006 at least 14 more Palestinian civilians, including several children, have been killed by the Israeli occupying forces, raising the total number of martyrs killed since September 2000 to 3,904. (The names of the 14 martyrs who have been identified thus far 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.