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Israeli war planes have continued to launch missile air strikes against several civilian areas in the Gaza Strip throughout the day and night, bringing life to a standstill and deepening fear and panic among the already traumatized Palestinian civilian population. The attacks by the occupying Power have been widespread and lethal, striking many homes, a police station, agricultural land and other civilian infrastructure in areas all over the Gaza Strip. Since my letter to you dated 14 November, another 8 Palestinians have been killed and more than 130 injured, including 17 women, 25 children and 11 elderly persons. Among the dead in the past two attacks were two infants and a toddler: an 11-month-old boy, Omar Jehad Al-Mashharawi, who was killed in an Israeli attack on Wednesday, 14 November; a 10-month-old girl, Haneen Tafesh, who died of wounds sustained following an Israeli strike on her family’s home also on Wednesday; and a 2-year-old boy, Mahmoud Waleed Abadli, who died of wounds sustained following a missile strike east of Khan Younis.
In addition to these three tragic deaths and to the casualties reported in my letter dated 14 November, the following Palestinians have lost their lives to Israel’s senseless brutality: Mohammed Hani Kaseeh (age 18), Essam Mahmoud Abu Al-Me’za (age 19), Heba Adel Al-Mashharawi (age 19), Mahmoud Abu Sawaween (age 65), Marwan Abu Al-Qamsan (age 50), Khaled Abu Nasir, Rani Hammad, Hisham Mohammed Al-Ghalban (age 25), Wael Haider Al-Ghalban (age 28) and Habes Hassan Mesmeh.
The situation on the ground is critical. The continuing threats by Israel, the occupying Power, to persist and intensify this insane, inhumane military aggression against the Palestinian people are raising the spectre of even more loss of innocent civilian lives. The mobilization of Israeli occupying forces on the ground, including the amassing of tanks, trucks, armoured vehicles and buses near the Gaza border are cause for serious concern and demand the attention of the international community, which must act to avert the further deterioration of this crisis.
We thus reiterate our urgent appeal to the Security Council of the United Nations to uphold its duties under the Charter of the United Nations and to act now to protect the Palestinian civilian population under Israel’s occupation, in accordance with international humanitarian law. Indeed, what is being perpetrated by Israel against the Palestinian people constitutes a grave breach of all norms of international law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibits the wilful killing of civilians and prohibits reprisals against the civilian population by the occupying Power. War crimes are clearly being perpetrated by Israel against the Palestinian people and this must be unequivocally condemned and stopped.
The Palestinian leadership reiterates its call for the exertion of all necessary efforts by the international community to bring the bloodshed of our people in the Gaza Strip to a halt. A strong message must be sent to Israel, the occupying Power, to cease immediately its military campaign in order to de-escalate this dangerous situation, promote calm and, most important, save innocent civilian lives.
The present letter is in follow-up to our previous 439 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 14 November 2012 (A/ES-10/567-S/2012/839), 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 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.