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28 July 1982
LETTER DATED 28 JULY 1982 FROM THE PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF JORDAN TO
THE UNITED NATIONS ADDRESSED TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE SECURITY COUNCIL
I have the honour to transmit herewith, at the request of the Permanent Observer of the Palestine Liberation Organization, the two enclosed messages from Mr. Yasser Arafat, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, concerning the savage air attacks and shelling of residential areas in west Beirut.
The second message describes the attempt this morning, 28 July 1982, of approximately 150 Israelis to trample on the inviolability of the Holy Sanctuary of al-Haram-el Sharif which prompted the Arab population in Jerusalem to call for a general strike and alertness to prevent the Israelis from further sacrilege to the Holy Sanctuary.
I request Your Excellency, that these two messages dated 26 July 1982 and 28 July 1982 be circulated as documents of the Security Council.
(Signed) Hazem NUSEIBEH
Letter dated 26 July 1982 from the Permanent Observer of the Palestine Liberation Organization
to the United Nations addressed to the President of the Security Council
I am instructed by Mr. Yasser Arafat, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization to bring to your attention, pursuant to our letters of 22 July and 23 July 1982, and Security Council resolutions 508 (1982) and 509 (1982), the continued Israeli aggression in contravention of the provisions of the cease-fire, under the political guise of the cease-fire, the Israeli air, land and sea military forces have brought more death and destruction to the Palestinian and Lebanese peoples. In the first four days alone, the civilian casualties rose to more than 200. Today, 26 July 1982, marks the fifth consecutive day of the Israeli aggression, the casualty figures are not yet in.
On the morning of 24 July 1982, as Israeli war-planes carried out repeated overflights of west Beirut, Israeli tanks and artillery opened fired on the airport and Hay al-Sellum areas of Beirut. At 2.45 p.m., Israeli war-planes began a series of savage air attacks on the residential areas of west Beirut. The main sectors hit were Ramlet al-Baida, Spinneys, the Chinese Embassy area, Bir Hassan, the sports stadium, the heavily populated Sabra and Shatila refugee camps and the Fakhani district. At 3.45 p.m., immediately following the hour-long Israeli air raid, the Israeli naval vessels and land artillery and rocket batteries began shelling some of the same residential areas already bombarded in the Israeli air raid: Raralet al-Baida, Bir Hassan, Sabra and Shatila, and Fakhani as well as Cola, Mar Elias, Ouzai, Burj al-Barajneh refugee camp, Hay al-Sellum, al-Mreijeh, Lailaki, Bir al-Abed, and Haret al-Hreik.
Fifty-one people, the vast majority of them civilians, were killed or wounded in the joint Israeli air, land and sea bombardments of west Beirut.
On the morning of 25 July 1982, at 9.30 a.m. local Beirut time, Israeli war-planes bombed the villages of al-Haj and Qab Elias in the Beqa valley and inflicted numerous civilian casualties. (The areas of Deir Zannoun, Anjar and their surrounding vicinities In the Beqaa valley had been hit the preceding afternoon of 24 July.)
Later that same morning of 25 July, in a surprise early morning attack, beginning at 10.30 a.m., the Israeli war-planes bombarded the civilian and residential areas of west Beirut. The heaviest shelling occurred in Ramlet al-Baida, the Kuwaiti Embassy area and the area near the Chinese Embassy, Spinneys, the already devastated sports stadium as well as the heavily populated Fakhani residential district and the Sabra refugee camp. That night, at 8.20 p.m. Israeli war-planes returned with low overflights over the Lebanese capital. After psychologically intimidating the civilian population by dropping numerous night flares and smoke-bombs, the Israeli planes bombed three Palestinian refugee camps (Sabra, Shatila and Burj al-Barajneh) for half an hour.
In the early morning hours of today, 26 July 1982, less than five hours following the night attack on the refugee camps of west Beirut, the Israeli forces renewed and escalated their attacks against the besieged western sector of Beirut. For more than two hours, commencing at 1.30 a.m., Israeli land and sea-based heavy rocket, artillery and tank fire indiscriminately hit the areas of west Beirut: Ouzai, Ramlefc al-Baida, the Fakhani district, Bir Hassan, Bir al-Abed, Haret Hralk, Mar Elias and the airport vicinity. The three refugee camps, Sabra, Shatila and Burj al-Barajneh, were shelled once again.
Under the cover of that fire, which continued until 3.30 a.m., Israeli naval units attempted to approach the Saint Simon beach shore in the Jnah/Ouzai region. Our defiant Palestinian and Lebanese defenders were able to repulse the attempted Israeli sea-borne landing.
At 10 a.m. today, 26 July, Israeli artillery, rocket and naval shelling of west Beirut resumed. For two hours, the Israelis pounded the southern suburbs of the Lebanese capital and concentrated on the Ouzai and airport region as well as the refugee camp, Burj al-Barajneh.
Starting at 2.30 p.m., Israeli planes carried bombing raids against residential areas in west Beirut. Hit were the Spinneys, Ramlefc al-Baida, Bir Hassan, Fakhani, Sabra and Burj al-Barajneh refugee camps, the sports stadium 1 and the Chinese Embassy and airport areas. Several residential buildings were destroyed by fire caused from the shelling, leaving even more victims homeless.
Sir, the role of the Security Council grows ever more pressing. After a lull in the air raids of the first days of the siege of Beirut, we are now in the fifth consecutive day of rampant land, sea and air attacks. The civilian casualties in Beirut in the last 24 hours alone have reached 100. The savage Israeli air raids on west Beirut today, by initial reports, have left another 54 civilians dead or wounded. Last night's air, land and sea bombardments took 47 casualties. The Intensity and continuity of the Israeli shelling have hindered ambulances and rescue teams from taking the wounded to hospitals.
The Israeli strike forces have been pounding the same targets now for the past seven weeks. The Israeli planes and artillery have devastated the Fakhani residential area, the three refugee camps of Burj al-Barajneh, Sabra and Shatila, Ouzai and the airport vicinity as well as the sea-front neighborhood, Ramlet al-Baida. The land and naval bombardments have been continuous since the start of the siege. The weapons lethally whip through civilians areas, showering the Lebanese and Palestinian peoples with cluster, phosphorous and fragmentation bombs. The new, heavy air-to-surface rockets being employed have destroyed entire buildings, both offices and apartment dwellings. In addition to using mortars and tanks, the Israelis are using eight 155 mm artillery battalions in the shelling, and they are firing them simultaneously.
The population of the Lebanese capital of Beirut is roughly half a million. The civilian population has grown as the victim of the devastated southern regions to the capital, seeking security and shelter.
Again we urge the Security Council of the United Nations to assume its responsibilities.
) Zehdi Labib TERZI