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Identical letters dated 22 July 2016 from the Permanent Observer of the State of Palestine to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General, the President of the General Assembly and the President of the Security Council
It has been one month since our previous letter regarding the situation in the occupied State of Palestine, including East Jerusalem. Regrettably, the situation continues to deteriorate further and the Palestinian people, particularly the children and youth, continue to suffer the gravest of consequences as a result of Israel’s nearly 50-year illegal belligerent foreign military occupation. With each passing day, violation after violation is committed against the entire Palestinian population by Israel, the occupying Power, and the very party with the legal obligation to protect it. These ongoing violations are in stark breach of international law, humanitarian law and human rights law and contrary to international norms and morality. With every violation committed against the Palestinian people by Israeli occupying forces hope dwindles and a peaceful reality becomes more distant.
This could not be more obvious than in the Palestinian village of Duma, which has been consistently targeted by settler terrorists. Merely two days ago, this village was terrorized, yet again, when extremist Israeli settlers lit ablaze the family home of Mohammed Dawabshe. Mohammed and his family were sound asleep and awoke to noise outside and then an explosion. This is the third Dawabshe family home that has been a target of settler terrorism. Mohammed and his family are relatives of Sa’ad, Reham and 18-month-old baby Ali, who were killed in a similar arson attack last summer. Their first son, Ahmed, who is now 5, is now orphaned and continues to suffer from his wounds. Israel must ensure protection for the Palestinian civilian population, particularly those communities that are most vulnerable, in line with its legal obligations under the Fourth Geneva Convention. The international community has a responsibility to ensure that Israel complies with this legal obligation and, in the absence of enforcement, has the responsibility to protect the Palestinian people from the illegal policies and practices implemented against them by Israel. Anything less will only further embolden the culture of impunity and lawlessness that Israel has grown accustomed to and relies on to carry out its illegal policies and practices and maintain its illegal occupation.
In addition to settler terrorism, Israeli occupying forces continue to commit crimes against the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem. A glaring example of the occupying Power’s brutality took place on 19 July, when Muhye Al-Tabbakhi (age 12) was killed after being struck in the heart by a rubber-coated steel bullet fired by Israeli occupying forces in the East Jerusalem town of Al-Ram. Muhye is just the latest young boy to fall victim to the viciousness of the Israeli occupying forces. There are no words to express the immense grief and sorrow the Palestinian people must attempt to process once again at the pointless loss of life of yet another child. Here, we refer you to our previous letters in this regard, including the most recent one describing 15-year-old Mahmoud Badran’s brutal murder by the occupying Power when he, along with his family and friends, were returning home from a visit to the only nearby swimming pool. Their vehicle came under heavy gunfire by nearby Israeli occupying forces killing Mahmoud and seriously injuring the other young boys in the car. This pattern of killing Palestinian children is abhorrent and must be condemned by the international community. Israel, the occupying Power, must be held accountable and the perpetrators of these crimes must face justice.
On another front, Israel continues with its illegal settlement construction. We condemn the latest approval by the occupying Israeli authorities of 800 settlement units in illegal settlements in East Jerusalem. This recent announcement includes 560 settlement units in so-called “Ma’ale Adumim” settlement and 240 settlement units allocated to the so-called settlement neighbourhood of “Pisgat Ze’ev” and “Har Homa”. Without a doubt, Israel’s illegal settlement campaign is severely destroying the Palestinian Territory’s contiguity and undermining the viability of the ever-diminishing two-State solution.
In this regard, we recall that 9 July marked the twelfth anniversary of the authoritative International Court of Justice advisory opinion on the wall, in which the Court called on Israel to cease construction of the wall “including in and around East Jerusalem; dismantle the sections already completed; and repeal or render ineffective forthwith all legislative and regulatory acts relating thereto”. Yet, Israel persists with its unlawful construction of the wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, and continues to carry out and impose countless illegal measures comprising the wall’s associated regime, in flagrant disrespect of the advisory opinion and grave breach of numerous provisions of international law.
While it is impossible to record each and every crime committed by Israeli occupying forces and terrorist settlers against the Palestinian people, the record below accounts for some of the many Israeli crimes in the recent period, all clearly intended to dehumanize the Palestinian civilian population, traumatizing generation after generation of an entire population at the hands of the Israeli occupation:
22 June 2016
• Israeli occupying forces detained at least 33 Palestinians during overnight raids across the occupied West Bank.
• Extremist Israeli settlers resumed their provocative visits to Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem.
23 June 2016
• Israeli occupying forces detained at least 10 Palestinians and summoned another, mostly during overnight raids across the occupied West Bank.
24 June 2016
• A Palestinian woman, Majd Al-Khadour (age 18) was shot and killed by Israeli occupying forces at the entrance of the illegal settlement of “Kiryat Arba” in Al-Khalil.
25 June 2016
• Israeli occupying forces detained six Palestinian youths from Al-Khalil and Jenin, as well as summoned two others for interrogation.
26 June 2016
• Israeli occupying forces detained 14 Palestinians from across the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
27 June 2016
• Israeli occupying naval forces attacked Palestinian farmers with gunfire to the east of Gaza City as well as fishermen sailing within six miles from the Gaza shore.
• Israeli occupying forces detained at least seven Palestinians during predawn raids in Al-Khalil, Bethlehem, Nablus, Tulkarm and East Jerusalem.
• Israeli occupying forces forced Palestinians in Khirbet Ras Al-Ahmar locality, south-east of Tubas, to halt the construction of several residential structures, citing the pretext of “unlicensed construction”.
28 June 2016
• Israeli occupying forces detained at least 18 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
29 June 2016
• Israeli occupying forces detained at least eight Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
• Israeli occupying forces killed Mohammed Mahmoud Tarayra (age 17) from Bani Naim, east of Al-Khalil.
30 June 2016
• Israeli occupying forces detained 15 Palestinians, including a child, and summoned another Palestinian, mostly in predawn raids across the occupied West Bank.
• Israeli occupying forces detained 12 Palestinians from East Jerusalem, including two children and a media videographer.
1 July 2016
• Mohammad Mustafa Habash (age 63) died from excessive tear gas inhalation after Israeli occupying forces had heavily fired tear gas, earlier in the morning, at Palestinians crossing Israel’s illegal Qalandiya checkpoint from Ramallah into East Jerusalem to attend prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
2 July 2016
• Israeli warplanes pounded several locations across the Gaza Strip.
• Israeli occupying forces detained three Palestinians from Al-Khalil and East Jerusalem.
3 July 2016
• At least 15 Palestinians were detained by Israeli occupying forces, mostly during predawn raids in East Jerusalem and Al-Khalil.
4 July 2016
• Israel, the occupying Power, approved the construction of 800 settlement units in various illegal Israeli settlements in occupied East Jerusalem.
• Israeli occupying forces demolished the homes of two Palestinians who had been fatally shot by occupying forces in December 2015.
• Israeli occupying forces detained at least 34 Palestinians, mostly during predawn raids across the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
5 July 2016
• Israeli occupying forces detained at least 11 Palestinians during overnight detention raids across the occupied West Bank. In Beit Fajjar, south of Bethlehem, a 16-year-old youth was hit and injured in the leg with live ammunition and several others suffocated from tear gas canisters during the raids of the occupying forces.
• A Palestinian man, Walid Natour (age 48) experienced the symptoms of a heart attack as Israeli occupying forces stormed his brother’s house in the town of Silwad, east of Ramallah.
7 July 2016
• Israeli occupying forces detained eight Palestinians, including two minors, from Bethlehem and Al-Khalil.
• Nael Salah (age 18) succumbed to the wounds she sustained in May 2015 in the Gaza Strip.
8 July 2016
• Dozens of Palestinians suffocated from tear gas inhalation, and a foreign activist was shot and injured in Kafr Qaddum in Qalqiliya, as Israeli occupying forces violently suppressed a peaceful rally that is held on a weekly basis to condemn illegal Israeli settlements and to call for the reopening of a road that Israel has banned Palestinians from using for 13 years now.
9 July 2016
• A Palestinian was shot and injured and dozens of others suffocated from tear gas inhalation as Israeli occupying forces raided Dura town, south of Al-Khalil.
• Israeli occupying forces summoned six Palestinians during separate dawn raids into Ramallah and Al-Khalil.
10 July 2016
• Israeli occupying forces arrested 14 Palestinians from across the occupied West Bank.
11 July 2016
• Israeli occupying forces detained at least 10 Palestinians during predawn raids in Al-Khalil and Nablus.
• Extremist Israeli settlers prevented families of Palestinian detainees from the Gaza Strip from visiting their imprisoned sons in illegal Israeli prisons of “Nafha” and “Rimon”.
• Israeli occupying forces razed Palestinian-owned land near the village of Ni’lin, west of Ramallah.
12 July 2016
• Israeli occupying forces detained 23 Palestinians, including a woman, during raids across the occupied West Bank.
• Israeli occupying forces demolished several Palestinian structures during a raid into Anata town, north-east of East Jerusalem.
• Extremist Israeli settlers resumed their provocative visits to Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem.
13 July 2016
• Israeli occupying forces shot dead Anwar Al-Salaymeh (age 24), and Fares Al-Rishq (age 20) sustained critical injuries to his head during a raid into Al-Ram town, north of East Jerusalem.
• Israeli bulldozers demolished three homes in Jabal Al-Mukaber in East Jerusalem, under the pretext of “building without a permit”.
14 July 2016
• Israeli warplanes pounded farmlands east of Al-Bureij refugee camp in the central besieged Gaza Strip.
• Israeli occupying forces shot and injured three Palestinians during a raid in Deir Abu Mashal village, north-west of Ramallah.
• Israeli occupying forces detained six Palestinians during raids across the occupied West Bank and demolished property during a raid in Al-Khalil.
• Israeli occupying forces injured an unidentified Palestinian man near Shufat refugee camp’s illegal Israeli checkpoint, north-east of East Jerusalem
• A number of Palestinian youths were injured during a military raid at Aida refugee camp, north of Bethlehem, which targeted youth centres; many suffocation cases were reported.
16 July 2016
• Israeli occupying forces detained five Palestinians from Al-Khalil, as well as summoned four others for interrogation.
17 July 2016
• Israeli occupying forces detained 12 Palestinians and summoned others from across the occupied West Bank for interrogation.
• Israeli occupying forces notified a Palestinian in Um Nir village, south of Al-Khalil, about their intention to demolish a water well in the area.
18 July 2016
• Israeli occupying forces detained 16 Palestinians, including 3 children and a local Fatah leader, and shot and injured another Palestinian, mostly during military raids across East Jerusalem, Qalqiliya, Jenin and Al-Khalil.
• Israeli occupying forces punitively demolished a Palestinian house during a predawn raid in Qabatiya, south of Jenin.
19 July 2016
• Mustafa Baradiya (age 50) succumbed to the wounds he had sustained the day before, after having been shot and critically injured by Israeli occupying forces at the entrance of Al-Arroub refugee camp, north of Al-Khalil.
• Israeli occupying forces demolished a house under construction, four commercial structures and a wooden cottage in the East Jerusalem area under the pretext of “unlicensed building”.
• Israeli occupying forces detained 18 Palestinians during predawn raids across the occupied West Bank.
• Israeli navy boats opened heavy machine gunfire at Palestinian fishermen, injuring at least one, and four occupying tanks, accompanied by bulldozers, infiltrated Gaza’s border and went almost 150 metres into Palestinian agricultural land to the east of Al-Qarara area, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. The occupying forces razed the land and placed earth mounds in the area, while firing live fire and smoke bombs in all directions.
• Muhye Al-Tabbakhi (age 12) was killed after being struck in the heart by a rubber-coated steel bullet fired by Israeli occupying forces in the East Jerusalem town of Al-Ram.
20 July 2016
• Israeli occupying forces detained 23 Palestinians, including children and 3 former detainees, and summoned two others during overnight raids across the occupied West Bank.
• A Palestinian farmer was shot and moderately injured, while four other fishermen were detained by Israeli occupying forces to the east of Deir Al-Balah, in central Gaza Strip.
• Israeli occupying forces stole a large amount of cash from inside a Palestinian home in Beit Awwa town to the south-west of Al-Khalil.
• Extremist Israeli settlers set fire to the family house of Mohammed Dawabshe in the village of Duma, south of Nablus.
• Israeli occupying forces uprooted olive trees in the village of Deir Istiya, in Salfit, in order to open up a road designated for the sole use of Israeli settlers illegally residing in the occupied West Bank.
21 July 2016
• Israeli occupying forces detained 20 Palestinians during predawn raids across the occupied West Bank.
The above list of violations constitute grave breaches of international humanitarian law, as well as international criminal law as articulated in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. As the international community commemorated International Criminal Justice day on 17 July, marking the eighteenth anniversary of the Rome Statute, we must reiterate our call to the international community, particularly the Security Council, to act now. Israeli policies and practices in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, are clear threats to international peace and security and clear violations of international law. As you stated on International Criminal Justice Day, “To realize our shared vision of a more peaceful, just and sustainable future, we must hold perpetrators of the most serious crimes of international concern to account.” For these war crimes, we will continue to seek accountability and justice through all legal and peaceful means. The time is now for the international community to finally bring an end to Israel’s impunity and to bring an end to Israel’s 50-year occupation in order to bring overdue justice to the Palestinian people.
The present letter is in follow-up to our 589 previous letters regarding the ongoing crisis in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, which constitutes the territory of the State of Palestine. These letters, dated from 29 September 2000 (A/55/432-S/2000/921) to 22 June 2016 (A/ES-10/725-S/2016/567) 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 being committed against the Palestinian people, Israel, the occupying Power, must be held accountable and the perpetrators 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.