Follow UNISPAL Twitter RSS
I write to draw your immediate attention to the critical situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, in which more Palestinian civilians, including children, continue to be killed, including by extrajudicial execution, and severely injured as a result of the excessive use of force by Israeli occupying forces.
On Monday, 16 January 2017, a Palestinian youth, 17-year-old Qusai Al-Amour, was fatally shot in the village of Tuqou’, near Bethlehem, in the occupied West Bank. Qusai was among a group of civilians protesting the Israeli occupying forces’ presence in his village. Qusai was not armed with a gun or a knife, but rather with stones, in comparison with the occupying forces, who arrived in armoured military jeeps and were armed with the most sophisticated lethal weaponry. As in the case of many other killings of Palestinians by the occupying Power, video footage displayed the horrific event for the world to see. In this regard, the video of Qusai’s murder clearly showed his body lying motionless on the ground in an olive grove. The video then showed the Israeli occupying forces jumping on his body, grabbing him by his arms and legs and dragging him back to their military jeeps, all while his body was limp and his head repeatedly hit the ground. His relatives and friends at the scene rushed to Qusai’s aid, only to also be shot at and wounded by the Israeli soldiers.
Besides establishing the truth of the appalling murder of Qusai, the video of this tragic incident provides further evidence of the routine, inhumane and criminal actions being perpetrated by an immoral occupying force against a defenceless civilian population. This, as with so many other similar incidents, dispels the constant false narrative being spewed by Israeli officials after such heinous murders of young Palestinians are carried out.
The day after the brutal murder of Qusai, Israeli occupying forces extrajudicially executed another Palestinian. In this age of digital technology, this barbaric murder was also captured on video for the world to see. This time, it was a 44-year-old Palestinian man, Nidal Daoud Mahdawi, from the Shweika area, north of Tulkarem, and the father of five children. The video of the incident showed Nidal walking through an illegal Israeli military checkpoint and being shot by the occupying forces. It then showed Nidal’s lifeless body falling to the ground.
A week before the killings of Qusai and Nidal, another Palestinian man was killed. This time, it was Mohammed Salhi, age 32, who was killed in his home in the Al-Fara’a refugee camp, located near Nablus and Tubas. At approximately 2.30 a.m. on 10 January 2017, more than 10 Israeli soldiers broke into his home and killed Mohammed in a hail of gunfire. The occupying forces had purportedly entered Mohammed’s home in order to conduct a military raid on another home. Mohammed lived with his ailing mother, who watched the murder of her son take place before her own eyes. Instead of allowing her to help her son and to grieve his death, the Israeli soldiers locked her in a small room in her home for hours while her son lay on the ground bleeding to death, until they completed their raid on the other home.
These are but a few incidents that once again reflect in stark and painful terms the occupying Power’s total disregard for Palestinian life. The dignity and humanity of the Palestinian people are routinely violated and dismissed by the Israeli occupying forces, as is their basic right to life, all without consequence as the perpetrators of these crimes against our people continue to evade accountability for their violations and crimes.
As evidenced by the killings noted above and a mounting list of human rights violations and international humanitarian law violations, described in the annex to the present letter, Israel, the occupying Power, remains in complete and utter contempt of the law. Its deliberate and systematic violations and crimes are causing endless destruction, suffering and anguish for the Palestinian people. The crimes committed are intolerable and must be roundly condemned. Beyond condemnation, however, the international community, including the Security Council, must demand that Israel, the occupying Power, immediately end all its violations and crimes against Palestinian civilians and comply with its obligations under international law, a call made clearly and unequivocally by the General Assembly and the Security Council in countless resolutions, which include, most recently, resolution 2334 (2016) and which must be abided by without exception.
The Palestinian people and the goal of peace will, tragically, continue to suffer as long as Israel, the occupying Power, remains immune from the consequences of its human rights violations and crimes. In this regard, we are of the firm conviction that only accountability can remedy the prevailing culture of impunity and compel respect for international law and human rights. Implementation of the law, including that enshrined in the relevant United Nations resolutions, is absolutely imperative in this regard. The international community must take all necessary actions to ensure that Israel ceases from acting as a State above the law and to finally end its illegal occupation and oppression against the Palestinian people and their land in all its manifestations. This is the only path to peace.
The present letter is in follow-up to our 601 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 5 January 2017 (A/ES-10/738-S/2017/14), 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 brought to justice.
I should be grateful if you would have the text of 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.