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Identical letters dated 20 June 2014 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
The situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, continues to deteriorate and tensions continue to rise as a result of provocations and illegal actions by Israel, the occupying Power, against the Palestinian people. Of grave concern in particular at this time is the precarious condition of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails and detention centres and, more specifically, Palestinian prisoners who have been on a prolonged hunger strike in an expression of collective non-violent protest against the abusive treatment and deplorable conditions they are being subjected to in Israel's jails and detention centres and in peaceful demand for their human rights.
Today, 20 June 2014, marks the fifty-seventh day in which hundreds of Palestinian prisoners have been on a hunger strike in protest of their captivity by Israel, the occupying Power, under administrative detention, whereby they are being held without charge and without access to due process of the law or fair trial. More than 60 Palestinian prisoners and detainees have been hospitalized and many are in critical condition, including 9 who are suffering from a dropped heartbeat and 20 others who are suffering from internal bleeding. Moreover, in a move that is sure to inflame already heightened tensions, a legislative amendment on force-feeding, which also contains a new provision to allow for the sedation of prisoners who refuse force-feeding, will be presented before the Israeli Knesset on Monday, 23 June. Force-feeding contravenes international law and is universally considered to be a form of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. The practice is not only completely unsuitable for saving lives but is tantamount to torture, and Israel must be compelled to drop such a bill, which is in complete contravention of international standards.
We reiterate that Israel, the occupying Power, is fully responsible for the well-being, safety and lives of the thousands of Palestinians in its captivity, including the hundreds who are on hunger strike. The international community is duty-bound to ensure that the occupying Power complies with all its legal obligations regarding its treatment of all the Palestinian prisoners and detainees it is holding, including children, and Israel must be held accountable for its ill-treatment of and violations against the thousands of Palestinians it holds captive. Israel, the occupying Power, cannot be allowed to remain immune from the provisions of international humanitarian and human rights law governing such situations. If the occupying Power continues to reject the demands for respect for international law, then measures aimed at ensuring an end to the violations and ensuring that the rule of law prevails must be undertaken in response. We continue to call for an end to Israel's unlawful practices and, in particular, to cease the use of administrative detention to hold Palestinian civilians captive. We also continue to call for their immediate release, along with all other Palestinians being unlawfully and arbitrarily imprisoned and detained.
Moreover, I regret to inform you that since my last letter dated 17 June 2014 (A/ES-10/631-S/2014/418), the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, continues to deteriorate as a result of the repressive and illegal measures that continue to be undertaken by Israel, the occupying Power, against the Palestinian people. In connection with the three Israeli settlers who went missing on Friday, 13 June while they were hitchhiking from the so-called settlement of Kfar Etzion, which is located between Jerusalem and Al-Khalil (Hebron), the Israeli occupying forces have escalated their aggression and have continued to carry out measures of collective punishment against the Palestinian people. In the Gaza Strip, Israeli occupying forces have continued to carry out air strikes, injuring more and more Palestinians and causing great fear and distress among the population, who continue to suffer from deplorable living conditions as a result of Israel's inhumane, unlawful blockade.
Furthermore, in the West Bank, violent raids by the occupying forces into Palestinian towns and villages continue. In fact, more than 1,150 locations, which include homes, offices and schools, have been violently raided by the Israeli occupying forces since the three Israeli settlers went missing. The number of Palestinians who have now been detained has risen to 330, which includes 24 members of the Palestinian Legislative Council. It should be noted that many of the Palestinians who have been detained by the occupying forces were Palestinians who were released in a prisoner swap agreement in 2011. Moreover, in addition to the above measures of collective punishment, Israeli occupying forces have also continued to use excessive and indiscriminate force against the Palestinian civilian population. In this regard, today, Friday, 20 June, Mustafa Hosni Aslan, 22 years, was shot in the head and killed by the Israeli occupying forces in the Qalandiya refugee camp south of Ramallah. Earlier today, Mahmoud Jihad Muhammad Dudeen, 14 years old, was shot in the chest and killed by Israeli occupying forces in the southern West Bank city of Dura, near Al-Khalil (Hebron). Mahmoud Dudeen was the third Palestinian to be killed by Israeli occupying forces in connection with the three missing Israeli settlers. Scores of Palestinians have also been injured as a result of Israeli aggression over the past week.
We reiterate our total condemnation of all of these illegal actions and crimes being perpetrated by Israel, the occupying Power, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, which are dramatically raising tensions and destabilizing the situation on the ground. We call once again on the international community and specifically on the Security Council to act collectively to address this crisis to prevent its exacerbation and to bring an end to all of the human rights violations against the Palestinian people by the occupying Power, including all of its measures of collective punishment. The international community, including the Security Council, cannot continue to fail to act to hold Israel accountable for its flagrant breaches of the law. Such continued failure by the international community has only further emboldened the occupying Power and bolstered its impunity, which has resulted in the continuation of the above-mentioned Israeli violations and thus the failure to secure a just and lasting peace.
The present letter is in follow-up to our 498 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/55/432-5/2000/921) to 17 June 2014 (A/ES-10/631-5/2014/418) 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 must be brought to justice.
I should be grateful if you would arrange to have the present letter circulated as a document of the tenth emergency special session of the General Assembly, under agenda item 5, and of the Security Council.
Permanent Observer of the State of Palestine to the United Nations