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Identical letters dated 24 November 2015 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
I write to draw your attention to the ongoing critical situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and to the grave reality faced by the unprotected Palestinian civilian population as a direct result of the Israeli military occupation and the massive human rights violations being perpetrated against them by the occupying Power.
We must highlight the deepening vulnerability of Palestinian children, as they continue to bear the brunt of increasingly oppressive, violent and illegal Israeli policies and practices. For nearly five decades, Palestinian children have suffered at the hands of the Israeli occupying forces and will tragically continue to suffer as long as Israel, the occupying Power, remains immune from any consequences of its blatant and systematic human rights violations and crimes. In this connection, we bring to your immediate attention that yesterday, 23 November, Israeli occupying forces killed three Palestinian children in cold blood in different parts of the occupied West Bank.
We must also draw attention to the fact that, in addition to the killing and injury of children, the Israeli occupying forces also carried on with other illegal practices, such as the arbitrary arrest and detention of Palestinian children in the recent period. Many of these children were violently seized from their homes in the dead of night, beaten, blindfolded, strip-searched, interrogated without legal counsel, held incommunicado from their parents and put in solitary confinement.
As the violations against Palestinian children continue to multiply, we continue to insist that the Israeli Government, the Israeli occupying forces and Israeli settler militias belong on the list of grave violators of child rights in the context of the report of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict, and we will not relent in calling for such a listing in the face of ongoing violations and crimes against our innocent and defenceless children. The international community must act to end the prevailing culture of impunity among Israeli occupying forces and settlers and finally compel the occupying Power to respect international law and human rights law. It cannot continue appeasement while such crimes are ongoing. Without accountability, the occupying Power will continue to violate the Palestinian people's rights, including to life, without fear of just punishment.
Moreover, apart from the violations against Palestinian children, Israel's continued use of lethal force against Palestinian civilians in general is further raising tensions throughout Occupied Palestine, including East Jerusalem, and civilian casualties have continued to rise. According to the Palestinian Health Ministry, since the beginning of October, the Israeli occupying forces have killed 97 Palestinians, among them 21 children and 4 women; 78 were killed in the West Bank and 18 in the Gaza Strip. Moreover, 4,191 Palestinians have been shot and wounded with live and rubber-coated steel bullets and 7,670 persons have been treated for excessive tear gas inhalation, while 330 have been injured in other ways, including assaults by occupying forces and burns from tear gas canisters.
While impossible to record every crime by the Israeli occupying forces and
terrorist settlers against the Palestinian people, the list below reflects some of the many crimes of the recent period.
On 18 November 2015:
• Israeli occupying forces detained 44 Palestinians during military raids in the occupied West Bank
• Israeli occupying forces raided Al-Kasara area, south of Al-Khalil, causing fear and panic to spread among the civilian population. Occupying forces forced the closure of shops, obstructed the movement of civilians, including buses for kindergarten children, and imposed a curfew
On 19 November 2015:
• Mahmoud Said Ulayyan (age 20) was shot by occupying forces in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank last week and died from the wounds he sustained
• Shadi Zuhdi Ratib Arafa was shot and killed by Israeli occupying forces near the illegal "Gush Etzion" settlement
• Over 70 Palestinian schoolchildren suffered tear gas inhalation as Israeli occupying forces fired tear gas canisters and sprayed skunk water at a school in the old city of Al-Khalil
On 20 November 2015:
• Alaa Awawdeh (age 15) was detained by occupying forces near Al-Ibrahimi Mosque in Al-Khalil
On 21 November 2015:
• Israeli occupying forces shut down Al-Khalil radio station for a period of six months; the forces seized the station's transmitters and broadcasting equipment and disabled the surveillance cameras as they wreaked havoc at the station
• Israeli settlers blocked the Nablus-Jenin main street near the settlement outpost of "Tarsala", south of Jenin, attacking passing Palestinian vehicles with rocks
On 22 November 2015:
• Ashraqat Qatannani (age 16) was shot dead by occupying forces at the Huwara checkpoint, south of Nablus, after she was run over by an Israeli settler
• Shadi Hassib (age 32) was shot and killed by occupying forces near the illegal Israeli settlement of "Kfar Adumim", in Bethlehem
• Issa Thawabta (age 34) was shot and killed by Israeli occupying forces near the illegal settlement of "Gush Etzion"
On 23 November 2015:
• Alaa Khalil Hashash (age 16) was shot and killed by Israeli occupying forces near the Huwara checkpoint, south of Nablus, and Samah Abdul Mu'men (age 18) was hit and seriously injured when a bullet smashed through her car and hit her in the head as she drove past the area
• Hadil Awwad (age 16) was shot and killed by occupying forces near Jaffa Street in Jerusalem
• Ahmad Jamal Taha (age 16) was shot and left to bleed to death after Israeli occupying forces opened fire on him on road 443, west of Ramallah
• At least 37 Palestinians were detained by Israeli occupying forces during predawn military raids across the occupied West Bank, mostly in Al-Khalil and East Jerusalem
On 24 November 2015:
• Israeli occupying forces launched an air strike on a site in central Occupied Gaza Strip
• Occupying forces at an Israeli checkpoint near Al-Ibrahimi Mosque in Al-Khalil assaulted two journalists working for WAFA News Agency and B'Tselem (an Israeli human rights organization)
• Israeli occupying forces detained 28 Palestinians, including a minor, during military raids in the occupied West Bank and renewed Israeli administrative detention orders against 16 Palestinians already being held in detention by the occupying Power
The incidents mentioned above are only a few of the countless violations and crimes being perpetrated by Israel, the occupying Power, against the Palestinian people. Israel's belligerent military occupation is driven and sustained only by such illegal policies and practices, which affect every single Palestinian child, woman and man living under occupation, whether it be in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, or in the Gaza Strip, where 1.8 million Palestinians continue to live in the world's largest prison, suffering massive collective punishment tantamount to a war crime. The international community, including the Security Council, must confront this unlawful situation and cannot continue to turn a blind eye to this injustice.
Collective international action is required now to bring Israel into compliance with its legal obligations under international law and relevant United Nations resolutions, without exception. The international community must also provide protection to the Palestinian people, including our children, until this foreign occupation is brought to an end.
Lastly, any attempt by the occupying Power to exploit the heinous and condemnable terrorist attacks that took place in Paris on 13 November 2015 or equate them with what is happening in Occupied Palestine must be condemned and firmly rejected. Israel must be reminded that it is an occupying Power and has been for nearly half a century and be reminded that the right of the Palestinian people to peacefully resist and reject this abhorrent occupation is completely legitimate. Moreover, Israel must be reminded that its status as an occupying Power comes with clear obligations under international humanitarian law, which it has completely ignored and gravely breached. Israel is to blame for the bleak and hopeless situation Palestinians and Israelis find themselves in at the present time.
This letter is in follow-up to our 565 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/55/432-5/2000/921) to 17 November 2015 (A/ES-10/702-5/2015/887) 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 arrange to 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.