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In this regard, earlier this week, on 12 September 2010, the Israeli occupying forces unleashed tank fire at Palestinian civilians in the northern Gaza Strip area of Beit Hanoun, violently killing three people, including a child, who were tending to their land herding their sheep in the area. Those killed included a 91-year-old man, Ibrahim Abu Said, and Ismail Odeh, aged 21, who was beheaded as a result of the forceful impact of the shelling, and Husam Khaled Ibrahim Abu Said, aged 16. We condemn the killing of these innocent civilians, and we call for those responsible for this crime to be held accountable. The international community must also unequivocally condemn these murders and call upon Israel to cease its use of excessive and indiscriminate force against the Palestinian people.
Also, today, 17 September 2010, the Israeli occupying forces carried out yet another extrajudicial killing of a Palestinian civilian, further increasing tensions and adding to Israel’s long list of violations of international law, including international humanitarian law and human rights law. At dawn, a large contingent of Israeli soldiers raided the Noor Al-Shams refugee camp in Tulkarem in the northern West Bank. Several Palestinians were arrested by the occupying forces in the raid and the brother of 38 year-old Iyad Shalbayah was forced to lead the soldiers to his brother’s home. Upon arrival, the soldiers detonated an explosive charge at the front door, forcing their way into the home and assassinating Iyad Shalbayah. The soldiers then seized the body and took it to an unidentified location, before turning it over to the Palestinian Red Crescent hours later. Palestinian medical sources confirm that the victim died as a result of three gunshot wounds, one to the neck and two to the chest, and initial investigations by human rights organizations further confirm the eyewitness accounts that Shalbayah was murdered in cold blood. Even the occupying forces have admitted that he was unarmed.
This action is no doubt illegal, brutal, and criminal, constituting a violation of international law as well as Israel’s obligations under the road map and must be roundly condemned by the international community. Furthermore, this deliberate illegal act seriously undermines the serious, concerted international and regional efforts now under way to support and advance the direct peace negotiations that have just commenced between the Palestinian and Israeli sides. Such illegal, violent and provocative actions threaten to escalate tensions, destabilize the fragile situation on the ground, and sabotage peace efforts and must be ceased completely.
In this regard, we wish to stress that the reality on the ground cannot and should not be disconnected from the ongoing peace efforts towards the realization of the two-State solution for peace on the basis of the pre-1967 borders. Clearly, Israel’s unlawful and provocative actions in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem — whether it be ongoing colonization measures, including the construction and expansion of settlement and the Wall, as well as home demolitions and evictions, or the use of force against the Palestinian civilian population, negatively impact the peace process, undermining its credibility and continuity, to the detriment of both peoples and the region as a whole. Indeed, neither continued colonization nor military oppression of the Palestinian civilian population are compatible with the spirit and well-known, internationally supported objectives of the peace process.
It is thus incumbent upon the international community, which has invested so many years and so much political and diplomatic effort in the Middle East peace process to protect and support that process and to help maintain its credibility and viability. In this regard, it is thus the collective responsibility of the international community, particularly the Security Council, to compel Israel, the occupying Power, to halt completely all illegal and aggressive policies and measures in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, including extrajudicial executions, raids of Palestinian cities and settlement expansion, and to ensure that Israel abides by its obligations under international law, United Nations resolutions and the Quartet road map. The way forward towards a peaceful and just resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the core of the Arab-Israeli conflict, is dependent on this.
This letter is in follow-up to our previous 373 letters regarding the ongoing crisis in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, since 28 September 2000. These letters, dated from 29 September 2000 (A/55/432-S/2000/921) to 20 August 2010 (A/ES-10/499-S/2010/441), 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 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 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.