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It is my deep regret to inform you that, after declaring the Gaza Strip as an “enemy entity” in September 2007, Israel, the occupying Power, has continued closing all borders crossings into and out of the Gaza Strip and tightening its siege and isolation of Gaza, further obstructing the access and movement of people and goods, including humanitarian, medical and food supplies. These unlawful punitive measures by the occupying Power have caused a disastrous deterioration of the already-grave humanitarian situation being faced by the Palestinian civilian population.
In this regard, it was announced by Israeli Deputy Defence Minister Matan Vilanai on Israel Army Radio on Wednesday, 24 October 2007, that the occupying Power plans to reduce “dramatically” — by about two thirds — the power that is supplied to the Gaza Strip.
The Palestinian Council of Ministers has categorically rejected this dangerous and provocative Israeli decision to impose further restrictions on the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip and to cut the essential supplies of electricity, fuel and other goods to the civilian population. Such harsh and illegal Israeli measures, which constitute collective punishment of the entire civilian population, are in flagrant violation of international humanitarian law, namely the relevant provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention, and also in flagrant violation of human rights law. Moreover, such illegal measures would lead to a worsening of the critical humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, where the Palestinian civilian population, including children, women, elderly and the disabled, already face innumerable hardships and untold suffering. The Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mr. John Holmes, has told journalists in Geneva today that restrictions in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank were making it harder and harder for normal economic activity to be maintained, especially in Gaza, warning that Israel’s threat to cut electricity and fuel supplies to the Gaza Strip will only worsen the situation.
Indeed, food insecurity is rising and lack of access to proper medical care and adequate medical supplies has had grave effects on the health and well-being of the population. In addition, according to United Nations agencies, some 70,000 people have lost their jobs and nearly 90 per cent of the population in Gaza now lives below the official poverty line. The absence of raw materials has forced most businesses to close, or work at minimum capacity.
In light of this critical situation, the international community should exert all efforts and the necessary pressure to compel Israel, the occupying Power, to revoke this dangerous decision and to lift immediately the unlawful siege being imposed on the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip in respect of their human rights and in order to alleviate their suffering.
At the same time, I regret to inform you that Israel, the occupying Power, also continues its lethal military aggression against the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. Five Palestinian civilians were killed today by Israeli gunfire in Absan in the Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis and in Jabalya, north Gaza Strip, and by missiles fired by Israeli warplanes on a crowd in the Al-Shojaiya neighbourhood, east of Gaza City.
On Wednesday, 24 October 2007, Israeli warplanes bombarded a building in the Qlebio area in the northern Gaza Strip, killing two Palestinian civilians. On Tuesday, 23 October 2007, Israeli occupying forces killed two Palestinian civilians in the West Bank city of Jenin. On Monday, 22 October 2007, Zeina Mar’ei, an 8 year-old girl, died of head wounds she sustained when Israeli occupying forces opened fire, randomly shooting at Palestinian civilians, in the West Bank city of Tulkarem. On Tuesday, 16 October 2007, 70 year-old Abed Shaker al-Wazeer was killed when Israeli occupying forces shot him dead near his house in the West Bank city of Nablus.
In occupied East Jerusalem, Israel, the occupying Power, is continuing its illegal practice of demolishing Palestinian homes in direct violation of international law and the Fourth Geneva Convention, to which Israel is a signatory. In this connection, the Abu Aisha 5-story apartment building in the neighbourhood of Beit Hanina is at risk of being demolished by Israeli authorities, who have expelled its 70 Palestinian residents, including women and children.
All such Israeli practices are unlawful; they constitute the gravest violations of international law, including humanitarian and human rights law. Moreover, such illegal measures are totally contradictory to the confidence-building measures needed to sustain and move the peace process forward and undermine the current efforts being exerted for the resumption of dialogue and negotiations between the two sides aimed at achieving a final, just and peaceful settlement, on the basis of the two-State solution and the settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict in its entirety. To prevent the further deterioration of the situation and to contribute to the efforts to resolve this prolonged and tragic conflict, the international community must uphold its responsibilities and take action to bring a halt to these Israeli violations being committed against the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.
This letter is in follow-up to our previous 299 letters to you 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 23 October 2007 (A/ES-10/403-S/2007/628), 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, 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.
In follow-up to the above-mentioned letters, it is my deep regret to inform you that at least 30 more Palestinian civilians, including children, have been killed by the Israeli occupying forces, raising the total number of martyrs killed since September 2000 to 4,731. (The names of the martyrs that have been identified are listed in the annex to the present letter.)
I should be grateful if you would arrange to have the present letter and its annex distributed as a document of the tenth emergency special session of the General Assembly, under agenda item 5, and of the Security Council.