The situation in the Occupied State of Palestine, including East Jerusalem, remains extremely critical as Israel, the occupying Power, persists with its violations of international law, including humanitarian and human rights law, causing the continued deterioration of the situation in all aspects, including the continued suffering of the Palestinian people under its occupation, and further deepening despair and inflaming heightened tensions.
As you are well aware, the situation is particularly grave in the Gaza Strip, where the Palestinian civilian population who have already suffered inordinately under Israel’s 8-year inhumane blockade is finding it nearly impossible to cope with the massive humanitarian disaster inflicted upon them by the 36-day Israeli military onslaught. In this regard, despite the fragile new 72-hour ceasefire that went into force midnight on Monday, 11 August in Gaza, the massive devastation, destruction, trauma and havoc wreaked by the occupying Power will make the task of recovery in the next coming days and weeks a grueling and painful experience.
As of today-and not taking into account the recovery efforts underway in which rescue workers continue to pull dead civilians from the rubble of demolished homes – more than 1,940 Palestinians were killed, in which at least 1,400 were civilians, among them 467 children, 243 women and 87 elderly, and nearly 10,000 Palestinians, including at least 3,009 children, 1,912 women and 359 elderly were injured by the Israeli occupying forces in the recent military aggression. Using all means of military weaponry, the occupying Power deliberately unleashed excessive, indiscriminate and disproportionate force against the defenseless civilian population in the Gaza Strip. These brutal killings and injuries were clearly committed by Israel in grave breach of international humanitarian law, which forbids, inter alia, willful killing and willfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health of protected persons.
In addition to the civilian casualties caused, wanton destruction of Palestinian property was deliberately caused by the occupying forces in the Gaza Strip in grave breach of international humanitarian law. In this connection, at least 8,800 structures have been completely demolished and 41,420 homes have been damaged, rendering 100,000 people homeless. The humanitarian situation continues to be atrocious with over 485,000 people, almost one quarter of Gaza’s population, forcibly displaced and sheltering in UNRWA schools – with more than a quarter million people taking refuge in UN shelters alone – as well as in mosques, churches and hospitals.
Widespread destruction and damage was also caused to vital infrastructure, such as Gaza’s only power plant, and to several hospitals and schools, as well as to numerous public institutions and mosques, thousands of businesses, factories and agricultural lands. Of course, it must also be recalled that the occupying Power’s rampage in the Gaza Strip did not leave the U.N. facilities there unharmed as several UNRWA schools also came under Israeli attack, which caused the deaths among many Palestinians as well as UN staff as well as gravely damaged U.N. facilities.
We continue to appeal to the international community for international protection to be provided for the Palestinian civilian population, who in Gaza are living under unbearable, inhumane circumstances, with no clean water, no electricity, shortage of food, medical equipment and supplies. Indeed, the extent of human suffering and destruction wrought by the occupying Power is vast. Trauma and suffering are widespread and deep, affecting nearly every single Palestinian woman, man and child in Gaza.
These actions by Israel, the occupying Power, have not only caused a grave humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip but, as we have reiterated on numerous occasions, also constitute war crimes. All of the crimes committed by the occupying Power must be thoroughly investigated and the perpetrators must be held fully accountable and brought to justice. In this regard, we stress our conviction that only accountability will bring an end to Israel’s impunity and flagrant disregard for its obligations under international law, and we reaffirm the intention to continue vigorously calling for and pursuing accountability until the perpetrators of these crimes against the Palestinian people are punished and justice is served.
At the same time, Excellency, I must draw your attention to the fact that Israel also continues to commit other grave breaches of international law throughout the rest of the Occupied State of Palestine, ensuring the continued destabilization of the situation and the fueling of tensions and frustrations. Israeli occupying forces, and the extremist and terrorist settlers it has illegally transferred to the Palestinian land, have continued to brutalize the Palestinian civilian population in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Over the past week, Palestinians protesting Israel’s aggression against their brothers and sisters in the Gaza Strip have been met with excessive and indiscriminate use of force and many have been killed, while many others have been injured.
Besides what was mentioned above, below is a list of just a small fraction of the multiple grave violations committed by Israel, the occupying Power, many of them amounting to war crimes, that we are compelled to convey to you, since our last letter on 4 August 2014. We will continue to keep you informed of the situation on the ground once information becomes available in order to more fully document these crimes against our people.
- Nidal Raed Olaiwa (age 12) died of wounds he sustained as a result of an earlier Israeli airstrike that targeted a civilian car in Gaza City.
- Rozi Talab Jaber (age 8) was severly injured as she was deliberately run over by a car driven by an Israeli settler in the city of Al-Khalil (Hebron) in the West Bank.
- Ibrahim Zuhair Al-Dawawsa (age10) was killed during an airstrike on Al-Nour Al-Mohammedy mosque in Al-Sheikh Radwan neighborhood north of Gaza City. The Israeli strike also injured 14 people.
- Three Palestinians from Abu Haddaf family were killed by an Israeli airstrike on their house in Al-Qarara town northeast of Khan Younis in the Gaza Strip.
- Shahd Oweiss (age 9) was severely injured as she was deliberately run over by a car driven by an Israeli settler south of the city of Nablus in the West Bank.
- Mohammed Ahmed Al-Qatari (age 19) was killed by Israeli occupying forces east of Al-Beira in the West Bank. He was left to bleed to death before handing over his body to Palestinian medical crews.
- Israeli shelling of Ezz Eldin Al-Qassam mosque in Al-Nusseirat refugee camp in central Gaza Strip killed three Palestinians and injured three others.
- Ayeh Anwar Al-Sha’er (age 13) was killed in an airstrike on her house in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.
- Israeli airstrike killed Abdel Hakim Suleiman Al-Masdar (age 56) and Mo’men Al-Masdar (age 19) as they rode a motorcycle in Al-Moghazi refugee camp in central Gaza Strip.
- Mahmoud Al-Jorani was killed by an Israeli strike in the city of Deir Al-Balah in the Gaza Strip.
- Tareq Ra’ed Abu Rmaila (age 13) was brutally beaten by Israeli settlers in Al-Khalil in the West Bank.
- Nader Mohammed Idriss (age 42) died of wounds he sustained on 8 August when he was shot with live ammunition by Israeli occupying forces in Bab Al-Zawia in the center of Al-Khalil during a protest against Israel’s aggression on the Gaza Strip.
- An airstrike against the house of Ayman Baraka in Bani Suhaila village, east of Khan Younis injured him and killed his wife, Amani Al-Abd Baraka (age 35).
- Ahmed Al-Masri (age 17) was killed in a strike on agricultural lands southwest of Deir Al-Balah.
- Hassan kawarei (age 24) and Ihsan Mahrous Al-Agha (age 23) were killed by an airstrike as they rode on a motorcycle in Khan Younis.
- Khalil Mohammed Al-Anati (age 11) was killed by Israeli occupying forces in Al-Fawwar camp south of Al-Khalil.
- Fawzi Mohammed Fawzi Bahr (age 12) was injured by a rubber-coated steel bullet shot by Israeli occupying forces as he was standing in front of his house in Beit Amr north of Al-Khalil.
- An Israeli airstrike targeted a car in Beit Hanoun killing Anwar Al-Zaanin and injuring two others.
- Minutes before the ceasefire went into effect Israeli occupying forces targeted Khan Younis killing at least two Palestinians and injuring several others.
- Two bodies, still unidentified, were uncovered under the rubble in Khozaa town east of Khan Younis and two other Palestinians died of their wounds sustained as a result of Israeli attacks, including Maydaa Mohammed Aslan (age 18 months).
- Zakariya Al-Aqraa’ (age 24) was killed by Israeli occupying forces after attacking his house in Qablan town south of Nablus with grenades and heavy fire.
Clearly, the above violations by Israeli occupying forces against the Palestinian people display, yet again, Israel’s disregard of civilian lives and of international law and we call on the international community to firmly condemn such violations. Israel must finally be compelled to cease all of its grave breaches and violations against the Palestinian people and abide by its obligations under international law, including humanitarian and human rights law. The fact that the necessary measures were never taken by the international community to hold Israel accountable for its crimes against the Palestinian people has only encouraged the occupying Power to add another long list of war crimes to its heavy dossier. In this connection, we reiterate our call to the Security Council to shoulder its responsibilities with regard to the maintenance of international peace and security and immediately adopt the draft resolution before the Council to address the critical situation in the Occupied State of Palestine, especially in the Gaza Strip. The Palestinian people, especially the young children in Gaza who have only known war, siege and occupation for their entire young lives, deserve a principled international position to ensure that they are spared further undue suffering.
This letter is in follow-up to our 515 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 4 August 2014 (A/ES-10/648-S/2014/567) 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 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.
Please accept, Excellency, the assurances of my highest consideration.
Dr. Riyad Mansour
Ambassador, Permanent Observer
of the State of Palestine to the United Nations