15 March 2019 – Israeli Airstrikes on the Gaza Strip

Excellency,

I write once again in the span of days to draw the international community’s urgent attention to the continually rising tensions and deterioration of the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, as Israel, the occupying Power, persists with its aggressions, provocations and illegal policies and practices against the Palestinian people.

In the predawn (Palestine time) hours of today, Israeli warplanes carried out approximately 100 airstrikes against the Gaza Strip, terrorizing the besieged Palestinian civilian population and causing injury to at least four Palestinians. The Palestinian leadership condemns this Israeli military aggression in the strongest terms.

These missile strikes have caused widespread fear and panic as Palestinian families brace themselves for the prospect of yet another military aggression by the occupying Power against Gaza, where the population has yet to recover from the lasting impact of the destruction and human loss caused by past Israeli wars and where coping capacities have been depleted by the collective punishment that continues to be meted against them by the illegal Israeli blockade and the humanitarian catastrophe it has deliberately inflicted upon them for nearly twelve years now.

We call on the Security Council to give due attention to this dangerous escalation and to demand a halt to Israel’s aggressions against the Palestinian civilian population and to avert any further escalation of the situation. It is incumbent on the Council to also demand the occupying Power’s respect for its legal obligations, including to ensure the safety and welfare of the civilian population under its occupation as per the Fourth Geneva Convention. Such action is of urgency to ensure the protection of civilian lives.

Moreover, the Council, must demand respect for its resolutions, including resolution 2334 (2016) and including its demands for immediate steps to prevent all acts of violence against civilians, including acts of terror, as well as an end to all provocations, incitement and inflammatory rhetoric, which also continue to stoke tensions in this already-volatile situation.  The escalating threats and aggressive rhetoric by Israeli government and military officials against our people in the Gaza Strip and the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territory cannot be ignored. Due attention must be given to this situation before such threats are manifested in further brutality and inhumanity by the occupying Power against the defenseless Palestinian civilian population.

This letter is in follow-up to our 661 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 12 March 2019 (A/ES-10/812-S/2019/189), 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