16 October 2018 – Killing of Palestinian civilians by Israel

Excellency,

I regret to inform that Israel, the occupying Power, has continued with its intentional killing and injuring of Palestinian civilians under its military occupation, in utter disregard for basic morality, the rule of law, including humanitarian and human rights law, and UN resolutions that have repeatedly demanded an end to such illegal policies and practices.

Since our last letter, the occupying Power’s forces have continued to shoot-to-kill and shoot-to-maim Palestinian civilians protesting peacefully against the injustice that their people have been subjected to as a result of decades of colonization, dispossession, apartheid and the structural violence of the occupation. Such systematic targeting of unarmed civilians, including children, is deplorable and illegal, constituting war crimes and crimes against humanity, and must be countered by the international community in both word and deed.

On 2 October, an Israeli sniper shot and killed an elderly Palestinian man, Ibrahim Ahmad Nassar al-Arouqi, age 74, as he stood in the street near his home in al-Maghazi refugee camp.

On 3 October, Ahmed Abu Habil, age 15, succumbed to his wounds after an Israeli soldier struck him with a tear gas canister that became lodged in his skull causing lethal damage.

On 5 October, Faris al-Sirsawi, age 12, Hussein al-Raqab, age 18, and Mahmoud Akram Samaan, age 24, were shot and killed by Israeli occupation forces. On 7 October, another child, still unidentified, was shot and killed.

On 12 October, Israeli forces continued their killing spree, executing seven Palestinians – Ahmed Abdallah Abu Naeem, age 17, Afifi Afifi, age 18, Mohammad Issam Abbas, age 21, Ahmed Ibrahim al-Taweel, age 22, Tamer Iyad Abu Armana, age 22, Abdallah Barham al-Daghma, age 25, and Mohammed Abdulhafid Ismail, age 29.

Such a barbaric display of violence, such a record of tragedies, is horrific and sickening, and cannot be justified, explained or condoned by anyone with a basic sense of morality, legality or justice. The vicious imprisonment of, and savagery by the occupying Power against, the Palestinian civilian population of Gaza must stop. Like all humans everywhere, the 2 million Palestinians in Gaza must be protected from such terror.

No child should live in an environment where children are subjected to violence, let alone an environment where children are being killed so systematically. “One Palestinian child per week” is the average number of children that Israeli forces or armed settlers have killed this year, according to international NGO Defense for Children International. This is reprehensible and morally unacceptable and must be condemned.

Since the protests began on 30 March, at least 205 Palestinians, including 45 children, have been killed by the occupying forces, and more than 20,000 Palestinians wounded, including children, women, older persons, and nearly 120 journalists and 120 paramedics. The majority of the casualties have been in the Gaza Strip and, since 2 October alone, five volunteer paramedics and nine journalists and media workers have been injured.

Simultaneous with such repression and violence against our people, Israel continues its colonial settlement campaign across the West Bank, including in particular in and around Occupied East Jerusalem. This illegal campaign is being pursued, enacted and maintained by Israeli officials at all levels of the State, combined with explicit statements by Israeli politicians provocatively calling for annexation of Palestinian land.

Israeli settlers also continue to terrorize Palestinian civilians, causing deaths, injuries and property damage. On 12 October, a mother of eight children, Aisha Mohammed Rabi, age 47, was stoned to death by terrorist settlers. Aisha was driving with her husband and two daughters when settlers threw rocks at her vehicle and hit her in the head, killing her. This took place near illegal checkpoints and occupation bases, with Israeli soldiers standing idly by. This murder has devastated her family and further traumatized the entire community.

Also, on 14 October, an Israeli settler ran over two Palestinian workers with his car near the Kafr Laqif village, east of the northern West Bank district of Qalqilya. The two workers, Oqab Raji Abed al-Hafith and Ameer Hayel Raji, are still recovering from their injuries.

Such violent settlers operate in a culture that has normalized terrorizing, dehumanizing and killing of Palestinians. They are willfully fueled by the impunity accorded to them, by the incitement of Israeli and other politicians, and by Israel’s increasingly racist legislation.  In addition to living illegally on our lands, the settlers also flood our villages with their sewage water, uproot our ancient olive trees, harass and intimidate our children on their way to school, and ravage our agricultural lands, out of hatred, out of fanaticism, out of their sense of impunity.

Those who support the settlement project, whether individuals, organizations or businesses, wherever in the world, bear the responsibility to bring an end to these illegal acts and associated crimes. The settlement regime must be dismantled, and accountability for Israeli crimes is imperative if the prospects for peace are ever to be salvaged and if peace is ever to have a chance.

We reiterate our call to the international community, particularly the Security Council, to uphold its responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, and to implement its legal obligation, in accordance with the Charter and its own resolutions, to ensure respect for international law vis-à-vis an occupying Power deliberately violating peremptory norms of the law.

While the Palestinian people are determined to continue using non-violence to call for their rights, we urge the international community to encourage them, to show them that their calls are heeded, not to send them the message that non-violence, international law and the international system will not help in their quest for freedom, justice and independence.

This letter is in follow-up to our XXX 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-S/2000/921) to 1 October 2018 (___), 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 be brought to justice.

Please accept, Excellency, the assurances of my highest consideration.

Dr. Riyad Mansour

Ambassador, Permanent Observe

of the State of Palestine to the United Nations