I write to draw your immediate attention to the critical situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, in which more Palestinian civilians, including children, continue to be killed, including by extrajudicial execution, and severely injured as a result of the excessive use of force by Israeli occupying forces.
On Monday, 16 January, a Palestinian youth, 17-year-old Qusai Al-Amour, was fatally shot in the village of Tuqou’, near Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank. Qusai was among a group of civilians protesting Israeli occupying forces’ presence in his village. Qusai was not armed with a gun or knife, but rather armed with stones in comparison to occupying forces that arrived in armored military jeeps and armed with the most sophisticated, lethal weaponry. Like many other killings of Palestinians by the occupying Power, video footage displayed the horrific event for the world to see. In this regard, the video of Qusai’s murder clearly showed his body lying motionless on the ground in an olive grove. The video then shows Israeli occupying forces jumping on his body, grabbing him by his arms and legs, and dragging him back to their military jeeps, all while his body was limp and his head repeatedly hit the ground. His relatives and friends at the scene rushed to Qusai’s aid only to also be shot at and wounded by Israeli soldiers.
Besides establishing the truth of the appalling murder of Qusai, the video of this tragic incident provides further evidence of the routine, inhumane and criminal actions being perpetrated by an immoral occupying force against a defenseless civilian population. This, as with so many other similar incidents, dispels the constant false narrative being spewed by Israeli officials after such heinous murders of young Palestinians are carried out.
The day after the brutal murder of Qusai, Israeli occupying forces extra-judicially executed another Palestinian. In this age of digital technology, this barbaric murder was also captured on video for the world to see. This time, it was a 44-year-old Palestinian man, Nidal Daoud Mahdawi, from the Shweika area, north of Tulkarem, and a father of five children. Video of the incident shows Nidal walking through an illegal Israeli military checkpoint and being shot by occupying forces. Video then shows Nidal’s lifeless body falling to the ground.
A week before the killings of Qusai and Nidal, another Palestinian man was killed. This time it was Mohammed Salhi, age 32, who was killed in his home in Al-Fara’a refugee camp, located near Nablus and Tubas. At approximately 2:30 am on 10 January, more than 10 Israeli soldiers broke into his home and killed Mohammed in a hail of gunfire. The occupying forces had purportedly entered Mohammed’s home in order to conduct a military raid on another home. Mohammed lived with his ailing mother, who watched the murder of her son take place before her own eyes. Instead of allowing her to help her son or to grieve his death, the Israeli soldiers locked her in a small room in her home for hours, while her son lay on the ground bleeding to death until they completed their raid into the other home.
These are but a few incidents once again reflecting in stark and painful terms the occupying Power’s total disregard for Palestinian life. The dignity and humanity of the Palestinian people is routinely violated and dismissed by Israeli occupying forces as is their basic right to life, all without consequence as the perpetrators of these crimes against our people continue to evade accountability for their violations and crimes.
As evidenced by the killings noted above and the mounting list of human rights violations and international humanitarian law violations, as in the annex attached, Israel, the occupying Power, remains in complete and utter contempt of the law. Its deliberate and systematic violations and crimes are causing endless destruction, suffering and anguish for the Palestinian people. These crimes committed are intolerable and must be roundly condemned. Beyond condemnation, however, the international community, including the Security Council, must demand Israel, the occupying Power, to immediately end all its violations and crimes against Palestinian civilians and to comply with its obligations under international law, a call made clearly and unequivocally by the General Assembly and Security Council in countless resolutions, including in most recently in resolution 2334 (2016), and which must be abide by, without exception.
The Palestinian people and the goal of peace will tragically continue to suffer as long as Israel, the occupying Power, remains immune from consequences for its human rights violations and crimes. In this regard, we are of the firm conviction that only accountability can remedy the prevailing culture of impunity and compel respect for international law and human rights. Implementation of the law, including as enshrined in the relevant United Nations resolutions, is absolutely imperative in this regard. The international community must take all necessary actions to ensure that Israel ceases from acting as a State above the law and to finally end its illegal occupation and oppression against the Palestinian people and their land in all its manifestations. This is the only path for peace.
This letter is in follow-up to our 601 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 5January 2017 (A/ES-10/738-S/2017/14) 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.
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
5 January 2017
- The Israeli occupying navy attacked a Palestinian boats that were sailing near Al-Sudaniya area, which is about 4 nautical miles off Gaza shore, chased them and opened fire at them, causing serious damages to them. The attack by the occupying navy caused one of the boats to sink and the fisherman on board, Muhammad Hassi, has yet to be found.
6 January 2017
- A 40 year-old Palestinian man was seriously injured after he was run over by an illegal Israeli settler car while he was walking on the side of the road, south of Nablus city.
8 January 2017
- Israeli occupying forces detained three Palestinians, including two minors, during military raids into several cities in the occupied West Bank.
- A group of extremist Israeli settlers, accompanied and protected by occupying forces, seized a building in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan that belongs to Hani Sarhan, a Palestinian from East Jerusalem who was in Jordan when his house was illegally seized.
Illegal settler organizations have recently been able to seize many buildings and homes in Silwan area, turning them into illegal settlements outposts. Israeli occupying forces have also in recent years demolished around 88 houses in Silwan for the purpose of expanding illegal settlement activities.
9 January 2017
- Israeli occupying forces leveled a Palestinian-owned land and demolished a stall in the village of Marda, near Salfit town in the West Bank under the bogus pretext of “construction without a permit.”
- Israeli occupying forces detained 20 Palestinians during wide-scale military raids and arrest and search operations in several cities throughout the occupied West Bank.
- Illegal Israeli settlers attacked Palestinian vehicles while passing near the villages of Huwwara and Burin, south of Nablus causing damages to dozens of Palestinian vehicles. Illegal settlers also physically assaulted Palestinian passengers near the two villages after forcing them to get out of their vehicles.
- Israeli occupying forces issued orders to demolish two structures in the village of Al-Fakhit, south of Al-Khalil under the bogus pretext of being built in Area (C) without permission. The two structures were donated by the Italian Cooperation as part of European humanitarian assistance to Palestinians living in Area (C). Humanitarian organizations said Israel has demolished more structures in Area (C) in 2016 than any previous year.
10 January 2017
- Israeli occupying forces shot and killed Mohammad Salhi (age 32) after violently raiding his home to get to another one next door, and was left to bleed to death during a wide-scale military raid of Al-Fara’a refugee camp, south of Tubas.
- Israeli occupying forces assaulted an 80-year-old elderly Palestinian woman, Shafiqa Joumaa, during a military raid of the village of Kufr Qaddoum, east of Qalqilya.
- Israeli occupying forces detained 25 Palestinians in overnight military raids of several cities in the occupied West Bank.
- Israeli occupying forces destroyed a 11 kilometer water pipeline that used to transport water from Atuf village to 36 Palestinian families in the Tubas localities of Ras Al-Ahmar and Al-Hadidiya in the Jordan Valley.
11 January 2017
- An Israeli bulldozer razed a road, which was rehabilitated by donors’ aid, near the village of Al-Boweib in MasaferYatta, south of Al-Khalil. The road is vital and links many communities in the south of Al-Khalil.
- Israeli occupying forces detained 36 Palestinians, including a senior Palestinian official who formerly served as governor of Jenin, during overnight military raids throughout the West Bank.
14 January 2017
- Israeli occupying naval forces opened live fire at fishermen off the coast of the northern Gaza Strip.
15 January 2017
- Illegal Israeli settlers stormed the courtyard of Muhammad Muheisin’s home, smashed the outdoor furniture, damaged garden plants, and shattered framed Quran verses. Muheisin and his family live on the ground floor of a six-story building. Israeli settlers illegally took over the five upper apartments in October 2014. Since the takeover, settlers have repeatedly assaulted him and his family members. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) documented 107 cases of settler attacks on Palestinians and their property throughout 2016.
16 January 2017
- Israeli occupying navy forces opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats and arrested two fishermen while sailing off the Gaza shore.
- Israeli occupying forces confiscated two Palestinian-owned tractors in the village of Khirbet Ebzeeq, east of Tubas, under the pretext that the tractors were inside a military zone.
- Israeli occupying forces started to uproot hundreds of olive trees belonging to Palestinians in an area to the east of Qalqilia under the pretext of opening a road designated for the sole use of Jewish settlers residing in illegal West Bank settlements. One of the landowners, Mousa Al-Tabeeb, said the total number of trees intended to be uprooted is around 2000 trees, including 500-year-old trees.
- Israeli occupying forces killed Qusai Al-Amour (age 17), in the village of Tuqou’, near Bethlehem, then dragged him for 100 meters while seriously injured, and he died shortly after. Israeli occupying forces opened fire at Palestinians who tried to help Qusai, injuring four, one of them an elderly woman.
17 January 2017
- Firas Mahmoud was forced to tear down his own house in Al-Issawiya after the occupying Power informed him that it was going to demolish his house and force him to pay for it.
- NidalMahdawi (age 44) from the suburb of Sheiwkeh, north of Tulkarm, was shot dead by Israeli occupying forces at an illegal military checkpoint.