Archives for July 2014

25 July 2014 – Israeli Attacks in the Gaza Strip and West Bank

Excellency,

On this 18th day of the Israeli military aggression against the Palestinian civilian population in the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian death toll has climbed to more than 840 people, including at least 190 children and 40 elderly persons, and more than 5,300 Palestinians have been injured.

More than 160,000 Palestinian civilians have been displaced as desperate civilians continue to flee destroyed homes and neighborhoods and fear has impelled the majority of these civilians to seek refuge in United Nations schools and facilities as the Israeli attacks continue by air, land and sea. Using all means of heavy weaponry, the Israeli occupying forces are causing human devastation as well as massive destruction of civilian properties, including homes, hospitals and schools, and infrastructure, with more than 1 million people now affected by the destruction of electricity, water and sanitation networks.  Moreover, UN premises have not been immune from this Israeli campaign of wanton destruction, as shown by the attack yesterday on an UNRWA elementary school in Beit Hanoun, which claimed the lives of at least 17 Palestinian civilians.  [Read more…]

28 July 2014 – Policy Statement, State of Palestine Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Palestine continues to struggle with mourning, grief, and loss. However, The Palestinian people remain proud, refusing to surrender to humiliation, murder, and wanton destruction that is borne out of racism and fueled by a resounding international failure of morals and responsibility.
More than 1036 Palestinian lives have been stolen; thousands others have been crushed by injury, grief and loss. Nearly 300 children are among the Palestinians killed during the Israeli occupation’s ongoing aggression against the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip and across the Occupied Palestinian Territory. On average, a Palestinian child is killed every two hours.
By all measures, this is a human tragedy and it continues. At least 150 bodies have been recovered so far in the ongoing search in several neighborhoods that have been reduced to rubble. The scenes of devastation, destruction, and wholesale death stand testament to the disgraceful failure of the international community to protect and uphold the principles and values it claims to stand for.

[Read more…]

24 July 2014 – Israeli Attack on UNRWA School in Beit Hanoun

Excellency,

In less than 24 hours since my letter to you yesterday, more than 120 Palestinians, including ten members of one family, have been killed by the Israeli occupying forces.  The death toll now stands at more than 790 Palestinians killed, the majority of them children and women, and more than 5,000 persons injured, as Israel, the occupying Power, continues its bloody aggression against the Palestinian civilian population in the besieged Gaza Strip.

Today, Israel, the occupying Power, proved yet again its absolute disregard for human life and the rules of international humanitarian law intended to prevent such military assaults against civilians.  Once again, the Israeli occupying forces have targeted an UNRWA school, causing more death and injury among already-traumatized civilians, displaced from their homes and sheltering in the school, including many who were demanded by the occupying Power in earlier days to leave their residential areas.  Here, it is imperative to recall that during Israel’s 2008-9 war on Gaza, Israeli tanks shelled an area outside an UNRWA school in Jabaliya refugee camp, killing 42 people and injuring dozens, a crime in which the occupying Power deliberately targeted areas and buildings housing the largest number of civilians, but for which Israel has never been held accountable.  [Read more…]

23 July 2014 – Growing List of Israeli War Crimes

Excellency,

In the 24 hours since the Security Council met yesterday to consider the ongoing crisis in the Gaza Strip, I deeply regret to inform you that more than 60 other Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli occupying forces.  As we continue to appeal to the international community to stop this barbaric Israeli aggression, and as regional and international efforts are being exerted to secure a ceasefire, Israel, the occupying Power, is instead choosing to intensify its military onslaught on the defenseless Palestinian civilian population it holds captive under its occupation throughout the occupied State of Palestine, and in particular in the besieged Gaza Strip.

Since our letter of Monday, 21 July, the number of innocent children, women and men killed and injured by the occupying Power has risen dramatically.  The death, toll since the start of this Israeli war 15 days ago, now stands at more than 660 Palestinians killed.  Shockingly, at least one third of all casualties are children under 18 years old and more than half of the children killed thus far by the occupying Power are under 12 years old, exposing the brutality of the Israeli occupying forces and the false claims regarding respect for civilian lives.

As of today, the number of Palestinians injured stands at more than 4220 people, many of them seriously injured and in need of urgent medical care that is not available in Gaza, which due to the blockade is already plagued by a shortage of medical supplies and life-saving equipment.  In this regard, hospitals and medical centers also continue to be targeted by Israeli occupying forces. Following the deadly attack by Israel on Al-Aqsa hospital in Deir Al-Balah two days ago, today Israeli warplanes struck at Al-Wafa hospital in central Gaza, traumatizing sick and injured patients and forcing the doctors, nurses and staff struggling to care for them to flee for safety. Such attacks, without a doubt, constitute grave breaches of international humanitarian law, war crimes for which Israel, the occupying Power, must be held accountable.  [Read more…]

21 July 2014 – Shuja’iya Massacre and Bombardment By Israel Against Gaza Civilians

Excellency,

The atrocities and heinous crimes that continue to be perpetrated by Israel, the occupying Power, against the Palestinian civilian population in the Gaza Strip compel me to write to you again to appeal for urgent action by the international community to bring an end to this Israeli aggression and save innocent civilian lives.

An immediate cease-fire is needed to put a halt to the war crimes and human rights violations being committed with impunity by the Israeli occupying forces against the besieged and suffering Palestinian civilian population in the Gaza Strip. We recognize the regional and international efforts being exerted towards a ceasefire, including the important support and efforts by the Secretary-General and the calls by the Security Council for a ceasefire, and appeal for greater efforts to help bring an end to the bloodshed and destruction.

For the 14th day, Israel, the occupying Power, has continued its airstrikes and artillery assaults on densely populated civilian areas all throughout the Gaza Strip.  Today, Israeli occupying forces brutally killed multiple members of three extended Palestinians families – a family of 11 persons in Rafah, a family of 26 persons in Khan Younis, and a family of 5 persons in Gaza City.  The slaughter of these families follows the massacre committed by the occupying forces yesterday, 20 July, in the Shuja’iya area of Gaza City, where more than 70 Palestinians were killed, deepening the vast trauma and horror being borne by our people under this criminal and inhumane Israeli occupation and military onslaught on civilians. [Read more…]

17 July 2014 – Continuing Killing of Palestinian Children By Israeli Military Aggression

Excellency,

I write to you today to convey that tragically yesterday, Wednesday, 16 July 2014, marked the highest number of child fatalities in a 24-hour period since the beginning of Israel’s barbaric aggression against the Palestinian civilian population in the Gaza Strip began 10 days ago.  According to reports, the Israeli occupying forces killed 23 Palestinians yesterday, including 3 women and 9 children – 7 boys and 2 girls.

Among the dead were Ismail (age 9), Ahed (age 10), Mohammed (age 10) and Zakariya (age 10), brothers and cousins in the Baker family, who were murdered by the occupying forces, who fired at them as they were playing on the beach in Gaza City.  The number of children killed by such Israeli war crimes in Gaza stands in the recent period now stands at 47. The killing of these young boys was witnessed by many journalists on the scene.  One journalist, Peter Beaumont of The Guardian, who witnessed the attack, stated the following:

“The first projectile hit the sea wall of Gaza City’s little harbour a little after four o’clock. As the smoke from the explosion thinned, four figures could be seen running, ragged silhouettes, legs pumping furiously along the wall. Even from a distance of 200 metres, it was obvious that three of them were children.

Jumping off the harbour wall, they turned on to the beach, attempting to cross the short distance to the safety of the Al-Deira hotel, base for many of the journalists covering the Gaza conflict.

They waved and shouted at the watching journalists as they passed a little collection of brightly coloured beach tents, used by bathers in peacetime. [Read more…]

Statement by Ambassador Dr. Riyad Mansour before the United Nations Security Council Open Debate on the Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestine Question, 22 July 2014

Mr. President,

I thank you for your skilled stewardship of the Security Council this month and the efforts to address the crisis being faced by the Palestinian people, particularly due to the Israeli military aggression in the Gaza Strip.  I thank Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for his briefing and convey our deep gratitude to him for undertaking an emergency mission to the region in support of the regional and international efforts to secure an urgent ceasefire based on the Egyptian initiative and with the active engagement of President Mahmoud Abbas and other concerned parties.

Today, we also recognize the efforts of UN Special Coordinator Robert Serry on the ground, including with regard to the calls for the humanitarian pause, and the valiant efforts of UN agencies on the ground, including UNRWA, under the leadership of Commissioner-General Pierre Krahenbuhl, and OCHA, under the leadership of Under-Secretary-General Valerie Amos, and the other UN agencies and humanitarian organizations, including the ICRC, that are providing vital emergency assistance to the Palestinian people at this time of crisis.

Mr. President,

Regrettably, despite all of these regional and international efforts, hundreds more Palestinian civilians have been killed, thousands have been injured and tens of thousands have been displaced by the Israeli military aggression in Gaza since we last came before the Security Council on Friday.

Israeli bombardment – including missile airstrikes, bombs and artillery shelling by air, land and sea at densely-populated civilian areas – has also resulted in the destruction of more than 1,000 homes and damage to more than 18,000 other homes.  Fear and panic have gripped the population, leading to displacement of more than 100,000 people, who are now sheltering in UNRWA schools, already double the number of Palestinians who sought refuge in the Agency’s schools in the Israeli war on Gaza of 2008-2009.  Here, we urgently appeal for efforts to address the immense humanitarian needs of the Palestinian civilians in Gaza, including through donor support to UNRWA emergency appeals. [Read more…]

18 July 2014 — Statement by Ambassador Dr. Riyad Mansour before the United Nations Security Council, Emergency Meeting

 

Mr. President,

We have called for this emergency meeting of the Security Council due to the existential crisis being faced by the Palestinian people under Israeli occupation.  With every moment that passes, the life of another Palestinian child or mother or father is cruelly taken by the Israeli occupying forces in their murderous rampage of airstrikes and artillery bombardment against civilian areas and now a massive ground invasion in the Gaza Strip, threatening the safety and survival of the entire Palestinian civilian population. As we were driving to this meeting, four additional children were killed. There names are: Rizeq Al Hayek (age 2), Sarah Bustan (age 13), Imad Ilwan (age 7)  Qasem Ilwan (age 10).

[Read more…]

17 July 2014 — Israeli aggression, incitement and targeting of children

Excellency,

I write to you today to convey that tragically yesterday, Wednesday, 16 July 2014, marked the highest number of child fatalities in a 24-hour period since the beginning of Israel’s barbaric aggression against the Palestinian civilian population in the Gaza Strip began 10 days ago.  According to reports, the Israeli occupying forces killed 23 Palestinians yesterday, including 3 women and 9 children – 7 boys and 2 girls.

Among the dead were Ismail (age 9), Ahed (age 10), Mohammed (age 10) and Zakariya (age 10), brothers and cousins in the Baker family, who were murdered by the occupying forces, who fired at them as they were playing on the beach in Gaza City.  The number of children killed by such Israeli war crimes in Gaza stands in the recent period now stands at 47. The killing of these young boys was witnessed by many journalists on the scene.  One journalist, Peter Beaumont of The Guardian, who witnessed the attack, stated the following:

“The first projectile hit the sea wall of Gaza City’s little harbour a little after four o’clock. As the smoke from the explosion thinned, four figures could be seen running, ragged silhouettes, legs pumping furiously along the wall. Even from a distance of 200 metres, it was obvious that three of them were children.

Jumping off the harbour wall, they turned on to the beach, attempting to cross the short distance to the safety of the Al-Deira hotel, base for many of the journalists covering the Gaza conflict.

They waved and shouted at the watching journalists as they passed a little collection of brightly coloured beach tents, used by bathers in peacetime.

It was there that the second shell hit the beach, those firing apparently adjusting their fire to target the fleeing survivors. As it exploded, journalists standing by the terrace wall shouted: “They are only children.” In the space of 40 seconds, four boys who had been playing hide and seek among the fishermen’s shacks built on the wall were dead.”

In addition to the killing of the four boys, yesterday, another 4 Palestinians were killed when Israeli strikes targeted them near Al-Katibal mosque west of Khan Younis.  A small girl, Yasmin Al-Astal (age 4), a boy Osama Al-Astal (age 6) and Raqiyya Al-Astal (age 70) were among the dead and many others were injured.  In another war crime yesterday, a missile was fired from an Israeli drone at a civilian taxi in Bani Suheila west of Khan Younis, killing several members of yet another Palestinian family.  The family was on their way home from a hospital where they were visiting a family member injured in an Israeli air strike in the previous days.  Ibrahim Ramadan Abu Daqqa (age 10),  his brother Amro Ramadan Abu Daqqa (age 25), and their sister Madeline Abu Daqqa (age 27), a pregnant mother of three, died along with their elderly grandmother, Khadra Abu Daqqa, all killed instantly by the wanton and deliberate attacks being perpetrated by the occupying Power.

In addition to the cold-blooded killing of these Palestinian civilians, many more have been killed and more than 1700 have been injured by over 1800 Israeli airstrikes thus far against the besieged Gaza Strip.  Moreover, in the past ten days, 695 homes have been completely destroyed with another 640 homes partially destroyed, and 81 schools have been destroyed or damaged, along with 3 hospitals and 5 other health centers, exacerbating the health crisis in Gaza, where there is a dire and growing need for medicines and medical equipment, already in short supply due to the blockade.  Religious sites also continue to be hit by Israeli airstrikes, including 3 mosques which have been completely destroyed and another 64 mosques that have been seriously damaged.  Moreover, more than 22,600 people have been displaced and more than 900,000 people are affected by the destruction of electricity, water and sanitation infrastructures.

In addition to the rampage of killing and destruction, the culture of Israeli incitement and hatred continues to intensify, deliberately aimed at terrorizing and causing harm to our people.  Among the many examples of this are the condemnable actions by Israeli citizens in the town of Sderot who have set up lounge chairs and couches on a hilltop to watch the bombs reign down on the Gaza Strip, cheering the death of Palestinian women and children, while they eat popcorn.  Members of the Israeli government also continue to incite and call for the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people.  In just one abhorrent example, Ayelet Shaked, a member of the “Jewish Home” party, issued a call on Facebook to ethnically cleanse the land, declaring “the entire Palestinian people is the enemy”.  She advocated their complete destruction, “including its elderly and its women,” adding that they must be slaughtered, otherwise they might give birth to more “little snakes.”

Moreover, many Israelis continue to post hate-filled comments against Palestinians on social media outlets, inciting to further violence and terror against our people.  After yesterday’s killing of four boys by the occupying Power, Israelis posted racist, vulgar rants all over social media, including, for example: “it’s a shame it wasn’t 400,000 dead kids”, “Have more of them killed like cockroaches, go away,” and “I hope all of you die, stinking people, garbage Arabs.”  We condemn in the strongest terms such incitement and provocations and calls for violence against the Palestinian people. We call on the international community to strongly condemn all such forms of Israeli incitement, as well as the hate crimes that continue to be perpetrated against Palestinian civilians, and to compel Israel to take action against perpetrators and bring them to justice.

While the Palestinian leadership welcomed the humanitarian cease-fire called for yesterday by the UN, more must be done to stop this aggression and alleviate the humanitarian hardships of the Palestinian people in Gaza.  We express hope that ongoing efforts by all concerned parties, with which President Mahmoud Abbas is actively engaging, will bring about a permanent cease-fire in order to avert the loss of more innocent human life.  At the same time, we reiterate our urgent call to the Security Council to uphold its Charter duties and undertake action to bring an end to this Israeli aggression and protect the Palestinian civilian population from Israel’s crimes.  Israel, the occupying Power, must be held accountable for all of its violations of international law and international humanitarian law.  Moreover, the 8-year-old illegal Israeli blockade of Gaza must be lifted in order to end the socio-economic and humanitarian deprivation of our people.  The international community, in particular the High Contracting Parties to the 4th Geneva Convention, is also duty bound to ensure compliance by the occupying Power.  The history of the Palestinian people has already been marked by indescribable trauma, terror and loss a result of Israel’s 47-year-old occupation and it is high time for the international community to rectify this injustice by acting with urgency and conscience to bring an end to the suffering of the Palestinian people at the hands of the occupying Power and allow them to achieve their rights and live as a free people in their own independent State.

This letter is in follow-up to our 507 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 14 July 2014 (A/ES-10/xxx-S/2014/xxx) 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.

 

14 July 2014 — Israel’s Brutal Aggression against the Palestinian People

Excellency,

I write to you to reiterate our urgent appeals that all possible measures be undertaken by the international community to provide immediate protection to the Palestinian civilian population throughout the entire Occupied State of Palestine, especially in the besieged Gaza Strip, against the ongoing savagery and military aggression being perpetrated by Israel, the occupying Power. The number and facts surrounding Israel’s latest war crimes and acts of State terrorism against the Palestinian people are beyond alarming.   [Read more…]