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. 

The destabilizing impact of this Israeli military aggression has reached beyond the Gaza Strip into the West Bank, where outrage at the Israeli attacks on Gaza and deep resentment have also gripped the population, leading to widespread protest and unrest, including in Occupied East Jerusalem, where the occupying Power continued to severely restrict the entry of Palestinian worshippers to Al-Haram Al-Sharif, even during this Muslim holy month of Ramadan.  Yesterday, tens of thousands of Palestinians took part in peaceful civilian demonstration, marching from Ramallah to the Qalandiya checkpoint imposed by Israel between the city and Jerusalem.  At Qalandiya, as in other areas of the West Bank, including in Bethlehem, Al-Khalil, Beit Ummar and Nablus, demonstrators were met with excessive, lethal force by the Israeli occupying forces, resulting in the killing of several Palestinian civilians and the injury of scores of people.

Among the casualties of Israel’s brutality in the West Bank were: Hashem Abu Maria (age 47), Tayeb Abu Shehada (age 22), Sultan Al-Zaaqiq (age 30), Mohammed Eyad Al-Araj (age 19), Abdelhamid Ahmed Ebreighith (39), Mahmoud Saleh Hamamrah (36), Majd Sufyan (age 27), and Eid Rabah Fdeilat (age 28).  Also killed was also a Palestinian youth, Khalid Azmi Yousef (age 18), who was shot by settler terrorists that fired from their car at a crowd protesting near Nablus.

Among those killed in the ongoing Israeli airstrikes and bombings in Gaza were:

  • Jihad Hassan Hamad (age 20) was killed in an Israeli bombing in Rafah.
  • Imad Abu Kamil (age 20) was killed in an Israeli attack on Al-Mughraqa in central Gaza. Also killed in an Israeli strike in the area were Tariq Zahad (22) and Samer Abu Kamil (age 26).
  • Maram Fayyad, a 26-year old woman, died of her injuries from an Israeli attack in Deir Al-Balah.
  • Shayma Hussein Abdelqader Qannan (age 23) was killed in Israeli shelling on her family home in Deir Balah.  She was pregnant and doctors at Al-Aqsa hospital were able to save her baby.
  • Rasmiya Salama, a 24-year old woman, died of injuries sustained in an attack in Khan Younis.
  • Two more bodies were pulled from the rubble of destroyed homes in Al-Zeitoun neighborhood of Gaza City, Muhammed Yassin Siyam and Rami Muhammed Siyam.
  • Salah Ahmad Abu Hassanain (age 45) and his two sons, Abdel Aziz (age 14) and Abdelhadi (age 9), were killed in an Israeli airstrike on their home in Rafah.
  • Walid Said Al-Harazin (age 5) was killed by Israeli fire in Al-Shujaiya neighborhood.
  • Najat Ibrahim al-Najjar, a 35-year woman, was killed and five others were injured when their house was targeted in Khan Younis.
  • The body of Iyad Nasser Sharab was pulled from under the rubble of his house that was targeted in an Israeli strike in southern Gaza.
  • Sharif Muhammad Hassan (age 27), Muhammad Khalil Hamad (age 18), and Mamdouh Ibrahim Al-Shawwaf (age 25) were killed in Israeli shelling on Khan Younis.

Israel’s blatant disregard for Palestinian life is repeated proven in the growing list of casualties resulting from its wanton use of force against the civilian population that the occupying Power is obligated to protect and yet persistently causes harm and suffering to.  We thus reiterate our calls on the international community to urgently act to compel Israel to this onslaught against the Palestinian people and act to provide urgently-needed protection to them.

The Security Council, in line with its Charter duties, must address this crisis, which clearly constitutes a threat to international peace and security.  Ongoing diplomatic efforts in the region do not absolve the Council of its own responsibilities.  The Council adopt a resolution that demands, inter alia, an end to the Israeli aggression in Gaza; demands respect of international law, including for protection of civilians and for an end to the collective punishment of our people, including an end to the illegal Israeli blockade of Gaza; and calls for the provision of emergency assistance to alleviate the humanitarian crisis so ruthlessly inflicted on the Palestinian civilian population.  We call on the Security Council to shoulder its responsibilities in order to save human lives and avert further devastation and destabilization of this already-grave situation.

This letter is in follow-up to our 511 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 24 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.

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

Dr. Riyad Mansour

Ambassador, Permanent Observer

of the State of Palestine to the United Nations