27 August 2014 – Devastation in Gaza and Ceasefire

Excellency,

While there is broad relief that a Palestinian-Israeli ceasefire agreement has been reached as a result of the mediation efforts of Egypt after nearly two months of the Israeli onslaught against the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip, it is our somber duty to draw the attention of the international community to the deep suffering of the many victims and the wanton destruction caused by this Israeli military aggression, which continued throughout the days the ceasefire was being negotiated.  Even in the final hours, Israel persisted with its lethal use of force – its method of choice regarding any and every issue concerning the Palestinian people under its occupation – inflicting more loss and pain on innocent Palestinian civilians.

At least 12 Palestinians were killed in the last 24 hours before the ceasefire agreement was announced. Among those killed by the occupying forces were: Samer Hamad and Mohammed Dhaher, two utility workers, who were killed by an Israeli airstrike on a vehicle belonging to the Gaza electric company; Mohammed Muin Abu Ajwa and Hassan Omar Al-Sawwaf, who were killed by an Israeli missile strike targeting central Gaza City; Yousef Ghannam, Mohammed Al-Ribati and Ahmed Jarbou, who were killed in an airstrike on Al-Jneinah neighborhood of Rafah; and Mohammed Al-Zaanin, who was killed in an attack on Beit Hanoun.  Also killed yesterday in an airstrike was another journalist, Abdallah Murtaja, whose death brings to 17 the number of journalists killed by the occupying forces in this aggression against Gaza.

The continuation of Israeli airstrikes Monday night and yesterday has brought the death toll to 2,143 Palestinians, the overwhelming majority civilians, including children and women, and ensured that the number of injured Palestinians surpassed 11,000 people, many of whom have been critically wounded by Israel’s lethal weaponry and are struggling for their lives, and many of whom will not survive without life-saving medical treatments not available in Gaza. [Read more...]

25 August 2014 – More Death and Destruction by Israel, the occupying Power

Excellency,

I am compelled to again draw your attention to the horrific situation in the Occupied State of Palestine, as we enter the 51st day of the Israeli military aggression against the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip. In the four days since my last letter to you, Israel, the occupying Power, has not relented with its airstrikes against densely-populated civilian areas in Gaza, intentionally killing and injuring more Palestinian civilians, destroying more homes and infrastructure and displacing hundreds of more families in addition to the over half-million civilians already displaced by this Israeli onslaught against our people, the majority of whom continue to shelter in UNRWA schools. Specifically, the level of premeditated death and destruction imposed on the Gaza Strip by the occupying Power has surpassed merely immoral, inhumane behavior and constitutes war crimes and crimes against humanity, for which Israel must be fully held accountable.

The stories, photos and social media voices coming out of Gaza are horrifying and even those cannot convey the extent of the misery being deliberately inflicted by Israel on the Palestinian civilian population in grave breach of international humanitarian law.   The figures since the start of this barbaric aggression in early July now stand as follows: at least 2,130 Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli occupying forces in Gaza, including an estimated 577 children, 261 women and 101 elderly people.

Almost 10,870 other Palestinians, most civilians, have been injured including some 3,300 children, more than 2,000 women and roughly 400 elderly people. Of those killed during the past seven weeks of Israeli bombardment of Gaza, it is estimated that 90 families have been decimated, with the killing of 530 family members. These shocking figures do not include the dead that have yet to be recovered from the rubble of destroyed homes and buildings struck by Israeli missiles and bombs and do not include those who continue to tragically die from the wounds sustained in Israeli attacks. [Read more...]

21 August 2014 – Israeli Assassinations and Killing of Civilians

Excellency,

In blatant contempt for the call reiterated yesterday by the United Nations Security Council for an immediate ceasefire, Israel, the occupying Power, continues its military airstrike attacks against the Gaza Strip, terrorizing the Palestinian civilian population as it wreaks further death, injury and destruction.  The Palestinian nation continues to grieve as death toll continues to rise and the lives of more innocent children, women, men and elderly persons are destroyed by this resumed Israeli onslaught.

Today, at least 29 more Palestinians have been deliberately and wantonly killed by the Israeli occupying forces in missile airstrikes, drone attacks and bombings on densely populated civilian areas. Israel has also resumed its illegal policy of targeted assassinations against Palestinians, boasting of its extrajudicial killing of several people in recent days in attacks that also killed many civilians, including multiple members of families.  Here, it must be recalled that the willful killing and injury of persons is considered among the grave breaches defined in Article 147 of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War.  For all of these war crimes and crimes against humanity for which the occupying Power must be held accountable.

Among those killed today by the Israeli occupying forces were four people killed by an Israeli drone-fired missile as they dug graves to bury their relatives at the Sheikh Radwan cemetery in Gaza City.  The victims were Mohammed Talal Abu Nahl, Rami Abu Nahl, Haitham Tafesh, and Abed Talal Shioukh.  Another four people, all members of Al-Reefi family, were killed in an Israeli airstrike on a garden near Al-Sunna Mosque in Gaza City.  The victims of this barbaric attack were Nasr Ziyad Al-Reefi and three children, Omar Nasr Al-Reefi, Abdallah Tareq Al-Reefi and Mohammed Ziyad Al-Reefi.  Today, the 9th member of Allouh family, Iman Allouh, died of wounds sustained in the attack on her family home yesterday, meeting the same tragic fate of many of the injured who have not survived these barbaric Israeli attacks. [Read more...]

20 August 2014 – Israeli Airstrikes and Killing of Civilians

Excellency,

Regrettably the cycle of violence has resumed and death and destruction are once again being meted out by Israel, the occupying Power, against the defenseless Palestinian civilian population in the Gaza Strip.

As indicated in my letter to you of 12 August 2014, even throughout the entire period of the temporary humanitarian ceasefire and during the course of negotiations in Cairo for a permanent ceasefire agreement, Israel has never abided by the ceasefire, persisting with flying its war planes above the Gaza Strip and with attacks by land and sea and now resuming its military airstrikes.

Over the past 24 hours, the Israeli occupying forces have carried out more than 60 military airstrikes against densely populated civilian areas in Gaza, killing at least 24 Palestinians, including children and women, and injuring more than 110 people.  Among those murdered by Israel in this onslaught were 6 members of Al-Dalou family, including Mustafa Rabah Al-Dalou, age 14, his mother, Wafaa Hussein Al-Dalou, and Ahmad Rabah Al-Dalou, age 20 when Israeli warplanes struck their home in the Sheikh Radwan neighborhood of Gaza City. Also killed in that strike were Widad Al-Deif, age 27, and her 7-month old baby, Ali. The occupying forces also bombed the home of Allouh family, killing 8 members of the family, including children, women and men, and injuring dozens of others.  The dead included Mohammed Allouh and his two brothers, Raafat and Ahmed, as well as the wife of Raafat and their four young children.  Also killed in Israeli airstrikes were a two-year old girl, Nour Mohammed Abu Hasira, in Al-Zeitoun neighborhood east of Gaza City and Mohammed Ahmed Al-Abeet, age 16, and Sahir Al-Abeet, age 11, near Deir Al-Balah in central Gaza. The intensity of the Israeli missile strikes and bombings has again flattened homes and more civilians are feared dead as rescue personnel continue attempts to recover bodies trapped under the rubble. [Read more...]

12 August 2014 – Israeli Brutal Actions and Violations Against the Palestinian People

Excellency,

The situation in the Occupied State of Palestine, including East Jerusalem, remains extremely critical as Israel, the occupying Power, persists with its violations of international law, including humanitarian and human rights law, causing the continued deterioration of the situation in all aspects, including the continued suffering of the Palestinian people under its occupation, and further deepening despair and inflaming heightened tensions.

As you are well aware, the situation is particularly grave in the Gaza Strip, where the Palestinian civilian population who have already suffered inordinately under Israel’s 8-year inhumane blockade is finding it nearly impossible to cope with the massive humanitarian disaster inflicted upon them by the 36-day Israeli military onslaught. In this regard, despite the fragile new 72-hour ceasefire that went into force midnight on Monday, 11 August  in Gaza, the massive devastation, destruction, trauma and havoc wreaked by the occupying Power will make the task of recovery in the next coming days and weeks a grueling and painful experience.  [Read more...]

4 August 2014 – 28th Day of Israel’s Aggression Against the Palestinian People

Excellency,

The Palestinian death toll continues to rise as Israel, the occupying Power, continues to trap, traumatize and terrorize the more than 1.8 million Palestinians living in the besieged Gaza Strip. The tragic and continuous climb in the number of casualties is reflective of the brutality and indiscriminate nature of Israel’s ongoing onslaught against the Palestinian population in Occupied Gaza, in grave breach of all norms and rules of international humanitarian law and human rights law. The list of war crimes, crimes against humanity and acts of State terrorism by the occupying Power against the defenseless Palestinian civilians captive under its occupation is growing by the minute. It goes without saying that the Palestinian leadership, on behalf of its people, will exert every possible effort to ensure that those responsible for these heinous crimes will be held accountable and brought to justice.  [Read more...]

1 August 2014 – Israeli Aggression and Collapse of Humanitarian Ceasefire

Excellency,

It is with deep regret and strongest condemnation that I must inform you that, despite the efforts made for and the assurances given regarding the 72-hour humanitarian cease-fire that was jointly announced last night by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and United States Secretary of State John Kerry, Israel, the occupying Power, has continued with its killing spree against Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip, killing today more than 130 people, including many children and women.  At least 28 more bodies have been recovered from under the rubble of Palestinian homes, adding to the escalating toll of death.

Although the ceasefire was to go into effect today at 8:00am (Palestine time), the situation on the ground has further unraveled as the Israeli occupying forces have persisted with the wanton killing of civilians and the destruction of civilian homes and properties, particular in the south of Gaza in Rafah and Khan Younis, and the Israeli government has issued threats of more “crushing” reprisals.  Among those murdered today by the occupying forces were 9 people, all from the same family (Al-Farra family) who were killed in their home in Khan Younis by Israeli tank shelling. Just hours after the above took place, the occupying Power, declared that the ceasefire was effectively over due to the claimed capture of an Israeli occupying soldier in Gaza. Here, it must be noted that, even after the occupying Power declared the cease fire to be over, the Palestinian side in its entirety, reaffirmed their respect for the ceasefire and President Mahmoud Abbas reaffirmed his commitment to dispatch a delegation representing all Palestinians, to head to Cairo to engage in discussions to negotiate a durable, comprehensive ceasefire to bring an end to this horrific violence and to lift the siege of Gaza and address the longstanding, underlying causes of the current crisis. [Read more...]

30 July 2014 – Israeli War Crimes in Gaza

Excellency,

It is with A humanitarian ceasefire of 72 hours was supposed to begin today at 8:00 AM. Israel, the occupying power, continued its military operations in several areas, including in Rafah, where Israel killed at least 35 Palestinians and injured 100. Right before the ceasefire Israel killed at least 16 Palestinians, as right after the ceasefire took place 4 Palestinians (all of them civilians) were killed by Israeli Forces. It is estimated that 1469 Palestinians were killed and 8400 injured by Israeli Forces before the Rafah massacre.  At least 40 Palestinians were killed after the ceasefire took place. The humanitarian crisis is all over the Gaza Strip, and in particular the eastern side that has been occupied by Israeli Forces (44% of the total size of the Gaza Strip). Effects of Israeli bombardments are reflected in the lack of drinking water and the complete or partial interruption of electricity. Hospitals and medical centers continue to be targeted by Israeli forces. UN buildings sheltering refugees continued to be threatened by Israeli Forces, as well as the Roman Catholic Church in Gaza and other centers hosting refugees.  Over 250,000 people have been forcibly displaced. [Read more...]

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...]