02 December 2015
Palestine at the UN
Since the beginning of October 2015, we have written numerous letters to document the dangerous and rising tensions in Occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of Occupied Palestine due to the illegal actions, provocations and incitement by Israel, the occupying Power, including by extremist Israeli settlers and religious zealots, against the Palestinian people, their land and their holy places. In what has now become a weekly letter, we write to Your Excellency to alert the international community to the ongoing tensions and instability and the suffering, every single day, by Palestinian civilians, including children, from the occupation’s daily subjugation, oppression and aggression.
In yet another glaring example of Israeli impunity and disrespect for Palestinian life, we must place on record the Palestinian leadership’s complete condemnation of the suspension of the conviction of the Israeli settler terrorist who, along with two other terrorist settlers, abducted, beat and burnt-alive 16-year-old Mohammed Khdeir on 1 July 2014 in Occupied East Jerusalem. In this connection, yesterday, 30 November, the occupying Power’s court suspended the conviction of the main suspect in the murder of Mohammed based on a so-called last-minute psychiatric evaluation claiming that he was not responsible for his actions at the time of the murder. Mohammed’s family, who continue to fight for justice for their son, stated that such an appalling, unjust verdicthad forced them to relive the day he was burnt alive had forced them to relive the day he was burnt alive forced them to relive the day Mohammed was burned alive all over again. Clearly, such impunity for grotesque acts of murder such as the murder of Mohammed will only embolden other acts of terror by settlers against Palestinians as was the case with the burning of the Dawabsha family in the village of Duma on 31 July 2015 by terrorist settlers. The international community must demand justice for the lives of Palestinian civilians, for which this cruel, illegal occupation has no respect whatsoever.
The disregard for Palestinian life by the occupying Power and its terrorist settlers is further evidenced by the rising number of deaths among Palestinian civilians. The Palestinian Ministry of Health has documented that Israeli occupying forces and settlers have killed 108 Palestinians, among them 24 children and 5 women, since the start of October 2015. Moreover, in this period, 4,350 Palestinians have been shot and wounded with live and rubber-coated steel bullets and 8,700 persons have been treated for excessive tear gas inhalation, while 423 were injured in other ways, including assaults by the occupying forces and burns from tear gas canisters.
Also, Israeli military raids continue to be carried out with deliberate objective of abducting, arresting and detaining Palestinian civilians. Countless so-called “search and arrest operations” have been carried out by the Israeli occupying forces since the beginning of October 2015 in cities, towns and villages throughout Occupied Palestine, including East Jerusalem. In such raids, the occupying forces routinely ransack homes, terrorize families in the dead of night, and forcibly detain, interrogate and assault Palestinians, including children. During the month of November 2015, Israeli occupying forces have detained more than 900 Palestinian civilians. This brings the number of Palestinian civilians arrested by Israeli occupying forces since 1 October 2015 to 2,400 persons, half of them children.
Moreover, besides Israeli policies and practices that lead to the death of more and more Palestinian civilians, the occupying Power, continues with its unlawful settlement enterprise, which includes the destruction, theft and confiscation of Palestinian lands and properties, the construction and expansion of both settlements and the Wall, as well as the forced displacement of Palestinian families. Just today, the occupying Power announced the decision to confiscate 244 dunums of Palestinian-owned lands in the towns of Surif and Jaba’a, northwest of Al-Khalil. In contempt of the will of the international community, and in blatant rejection of the two-State solution on the basis of the pre-1967 borders, Israel is entrenching its nearly-half-century colonization and occupation of the Palestinian land, in grave breach of international humanitarian law, as well as international criminal law as articulated in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, with total impunity.
While impossible to record every crime by the Israeli occupying forces and terrorist settlers against the Palestinian people, the list below reflects some of the many crimes of the recent period:
- 25 November 2015:
- Occupying forces detained 35 Palestinians, including children, in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
- Occupying forces razed a street, which serves local Bedouin Palestinians, to the east of Tubas in northern Jordan Valley.
- Israeli settlers and rabbis broke into Al-Haram Al-Sharif in Occupied East Jerusalem, inflaming tensions at the holy site.
- Mohammed Al-Shobaki (age 21) succumbed to wounds sustained after being shot by the Israeli occupying forces, who denied access of medical teams to the injured youth, leaving him bleeding on the ground near Al-Fawwar refugee camp to the south of Al-Khalil.
- A Palestinian boy, Ibrahim Daoud (age 16) succumbed to serious wounds sustained when an Israeli soldier’s bullet penetrated his heart two weeks ago in Deir Ghassaneh, south of Ramallah.
- 26 November 2015:
- Yihya Taha (age 21) was shot in the head and killed by occupying forces during an arrest raid in Qatanna, northwest of Jerusalem. He was shot and left on the ground bleeding for more than an hour-and-a-half while Palestinian ambulances were denied access to him until he died.
- Samer Sarisi (age 51) was shot and killed by occupying forces at the Zatara checkpoint, south of Nablus.
- Khaled Mahmoud Al-Jawabreh (age 19) was shot and killed by occupying forces in Al-Arrub refugee camp, north of Al-Khalil.
- 27 November 2015:
- Fadi Mohammed Mahmoud Khasib (age 25) was shot and killed by an Israeli settler near the illegal “Kfar Adumim” settlement, northeast of Jerusalem
- Omar Arafat Issa Al-Zaaqiq (age 19) was shot and killed by Israeli occupying forces in Beit Ummar north of Al-Khalil.
- 28 November 2015:
- Israeli occupying forces fire on Palestinian fishermen off the coast of Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip.
- 29 November 2015:
- A Palestinian child, Ayman Sameeh Al-Abbasi (age 17) was shot dead by occupying forces in Ras Al-Amoud area of Silwan.
- The occupying Power issued a demolition order for two apartments (third and fourth stories) in a 5-story building in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, claiming they had been built without the required so-called “permits”. The family was given two weeks to demolish the apartments themselves or face demolition costs, a penalty fine, and the owner would be jailed for four months.
- Bassim Abdul-Rahman Salah (age 38) was shot and killed by Israeli occupying forces at Al-Wadi Street inside the Old City of Jerusalem.
- Israeli occupying forces issued an order for the closure of “Dream” radio station in Al-Khalil, the third news outlet to be shut by the occupying Power this month, and stormed the station, destroying equipment and damaging offices.
- The occupying Power notified Palestinians in Al-Baqaa, east of Al-Khalil, that they will demolish the local charity “Al-Nour Cooperative Society” and the house of Abdullah Jaber and his family.
- Israel issued administrative detention orders to 23 Palestinians.
- 30 November 2015:
- The occupying Power issued and/or extended administrative detention orders, without charge or trial, against 37 Palestinian detainees in Israeli jails.
- Israeli occupying forces raided Al-Hadidiya area of the Jordan Valley and seized a number of residential tents given by the Palestinian Red Crescent (PRC) and the Ministry of Local Government to local Palestinian Bedouins. They also seized water pumps, used for agricultural purposes, in localities in the northern Jordan Valley.
- Extremist Israeli settlers from the nearby illegal “Gush Etzion” settlement sprayed anti-Arab graffiti on a car near Bethlehem, in which they pledged to “kill” Palestinians in the area. They also hung the Israeli flag on vine trees in land belonging to local Palestinians.
- 1 December 2015:
- Ma’moun Al-Khatib (age 16) was shot dead by occupying forces near the illegal “Gush Etzion” settlement, south of Bethlehem.
- A young Palestinian girl, Maram Hasoneh (age 19), was fatally shot in the head with a live bullet fired by Israeli occupying forces at a military checkpoint to the east of Tulkarem.
- Occupying forces opened fire on Palestinian farmers to the east of Gaza City.
- At least 28 Palestinians were detained by occupying forces from across the West Bank, including six from Jerusalem, mostly during predawn and night raids.
The incidents mentioned above are only a few of the countless violations and crimes being perpetrated daily by Israel, the occupying Power, against the Palestinian people. Israel’s belligerent military occupation is driven and sustained only by such illegal policies and practices that affect every single Palestinian, child, woman and man, living under occupation, whether it be in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, or in the Gaza Strip where 1.8 million Palestinians continue to live in the world’s largest prison suffering massive collective punishment tantamount to a war crime. The international community, including the Security Council, must confront this unlawful situation and cannot continue to turn a blind eye to this injustice and blatant threat to international peace and security.
The failure to enact consequences for Israeli violations and contempt has clearly led to a situation of total impunity that has made more and more implausible the achievement of the two-State solution, despite the firm Palestinian and global commitment to this solution. We thus reiterate our urgent appeal to the Security Council to act forthwith to uphold its Charter duties and undertake the necessary action to protect the Palestinian civilian population and to bring this illegal Israeli aggression and occupation to an end, in line with the relevant provisions and principles of international law, including the principle of the inadmissibility of territory by force and the right of peoples to self-determination, and in implementation of the relevant United Nations resolutions aimed at justly resolving this tragic conflict and ensuring the fulfilment rights and legitimate national aspirations of the Palestinian people, including to freedom and independence.
This letter is in follow-up to our 566 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 24 November 2015 (A/ES-10/703- S/2015/907) 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