Palestinian Chargé d’affaires address situation in Palestine to UN bodies

Headquarters of the United Nations in New York

Somaia Barghouti, the Chargé d’affaires a.i. of the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine to the United Nations sent identical letters to the Secretary-General and the President of the Security Council describing the situation on the ground in the occupied Palestinian territories. She wrote that the situation “continues to deteriorate”. This letter is one of 186 letters sent to the Secretary-General and the President of the Security Council, since 28 September 2000. These letters constitute a basic record of human rights violations and breaches of international humanitarian law since September 2000.

Identical letters dated 7 April 2004 from the Chargé d’affaires a.i. of the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General and the President of the Security Council

The situation on the ground in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, continues to deteriorate as Israel, the occupying Power, continues to commit war crimes, State terrorism and systematic human rights violations against the Palestinian people. In addition to its ongoing illegal policies and practices, the occupying Power continues to take measures and actions intended to further inflame and escalate the cycle of violence and completely undermine any efforts to calm the situation and bring about a return to negotiations between the two sides.

In this regard, following the extrajudicial killing two weeks ago of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin in Gaza City by helicopter missile fire, Israeli government and military officials have made repeated statements alluding to the potential for similar action to be taken against the elected President of the Palestinian Authority, President Yasser Arafat. Threats to assassinate the elected leader of the Palestinian people, who for more than two years now has been confined to his headquarters in Ramallah under Israeli siege, have even been made by the Israeli Prime Minister himself, who, it should be recalled, boasted about his personal involvement in overseeing the operation in which Sheikh Yassin was assassinated and vowed in the immediate aftermath that the illegal practice of extrajudicial executions against Palestinian leaders would continue. While similar threats against the safety and well-being of President Arafat have been made by the Israeli government, in the current context, such contemptuous statements and threats must be taken seriously when issued by a government that continues to act with flagrant impunity and blatant disregard for any norms or principles of international law, including international humanitarian law.

At the same time, as noted above, the Israeli occupying forces continue to kill and wound Palestinian civilians almost daily as the occupying Power continues to pursue its illegal policies and practices throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem. At least 23 Palestinians, including several children, have been killed by the occupying forces since our last letter to you. Indeed, the occupying forces continue to use excessive, indiscriminate and lethal force against the Palestinian civilian population, including against unarmed civilians demonstrating against the occupying Power. Today, at least 15 Palestinians were wounded by tear gas and rubber bullets fired upon them by the Israeli occupying forces as they protested peacefully against Israel’s ongoing construction of the Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and tried to prevent the demolition of a home and the uprooting of olive trees in the village of Biddu, northwest of Jerusalem. Severe restrictions on the freedom of movement of persons and goods also continue to be imposed by the occupying Power, with complete closures imposed on the Occupied Palestinian Territory during the recent Jewish holiday, gravely obstructing the provision of humanitarian assistance and severely exacerbating the socioeconomic hardships being faced by the Palestinian civilian population.

This letter is in follow-up to our previous 185 letters to you regarding the ongoing crisis in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, since 28 September 2000. These letters, dated from 29 September 2000 (A/55/432-S/2000/921) to 22 March 2004 (A/ES-10/262-S/2004/231), constitute a basic record of the crimes committed by the Israeli occupying forces against the Palestinian people since September 2000. For all of these war crimes, State terrorism and systematic human rights violations committed against the Palestinian people, Israel, the occupying Power, must be held accountable and the perpetrators must be brought to justice.

Accordingly, in follow-up to the above-mentioned letters, I regret to inform you that, since my last letter to you, at least 23 Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli occupying forces, raising the total number of martyrs killed since September 2000 to 2,881 Palestinians. (The names of the martyrs that have been identified are contained in the annex to the present letter.)

I would be grateful if you would arrange to have the text of the present letter and its annex distributed as a document of the tenth emergency special session of the General Assembly, under agenda item 5, and of the Security Council.

(Signed) Somaia Barghouti
Chargé d’affaires a.i.

Annex to the identical letters dated 7 April 2004 from the Chargé d’affaires a.i. of the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General and the President of the Secretary-General

Names of martyrs killed by the Israeli occupying forces in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem* (Tuesday, 23 March 2004, to Wednesday, 7 April 2004)

Tuesday, 23 March 2004

1. Abdullah Hassan Al-Mugheer (18 years old)
2. Mohammed Ahmed Murshid Al-Qadi
3. Yasser Izzat Sultan Edwan

Wednesday, 24 March 2004

4. Ibrahim Khalil Ibrahim Al-Ghandoor
5. Humam Mohammed Abu Al-Omrain
6. Atef Mohammed Awaja (18 years old)

Friday, 26 March 2004

7. Zakaria Mohammed Mahmoud Abu Zur (18 years old)
8. Issaq Fayez Nassar (18 years old)
9. Ahmed Nasser Kamil Abed
10. Mahmoud Omar Al-Zaghari

Saturday, 27 March 2004

11. Khalid Maher Saleem Walweel (7 years old)

Sunday, 28 March 2004

12. Jamil Talab Odeh Atil

Wednesday, 31 March 2004

13. Mahmoud Khamis Abu Odeh

Friday, 2 April 2004

14. Nassar Issa Ibrahim Hajahjeh (16 years old)
15. Rami Khalil Mahmoud Irheim
16. Mohammed Azmi Abed (18 years old)

Saturday, 3 April 2004

17. Mohammed Shaheen

Sunday, 4 April 2004

18. Rami Mohammed Ismail Ihdeib (18 years old)

Monday, 5 April 2004

19. Adham Abdelqader Abu Hashim
20. Mohammed Salameh Abu Ruweida (18 years old)
21. Imad Adnan Irjoudi (18 years old)
22. Mohammed Ziyad Abu Samhadaneh

Wednesday, 7 April 2004

23. Ibrahim Khalid Mohammed Abu Sreis (17 years old)

* The total number of Palestinian martyrs killed by Israeli occupying forces since 28 September 2000 is 2,881.

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