Palestinian UN observer sends letter to Kofi Annan and Security Council

Nasser Al-Kidwa, Permanent Observer of the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine, addressing the Council at last week’s meeting. (UN/Eskinder Debebe)

Identical letters dated 7 October 2004 from the Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General and the President of the Security Council

The bloodletting in the Occupied Palestinian Territory persists as Israel, the occupying Power, continues to commit war crimes, State terrorism and systematic human rights violations against the Palestinian people. In absolute disregard for the international outcry and in grave breach of international law, the occupying Power continues to order its forces to launch violent military attacks against the Palestinian population in the Northern Gaza Strip area. Scores more of Palestinian civilians, including innocent and defenceless children, continue to be killed, maimed and wounded by the Israeli occupying forces as a result of the continued, deliberate use of excessive, indiscriminate and lethal force against the civilian population.

Since my last letter to you three days ago, 22 more Palestinians have been killed by the occupying forces. Children are being killed, fathers and sons are being killed, homes are being demolished, and families and lives are being destroyed as the occupying Power continues on its rampage through the Gaza Strip. Just this morning, the Israeli occupying forces killed two 15 year-old Palestinian boys, Ra’ed Ziyad Abu Zeid and Sulieman Al-Abed Abu Fuol, who were walking to their school in Beit Lahiya when hit by tank shelling. The killing of these boys raises the total number of Palestinian children killed by Israel, the occupying Power, in the period of only one week to 26 children , providing yet further proof of Israel’s blatant and cruel disregard for the lives of the civilian population.

Among the many others killed in the past few days have also been two young Palestinian girls.

Islam Maher Dweidar, age 16, was killed by a bullet to the head as she baked bread with her mother in the yard of her home in Jabaliya on Monday, 4 October. Her killing was followed by the brutal killing of Iman Samir Al-Hams, aged 13, who was shot to death by the Israeli occupying forces as she walked to school on Tuesday, 5 October, in the Rafah area. The girl, wearing her school uniform and carrying her backpack, was walking to the school with two of her classmates. When shots were fired, Iman tried to run away but was gunned down by the occupying forces. Her body was left on the ground for nearly two hours until the occupying forces allowed access to Palestinian rescue workers, who found her body riddled with 20 bullets.

In yet another attack, a father and son, Hamdan Baraka Obeid, aged 50, and Hamoudeh Hamdan Baraka Obeid, aged 20, were killed yesterday while they were sleeping in their home when the Israeli occupying forces fired tank shells in the area, which hit their house. Eight other family members, including several small children, ranging in ages from 6 months to 12 years, were also wounded in that attack. These human tragedies are only a few of examples of the dozens of civilian casualties caused by the military attacks that the Israeli Army Chief of Staff, Moshe Yaalon, deems a “success” and declares will continue.

In addition, the occupying Power continues to commit all other illegal practices, including extrajudicial killings, arrests and home demolitions, throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory. In this regard, claiming to be targeting “militants” for death, the Israeli occupying forces fired a missile at a car travelling in the Shati refugee camp near Gaza City on Tuesday, killing two Palestinian men. This was followed by a helicopter missile strike in the Jabaliya refugee camp that killed another three Palestinian men and wounded at least seven other people.

The harrowing images emanating from the Jabaliya refugee camp and the Beit Hanoun area in recent days are graphic illustrations of the horror, suffering and hardship being wrought by the Israeli occupying forces upon the Palestinian people, who, despite the pleas for help, have once again been left at the mercy of the occupying Power and without the protection of international humanitarian law. Official Israeli declarations, including by the Prime Minister himself, that military attacks in the area will continue to be stepped up, promise to inflict yet more grief, devastation and turmoil on the defenceless Palestinian civilian population, hundreds of whom are fleeing their homes in a desperate search for safety.

Undoubtedly, the failure of the Security Council two days ago — due once again to the veto of a permanent member — to demand an immediate cessation of all military operations in the Northern Gaza Strip area and the withdrawal of the occupying forces from the area, has allowed Israel, the occupying Power, to continue to act with impunity, in total disregard for international law, including international humanitarian law, while it continues to pursue its savage military campaign against the Palestinian people. The Council’s paralysis and the inaction of the international community can only lead to greater loss of human life and more destruction throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, as Israel continues to believe that it can act without restraint against the Palestinian people under its brutal occupation, never to be held accountable for its grave transgressions of the law.

This letter is in follow-up to our previous 204 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 4 October 2004 (A/ES-10/284-S/2004/782) constitute a basic record of the crimes committed by Israel, the occupying Power, 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, it is my regret to inform you that, since my last letter to you, at least 22 more Palestinians, including children, have been killed by the Israeli occupying forces, raising the total number of martyrs killed since September 2000 to 3,365. (The names of the martyrs that have been identified are listed in the annex to the present letter.)

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

(Signed ) Nasser Al-Kidwa, Ambassador, Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations

Annex to the identical letters dated 7 October 2004 from the Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General and the President of the Security Council

Names of martyrs killed by the Israeli occupying forces in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem* (Monday, 4 October 2004, to Thursday, 7 October 2004)

    Monday, 4 October 2004
  1. Islam Maher Dweidar (16 years old)
  2. Luay Ayman Al-Najjar (4 years old)
    Tuesday, 5 October 2004
  3. Iman Samir Al-Hams (13 years old)
  4. Fawaz Mohammed Farhan
  5. Ibrahim Tawabkeh
  6. Musa Mohammed Hamed Al-Jibari
  7. Wafi Salem Eiseleh
  8. Abdallah Nadi Dardouneh
  9. Saeed Jamal Al-Majdalawi
  10. Husam Mohammed Al-Ras
  11. Musa Abdelhai Darwish
  12. Hassan Abdelhai Darwish
    Wednesday, 6 October 2004
  13. Hamdan Baraka Obeid
  14. Hamoudeh Hamdan Baraka Obeid
  15. Abdallah Hussein Yousef Qahman (18 years old)
  16. Mohammed Basem Rushdi Radad (17 years old)
  17. Rami Muheisen
  18. Eyad Sayed Abu Al-Atta
  19. Ali Khaled Al-Jarou
    Thursday, 7 October 2004
  20. Ra’ed Ziyad Abu Zeid (15 years old)
  21. Sulieman Al-Abed Abu Fuol (15 years old)
  22. Mohammed Touhami Abu Seif (16 years old)

* The total number of Palestinian martyrs killed by the Israeli occupying forces since 28 September 2000 is 3,365.

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