Letter to UN: You cannot remain silent!

PNN/Bethlehem/

Charge d’Affaires of the Permanent Observer Mission of the State of Palestine to the United Nations, Feda Abdelhady-Nasser, yesterday released a very strongly-worded letter condemning the UN Security Council’s silence on crimes committed by Israel in the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt), and urging the Council to demand that Israel act in accordance with international law.

In the letter, addressed to H.E. Gerard Jacobus van Bohemen, President of the UN Security Council, Nasser drew attention to the fact that the situation of the Palestinian people under Israeli occupation remains dire. She attributed this to Israel’s ‘grave violation of international humanitarian law and human rights law’, to its ‘blatant rejection of peace’, and the ‘devastating military aggression against the Palestinian people’ that Israel launched in the summer of last year.

Nasser reported Israeli policies aimed at controlling ‘every aspect of Palestinian life’ in a process of subjugation, collective punishment and dehumanization affecting every social demographic of the Palestinian civilian population- ‘whether children, women or men, elderly or disabled, prisoners or detainees, refugees or displaced’.

Nasser recalled the ‘heinous’ crime of last year when Mohammed Abu Khdeir (16) was ‘abducted from the street outside his home…beaten and driven to a forest, where he was burned alive by a gang of terrorist Israeli settlers’. She expressed her disgust at the impunity that the Israeli government has allow Israeli setters who have ‘so vilely and continuously assaulted Palestinian civilians’, as well as solidarity with ‘Mohammed’s parents in demanding accountability for the killing of their child’.

She reiterated calls for Israel to be included on the list of violators of child rights during armed conflict in the face of ‘ongoing violations and crimes against our innocent and defenseless children’.

In a section of the letter concerning civilian casualties caused by Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF), Nasser spoke out against the death of Abdullah Eyad Ghneimat (22) after he was shot and run over by an Israeli military jeep which then flipped onto him. He was left, bleeding to death, under the jeep for three hours. His back was crushed and his leg completely severed, but the Israeli soldiers obstructed emergency assistance. Nasser also spoke of the death of 3-year-old Yasser Shammas in a settler hit and run attack, as well as the beating of Shadi al-Ghobashi after he pleaded to the IOF to stop firing teargas and end his children’s suffering.

Nasser documented the continuation of the IOF’s use of live ammunition against Palestinian citizens, including children, within the West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza and the seas off the coast of Gaza. In the last three months, 13 Palestinians have been killed in IOF and settler attacks- the latest being Mohammed Hani al-Kasaba, who was shot at Qalandia today.

She condemned the impunity for such crimes, saying that it fostered a ‘cynical disregard for Palestinian life and encourages the perpetration of more crimes’ against the Palestinian people.

In her letter to the UN Security Council, Nasser stated that in the last 3 months again, approximately 1,118 Palestinians, including children, had been arrested and detained. Just from June 15-28, 156 Palestinians were detained during a number of military operations in the West Bank.

She said:

“This pattern of targeting Palestinian children, through killing, maiming and detention, clearly aims to disrupt the Palestinian family and community life, and depriving Palestinian children and youth from development and education destroying the hopes for a viable Palestinian society.

“We reiterate our demand for an end to Israel’s arrest of Palestinian civilians, an end to their abuse and torture in captivity,and for the release of all Palestinians imprisoned and detained by Israel and respect for international humanitarian and human rights law”.

She added that the suffering of Palestinian detainee Khader Adnan (37), caused by his repeated imprisonment in Israeli prisons under administrative detention orders, had drawn attention to the ‘appalling injustice and abuse by the occupying Power against the Palestinian people’.

The ‘illegal blockade of the Gaza Strip in flagrant collective punishment of the 1.8 million Palestinians there’ was also condemned, and attention brought to the challenges faced by UNRWA (Palestinian refugee aid organization) caused by an unprecedented funding crisis.

Nasser spoke in her letter of the continued expansion in the West Bank of Israeli settlements, which are illegal under international law. She said that these settlements fragment Palestinian society and lead to the forced displacement of Palestinian civilians, as well as the destruction of land and natural resourses- including the uprooting of around 20,000 five-year-old olive saplings near Tubas city on the grounds that the land is a designated firing zone for the IOF.

She concluded her letter by urging the UN Security Council not to remain ‘silent’ in the fact of these ‘flagrant’ violations of basic human rights. She demanded that the Security Council and the international community ‘act collectively to ensure de-escalation of this grave situation’.

“The Palestinian people, along with people across the region and around the globe, continue to look to the Council to uphold its Charter duties, uphold the rule of law and uphold human rights in order to establish and preserve peace and security in our world in all cases without exception.”