1 October 2004
Secretary-General of the United Nations
United Nations Plaza, New York Letter to United Nations Secretary-General, Calling for Immediate Intervention to Halt Israeli Violations in the Gaza Strip We are writing to your Excellency to express our great concern regarding the escalation of human rights violations perpetrated by the Israeli occupying forces in the occupied Palestinian territories (OPT), particularly and most recently in the north of the Gaza Strip.
Over the past few days, the Israeli forces have launched repeated massive military offensives and incursions throughout this area under security pretexts.
Innocent Palestinian civilians are losing their lives, their homes and their dignity due to continued disproportionate, indiscriminate military action and measures of collective punishment.
Al Mezan Center for Human Rights believes that such an escalation requires your urgent attention and, consequently, calls for immediate action by the United Nations to bring an immediate halt to this escalation of human rights violations in the Gaza Strip.
Specifically, we renew our appeal to you as Secretary General of the United Nations to mobilize the international community and dispatch an international force to the OPT to put an end to the Israeli occupation.
In deliberate breach of the principle of proportionality required by international humanitarian law, the Israeli occupation forces have substantially escalated the use of force in the north of the Gaza Strip on the occasion of a number of ground, aerial and maritime attacks during the past few months.
The escalation has been at its peak since Tuesday 28 September 2004, as these forces have carried out a wide-scale incursion into the north of Gaza, which consist of densely populated residential areas.
Overall, since 28 September 2004, over 44 Palestinians have been killed and over 214 have been injured.
Most of the victims were unarmed civilians, and 17 were children.
In addition, numerous houses and properties were also destroyed during this period, leaving hundreds of Palestinians homeless.
Moreover, these figures continue to increase drastically as we write to you.
Yesterday the Israeli forces shelled a crowd of people in Jabalia refugee camp and killed 10 people.
Al Mezan Center for Human Rights is especially alarmed by the massive collective punishment of the civilian population of the Gaza Strip in general and the northern Gaza area in particular.
Within the past three days most of this area has suffered continued cut-offs of running water and electricity as the Israeli forces bulldozed main water lines and water wells.
We are also extremely concerned by the excessive use of force, especially the use of air force and heavy tanks in densely populated areas, which has left dozens killed and injured.
Moreover, the recent statements made by Israeli officials have indicated military operations in the Gaza Strip will continue and are likely to result in more loss of life and property.
While we welcome your Excellency's previous condemnations of Israel's widespread violations and destruction of Palestinian houses in the OPT, we believe that your urgent intervention is very important in light of the rapid deterioration of the situation.
The international community's failure to actively intervene since the beginning of the current Intifada has only encouraged Israel to continue to perpetrate its violations of international human rights and humanitarian law with total impunity.
We call upon your Excellency to intervene immediately to put a halt to the ongoing violations, and to take action to ensure the fulfillment by Israel of its obligations under international law and United Nations Security Council Resolutions.
We also call upon the United Nations to refute the current process of politicization of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and to consider the Palestinian cause as a matter to be dealt with in a purely legal manner.
Finally, as the only sustainable way towards achieving just and lasting peace in the OPT, Al Mezan Calls upon the United Nations to immediately dispatch an international force to end the Israeli occupation.
Al Mezan Center for Human Rights Issam Younis