Ref. SGC.40/2024 [View as PDF]
Just two days ago, I wrote to you once urging immediate action to stop Israel’s genocidal war on the Gaza Strip, to stop its ethnic cleansing campaign, and to protect the Palestinian people, who have suffered unimaginable trauma and loss, with nearly 28,000 Palestinians massacred and more than 67,000 people injured by the Israeli occupying forces during the past horrific four months.
In specific, in my letter of 7 February, I warned: “As humanitarian needs and pressures mount in Rafah and Israeli attacks escalate, the risks are growing for a mass exodus of desperate families or forced transfer of the Palestinian population by Israel. This is a real and present danger that continues to be threatened by Israeli government officials who do not hide their aims to depopulate and settle Gaza.”
Today, the Israeli Prime Minister announced that he has commanded the Israeli occupying forces to “evacuate the population” in Rafah and to destroy the “battalions” that Israel claims are present there. The manifestation of these dangerous threats is upon us as, undeterred, Israel pushes forward with its criminal plans to once again force the Palestinian people out of their land.
Yet, still, the Security Council ignores our appeals for an immediate ceasefire and for protection of the Palestinian civilian population, disgracefully failing its Charter obligations and allowing Israel, the occupying Power, to proceed apace, killing, destroying and threatening the forced transfer of the 1.3 million Palestinian civilians now amassed in Rafah on the border with Egypt. The lives and fate of these 1.3 million terrified, vulnerable men, women and children, most of them forcibly displaced multiple times in these past four months and who have nowhere left to flee Israel’s terror campaign, are in imminent danger and on the conscience of all who fail to act.
We demand the Security Council and all States act now to uphold their responsibilities, in accordance with international law and the relevant United Nations resolutions, and to protect the Palestinian people from this genocidal onslaught and real threat of forced transfer.
We recall that the General Assembly, in its resolution ES-10/21, and the Security Council, in its resolutions 2712 (2023) and 2720 (2023), specifically demanded, inter alia, the “rescinding of Israeli evacuation orders”, “firmly rejected any attempts at the forced transfer of the Palestinian civilian population” and reaffirmed “that civilian objects, including places of refuge, including within United Nations facilities and their surroundings, are protected under international humanitarian law, and rejects forced displacement of the civilian population, including children, in violation of international law, including international humanitarian law and international human rights law”.
The Security Council, General Assembly and all States must act now as a matter of utmost urgency to implement the above resolutions and to fulfill their outstanding obligations under international humanitarian law and human rights law to prevent Israel’s looming ethnic cleansing of Rafah and to protect the Palestinian civilian population from further atrocities at the hands of the occupying forces.
In this regard, I attach herewith, for immediate consideration and action, the statement issued today by the Palestinian leadership condemning the Israeli Prime Minister’s threats and calling upon everyone to bear their responsibilities to prevent the another catastrophe on our people that will push the entire region into endless wars. [Original Arabic, unofficial English translation attached.]
The time is long past for immediate, collective action to halt Israel’s war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide against our people. It is time for genuine, practical measures to stop this absolute inhumanity, stop the killing, stop the forced transfer, stop the destruction and devastation.
It is time for accountability. It is time for a ceasefire. It is time for protection. It is time for humanity to prevail. Not a minute more can be lost, we must save human lives and stop the downward spiral to hell that Israel is insisting to drag our people and the entire region to.
This letter is in follow-up to our 825 letters on 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 7 February 2024 (A/ES-10/_-S/2024/_) 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 against our people, Israel, the occupying Power, must be held accountable and the perpetrators must be brought to justice.
I should be grateful if you would arrange to have the present letter circulated to the Security Council members for their valuable consideration and distributed as an official document of the Security Council.
Please accept, Excellency, the assurances of my highest consideration.
Dr. Riyad Mansour
Minister, Permanent Observer