6 July 1993 (A/48/253, S/26045)

Letter from Dr. Nasser Al-Kidwa, Permanent Observer of Palestine to the U.N., to the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the President of the Security Council: (Death Squads – Middle East Watch) 

Last week a report issued by Middle East Watch, a human rights group based in the United States, attested that Israeli soldiers operating in undercover units in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip are in fact given "a license to kill" by their superiors in the army. It has been frequently reported by Palestinians and by human rights groups monitoring the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem, that soldiers often gun down Palestinians even when their own lives are not threatened. The extensive findings of the group affirm that Israel is pursuing a policy of summary executions of Palestinians through such undercover operations.

This report and many other accounts reveal that Israeli soldiers have intentionally shot and killed many Palestinians who could have been taken alive. According to the Middle East Watch report, undercover squads have killed more than 120 Palestinians since the start of the intifadah (approximately half of those victims have been killed since January 1992). The shootings are usually undertaken by ambushing the victim without warning and with excessive force. As the report states, "in many cases the victims posed little or no grave danger to others, were given no opportunity to surrender and could in all possibility have been captured alive." For example, of 20 deaths between March 1992 and February 1993, the study found that only 6 of the Palestinians were actually wanted fugitives. Furthermore, only 2 of the 6 were armed when killed. The others, it is stated, were suspected stone-throwers and masked youths who had been setting up roadblocks or scrawling anti-Israel graffiti, which were merely actions expressing their resistance to the occupation.

This policy and the relaxation of open fire regulations and restrictions have resulted in an intensified use of lethal force and of methods of repression against Palestinian civilians living under occupation. Consequently, an already appalling situation has declined to an even more dangerous and desperate level, and will only continue to worsen if it remains neglected.

Your Excellency, on several previous occasions, 1 April 1992, 24 April 1992 and 22 March 1993, we have called your attention to the abhorrent Israeli practice of using undercover army units to carry out summary executions of Palestinian civilians in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem. We have also made mention of several other reports that have been published on this pattern of intentional killing. At this time, we reiterate our call for the Security Council to take the necessary measures to put an end to such criminal actions and to provide international protection for the Palestinian people, in accordance with Security Council resolution 681 (1990) and as expressed by Your Excellency in your report to the Security Council, dated 25 January 1993.