The Palestinian People Mark the One-Year Anniversary of the Al-Aqsa Intifada
On Friday, 28 September 2001, the Palestinian people marked the one-year anniversary of Al-Aqsa intifada. The date marks the infamous visit of Mr. Ariel Sharon to Al-Haram Al-Sharif, which was followed by the excessive and indiscriminate use of force by Israeli occupying forces against Palestinian civilians, leading to the second Palestinian intifada. Throughout this year, Israel, the occupying Power, waged a bloody military campaign in which it committed war crimes and State terrorism, in addition to many other violations of international humanitarian law and what is left of the Palestinian-Israeli agreements.
This bloody Israeli military campaign included, willful killings of Palestinian civilians, targeted assassinations of Palestinians, bombing and shelling of populated Palestinian areas and of buildings belonging to the Palestinian Authority by helicopter gunships, warships, F-16 and F-15 war planes, tanks and other forms of heavy weaponry. Israeli crimes also included incursions into areas under full Palestinian control, the razing of agricultural fields and orchards, the destruction of industrial and economic facilities and the imposition of severe restrictions on the movement of persons and goods with the outside world and within the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem. In many cases, these restrictions included the movement of medical personnel in emergency situations, which resulted in further Palestinian deaths.
In one year, the Israeli occupying forces and, in some cases, illegal Israeli settlers killed 677 Palestinians, in addition to those who died as an indirect result of actions by the occupying forces. Israeli actions also resulted in the injury of more than 25,000 Palestinians, many of whom have suffered permanent disabilities. Further, Israeli occupying forces destroyed approximately 3,500 Palestinian homes, caused destruction to a vast amount of Palestinian land, including the uprooting of 25,000 olive and fruit trees. In sum, the Israeli bloody military campaign exacerbated the already miserable and oppressive situation that the Palestinian people have been subjugated to under Israeli occupation. That in turn, of course, led to the continuation of the intifada in resistance to the illegal and violent Israeli actions and complete rejection of the continuation of the Israeli occupation by the Palestinian people.
Since the beginning of the bloody Israeli military campaign, the Permanent Observer of Palestine to the U.N. has regularly sent letters to the U.N. Secretary-General, President of the Security Council and President of the General Assembly. These letters, which as of 12 October 2001 totaled 71 letters, have constituted an official U.N. file on the crimes committed by Israel, the occupying Power, against the Palestinian people. The letters have kept the U.N. informed about the situation on the ground in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem, detailing the harsh reality of the situation being faced by the Palestinian population under occupation, including the number and names of Palestinian martyrs, so many of them children.
In closing, we hold the Israeli government of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon responsible for war crimes and State terrorism as well as the above-mentioned actions of the bloody Israeli military campaign against the Palestinian people. One day, the perpetrators of those crimes and those responsible for them shall be held accountable and ultimately brought to justice.