11 December 2018 – Israeli Incitement and Escalation

Excellency,

I write to draw your urgent attention to the escalation of inflammatory rhetoric, incitement and intimidation by both Israeli officials and extremist settlers against the Palestinian people and the Palestinian leadership, as well as the escalation of military raids and violence perpetrated by the Israeli occupying forces against the Palestinian civilian population in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.

Israel, the occupying Power, persists with such unlawful, provocative behavior in deliberate and grave breach of international law and the relevant UN resolutions, including its systematic violation of Security Council resolution 2334 (2016), which called upon both parties, inter alia, “to observe calm and restraint, and to refrain from provocative actions, incitement and inflammatory rhetoric, with the aim, inter alia of de-escalating the situation on the ground…” The exact opposite has been done by the Israeli government, which continues to foment hatred and violence against the Palestinian civilian population under its occupation and against the Palestinian leadership. This reckless behavior is heightening tensions, deepening mistrust, and threatens to provoke further instability and violence, which must be averted in order to protect civilian lives.

Such inflammatory rhetoric and incitement has included specific threats against Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. In recent days, posters depicting President Abbas in the target of a sniper and openly calling for his assassination have been hung by extremist Israeli settlers, particularly in the Nablus area of the occupied West Bank. Such condemnable incitement must be halted and the Israeli government must be held fully responsible for any harm or consequences that may ensue as a result of the actions of its illegal settlers against our people and leadership.

Israel, the occupying Power, must be demanded to condemn such extremist acts, whether by individual settlers or terror groups like the “Hilltop Youth” and “The Price Tag” settlers militias, or others, and to hold accountable the perpetrators of any such crimes. It cannot be that the international community turn a blind eye to the Israeli government’s responsibility for fostering such a toxic environment and for its open facilitation and support of such threats and acts of violence and terror and continued provocations against holy sites in Occupied East Jerusalem, including at Al-Aqsa Mosque, and at Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus among other sites.

The occupying Power must also be demanded to cease its acts of military aggression against the defenseless Palestinian civilian population. In recent days, numerous military raids have been carried out throughout the occupied West Bank, including in Bethlehem, Al-Khalil (Hebron), Ramallah, Al-Bireh, Qalqilya and Tulkarem and surrounding villages. A young Palestinian man, Omar Hassan al-Awawdeh, age 27, was killed today in one of the raids in a village near Al-Khalil when he was shot in his back by Israeli occupying forces. The brutal manner of his killing is similar to the recent killing of another young mentally disabled Palestinian, Mohammed Habali, age 22, exactly a week ago, when occupying forces raided the city of Tulkarem and shot him in his back and killed him.

In addition to the killing and injury of Palestinian civilians, the Israeli occupying forces also continue the systematic practice of detaining and arresting Palestinians, the overwhelming majority without charge, adding to the nearly 6,000 Palestinian men, women and children who continue to be held captive in Israel’s jails. In the past 24 hours, more than 28 Palestinians have been detained as the occupying forces have escalated their violent and retributive raids following a shooting attack that injured several Israeli settlers over the weekend by an unidentified assailant.

Moreover, the Israeli occupying forces continue to damage and destroy Palestinian property in the course of the violent raids being conducted. Among such raids was Monday’s raid of the city of Ramallah, in so-called “Area A”, where Israel facetiously claims that the Palestinian government has “full control”, as per the Oslo Accords, and where numerous Israeli tanks and armored vehicles entered the city and raided several national institutions. This includes the raid on the premises of the Wafa News Agency, from which several documents were seized and property was destroyed.

Of course, all the while, Israel, the occupying Power, persists with its endless acts of collective punishment against the Palestinian people, whether its suffocating blockade of the 2 million civilians in the Gaza Strip, or its severe movement restrictions against the civilians in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, via its vast network of settlements, the wall, bypass roads and hundreds of checkpoints, along with other acts of collective punishment, including home demolitions and evictions. In this regard, days ago, on 8 December, Jawhar and Murad Hashimeh were forced by the occupying authorities to demolish their two family homes, built at least twenty years ago in Silwan in Occupied East Jerusalem, under the offensive pretext that the homes were built without Israeli permits, which it is widely known are nearly impossible for Palestinians to acquire. This demolition left 14 family members homeless, adding to the thousands that have dispossessed and displaced by this inhumane and illegal Israeli policy.

This is just a glimpse of the disturbing reality prevailing in Occupied Palestine as Israel, the occupying Power, continues to impose its illegal foreign occupation on our people and land, violating every international norm, every relevant United Nations resolution, and every human right of the Palestinian people. We call on the international community, including the Security Council, to act to bring an end to such lawlessness and impunity and to demand that Israel, the occupying Power, respect all of its legal obligations and that it cease all acts of incitement and provocation against the Palestinian people and their leadership. It is urgent that efforts be undertaken to avert a further escalation and destabilization of the situation on the ground in order to salvage whatever slim hopes and chances remain for realizing a just, lasting and peaceful solution to this grave injustice.

This letter is in follow-up to our XX letters regarding 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 13 November 2018 (A/ES-10/xxx-S/2018/xxx) 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 being committed against the Palestinian 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 this letter made available to the members of the Security Council for their immediate and valuable consideration and also distributed as an official document of the Security Council.

Please accept, Excellency, the assurances of my highest consideration.

Dr. Riyad Mansour

Ambassador, Permanent Observer

of the State of Palestine to