12 September 2019 – Israeli Threats of Annexation


In direct violation of the Charter of the United Nations and its very purposes and principles, in blatant contempt of the United Nations Security Council, and in grave breach of international humanitarian law, Israel, the occupying Power, persists with its illegal colonization measures and direct threats to annex the Palestinian land it has been militarily occupying for more than 52 years.

Following earlier, repeated, provocative threats to annex Israeli settlements illegally established in the Occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, the Israeli Prime Minister has made yet another cynical, menacing threat. On 10 September, in the context of his frenzied electioneering and relentless inflammatory rhetoric against the State of Palestine and the Palestinian people, the Prime Minister declared his intention, if elected, to apply Israeli sovereignty to and annex the Jordan Valley in the Occupied West Bank, calling the area “Israel’s eastern border”.

The international community cannot remain silent in the face of such direct threats and blatant plans of aggression. International law must be upheld and defended. Israel must be reminded that it is NOT the sovereign in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and has no sovereign rights in our land whatsoever.

Israel is the occupying Power and is bound by the obligations prescribed by international humanitarian law, specifically the Fourth Geneva Convention, and the relevant Security Council resolutions, all of which it continues to deliberately and systematically violate. After more than 52 years, it is beyond an understatement to say that this belligerent occupation is illegal in every manifestation, existing and persisting only on the basis of gross violations of international law.

Israel’s attempts to illegally and forcibly alter the demography, character, identity and legal status of the Palestinian territory occupied since June 1967, including East Jerusalem, are rejected and without any legal effect. That territory remains occupied, a fact repeatedly and unequivocally affirmed by the Security Council and General Assembly, the International Court of Justice, and the international community in nearly in its entirety. Nothing has changed this fact and all actions by Israel to assert its control, jurisdiction and sovereignty in our land, including threats and measures of colonization and annexation, are illegal and null and void.

The international prohibition on the acquisition of territory by force is inviolable. There can be no exceptions. The Security Council has been patently clear on this across the decades and its resolutions remain valid and must be respected. The Council has reaffirmed this in numerous of its resolutions, including, inter alia, resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973), 465 (1980), 476 (1980), 478 (1980) and as recently as resolution 2334 (2016), whereby the Council underscored that “it will not recognize any changes to the 4 June 1967 lines, including with regards to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties through negotiations”.

Regrettably, however, the historic lack of accountability in this regard has enabled and fostered Israeli impunity. The international community’s inaction and failure to impose even minimal consequences, let alone sanctions, for Israel’s blatant defiance of the Security Council and violations of international law, including war crimes, have only heightened the occupying Power’s erroneous conviction that it is a State above the law, exempt from international rules and norms.

Recent decisions and actions by the current US administration – in total disregard of the law, UN resolutions and the longstanding international consensus on the two-State solution on the 1967 border – have only further emboldened Israel’s impunity. Actions vis-à-vis Occupied East Jerusalem and the Occupied Syrian Golan have been most glaring in this regard. Although roundly condemned globally, such actions, blind support and dismissiveness of international law have clearly fueled today’s unprecedented levels of crimes, rhetoric and incitement. Indeed, the Israeli Prime Minister’s declaration that he will “await to apply sovereignty until release of the President’s [Trump] political plan”, linking the two schemes, proves the extent to which such policies have reinforced a permissive environment wherein Israel believes it can wantonly violate the law and never be held accountable.

All of this has been to the detriment of the Palestinian people, who continue to be forcibly deprived of their inalienable rights, including to self-determination, freedom and independence; to the detriment of the diminishing prospects for achieving a just solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; and to the detriment of peace and security, regionally and globally. It is a vicious cycle that has harmed the Security Council’s credibility and authority and the international rules-based order. As has often been stated in the Security Council chamber, we must reiterate: the Palestine question remains a litmus test for the viability and efficacy of international law and international system as a whole.

It is beyond time to stop this impunity and stop this insanity, which can only compound this already-disastrous conflict and lead to more human suffering and loss. The international community must act in accordance with its obligations and long-held consensus on the parameters of a just, lasting and comprehensive solution in accordance with international law, the relevant resolutions, the Arab Peace Initiative and the Quartet Roadmap. Continued inaction is unjustifiable, unacceptable and unconscionable.

It is beyond time to hold Israel, the occupying Power, to account for its violations of international law. The political will must be mobilized to impose consequences for continued contempt and non-compliance with UN resolutions. Such crimes, provocations and incitement as we witness today cannot be tolerated or excused. Israel’s blatant threats and plans of annexation make international action even more urgent.

We call on the Security Council to defend, uphold and act forthwith to implement its relevant resolutions. States too must act to uphold their obligations and responsibilities in line with international law and the relevant resolutions, including resolution 2334 (2016), which explicitly called on all States to distinguish in their relevant dealings between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967. Serious and practical measures must be taken.

The Security Council cannot allow for the prohibition on the acquisition of territory by force, a cornerstone of the international legal order, to be trampled, permitting the further trampling of the rights of peoples, further destabilization of the region and further unraveling of the international system and its foundational principles. The dangers of this situation should not be underestimated. We call for unequivocal condemnation of Israel’s threats and violations and immediate action and concrete measures to bring an end to this impunity. Only such action can ever bring an end to this illegal occupation, bring an end to this injustice, and make a just and lasting peace a reality.

This letter is in follow-up to our 674 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 9 September 2019 (A/ES-10/—S/2019/—), 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.

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

Dr. Riyad Mansour

Ambassador, Permanent Observer

of the State of Palestine to the United Nations