I am compelled to draw your urgent attention to the critical situation both on the ground and in the status of the recently resumed peace negotiations. The prospects for realizing a peaceful solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, on the basis of the two-State solution enshrined in relevant United Nations resolutions and on which there is an international consensus, are being deliberately sabotaged by Israel’s illegal and reckless settlement campaign in the Occupied State of Palestine.
Yesterday, 12 November, the Israeli NGO Peace Now exposed plans by Israel, the occupying Power, to construct more than 20,000 new settlement units, including in the so-called “E1” area, according to tenders provocatively announced by the Government’s Housing Ministry. This massive settlement expansion, which would result in transfer of an exponential number of Israeli settlers – in addition to the more than half a million settlers already illegally transferred by Israel to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, the territory that constitutes the State of Palestine – is a stark indication of Israel’s total contempt for international law, United Nations resolutions and the international consensus demanding a halt to all Israeli settlement activities.
In fact, Israel’s continuing settlement construction and expansion in the occupied Palestinian land is totally contradictory to the principle of land for peace and withdrawal from the territories occupied by Israel since 1967, which are fundamental elements of the two-State solution. Rather than ceasing its settlement activities and undertaking tangible measures towards dismantling its colonial project and bringing an end to the occupation, Israel is doing exactly the opposite, expanding and entrenching its presence in Occupied Palestine by all illegal means and measures, aimed at the de facto annexation of vast areas of Palestinian land and forcibly maintaining its illegitimate control over that land. At the same time, the occupying Power is allowing and supporting its settlers in wreaking havoc across Palestine and inflicting grave hardships on the Palestinian civilian population. And, all of this is happening in the midst of a resumed peace process, belying Israel’s claimed commitment to the two-State solution and peace and coexistence.
This provocation is regrettably only the latest episode in the long-running saga of Israel’s lack of seriousness and sabotage in the peace process. Such Israeli bad faith and total disregard for the law and the terms of reference of the peace process – on which there is also a longstanding international consensus – has prolonged this conflict, prolonged the suffering and denial of the rights of the Palestinian people, and depleted the international community’s efforts and resources aimed at resolving the conflict and redressing this injustice. It is painfully obvious that the lack of accountability for these transgressions has only bolstered Israel’s impunity.
After more than three months of mostly futile negotiations between the parties, it is high time for all those members of the international community involved and vested in this peace process to undertake serious measures and make concerted efforts to stop this illegal Israeli campaign and bring the occupying Power into compliance with the law. The alternative will be allowing the negotiations – to which the Palestinian leadership has committed itself responsibly and in good faith – and the two-State solution to be doomed by Israel’s settlement activities.
The international community must uphold its responsibilities in the face of such contempt and aggression. The Security Council in particular cannot remain sidelined while the prospects for peace are destroyed and the threats to international peace and security emanating from this ongoing occupation and conflict intensify. It is high time to shore up the political will necessary to bring Israel, the occupying Power, into compliance with the law.
This requires an immediate cessation of settlement activities throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, and clear Israeli acceptance of and commitment to the well-known terms of reference of the peace process, as enshrined in the relevant United Nations resolutions, the Madrid principles, the Arab Peace Initiative and the Quartet Roadmap. Failing to do so, the international community must face the end to the peace paradigm that has prevailed for decades and the onset of an urgent search for a viable alternative solution that will ensure the realization of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and ensure justice, the cornerstones of any future Palestinian-Israeli peace agreement.
This letter is in follow-up to our previous 475 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 1 November 2013 (A/ES-10/605-S/2013/641) 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 the text of the present letter distributed as a document of the tenth emergency special session of the General Assembly, under agenda item 5, and 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 the United Nations