I regret to have to draw your attention to the critical and tense situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem – the territory that constitutes the State of Palestine – as a result of Israel’s relentless provocations and illegal actions against the Palestinian people. Israel continues to carry out grave violations of international law, ranging from the killing and injury of Palestinian civilians by means of excessive force; military raids and mass arrests and detentions, including of children; illegal settlement construction and expansion; demolitions of Palestinian homes and properties, including those belonging to Palestinian Bedouin communities; extrajudicial executions; and incessant provocations and incitement by occupying forces against the Palestinian people and their holy places. These actions have continued and escalated in the recent period, further inflicting loss of life, loss of property and suffering on the Palestinian civilian population as well as threatening to destabilize the already-fragile situation on the ground.
Firstly, I regret to call to your attention the critical and alarming situation of Palestinian political prisoners illegally imprisoned and detained by Israel, the occupying Power, which continues to be grave and warrants immediate attention. As was mentioned in our letter of 5 June, more than one hundred detainees and prisoners are participating in a hunger strike in peaceful protest of their captivity and the widespread abuses employed against them by the occupying Power and many of them, who have now been on a hunger strike for 55 days, are in serious and critical condition. This includes many Palestinians who have been held in solitary confinement, another unlawful form of punishment flagrantly used by Israel against Palestinian civilians in its prisons.
Serious efforts must be made by thePalestinian prisonersthe Pal international community to compel Israel to comply with international law, including humanitarian law, specifically Article 76 of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, which clearly defines the rights of protected persons faced with detention by an occupying Power. The international community must ensure that the occupying Power act humanely towards the peaceful, nonviolent hunger striking prisoners and to cease all illegal practices, including torture and solitary confinement. We continue to call for their immediate release along with all other Palestinians being unlawfully and arbitrarily imprisoned and detained. In this regard, we welcome the statement of the Secretary-General of the United Nations expressing concern over the deteriorating health of the Palestinian prisoners and detainees who have been on hunger strike and his call on Israel to comply with their international human rights obligations in this regard.
I wish to turn your attention to the recent violations against the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip. In this regard, the Israeli occupying forces have continued to carry out missile air strikes and artillery bombardment of civilian areas in the Gaza Strip in grave violation of international law, including the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, deliberately targeting and killing Palestinian civilians.
On Wednesday, 11 June, Israeli occupying forces fired a missile at two passengers who were riding a motorbike, instantly killing one passenger, Ahmad Al-Awour, 20 years old, as well as seriously injuring many others. Tragically, one of the injured was an innocent bystander in the vicinity of the attack, Ali Abd Al-Latif, 7 years old, who died on Saturday, 14 June of wounds he sustained as a result of the attack. Moreover, the military campaign and artillery bombardment of civilian areas in the Gaza Strip continued throughout the night on Monday, 16 June, injuring several more people and causing destruction to civilian properties as well as causing panic and terror to spread among the Palestinian population in the besieged Gaza Strip.
In the occupied West Bank, Israel, the occupying Power, has intensified its illegal measures and collective punishment against the Palestinian people, following the incident in which three settlers went missing while they were hitchhiking from the so–called settlement of “Kfar Etzion,” which is located between Jerusalem and Al-Khalil (Hebron) on Friday, 13 June. Since then, the occupying Power has embarked on a violent and brutal campaign of repression, which has included mass arrests and mass closures throughout the Occupied West Bank. In this regard, more than 200 Palestinians, including members of the Palestinian Legislative Council, have been arrested by the occupying forces. Furthermore, as a result of its excessive and indiscriminate use of force, Ahmad Al-Sabarin, 20, was killed by occupying forces from a gunshot wound to the chest during a military raid of Al-Jalazun refugee camp north of Ramallah on Sunday, 15 June. The State of Palestine condemns all acts that result in the further destabilization of the situation on the ground and the escalation of violence, including measures of collective punishment and the use of force against the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory in connection with the missing three Israeli settlers. We call on the international community to call on the occupying Power to cease its actions of mass closures and mass arrests throughout the Occupied West Bank and to cease all forms of collective punishment and human rights violations against the Palestinian people.
Moreover, while the Palestinian leadership is doing its utmost to prevent further escalation of the volatile situation on the ground, including helping with the search of the three missing Israeli settlers, it must be reiterated that Israel, the occupying Power, bears full responsibility for the safety and security of its civilians it has illegally transferred to the occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, in clear violation of the Fourth Geneva convention, which is the law that governs military occupation.
I must also point to the recent and ongoing illegal actions and incitement by Israel, the occupying Power, against the Palestinian people, their land and their holy places, which are stoking religious sensitivities, particularly at Al-Haram Al-Sharif (the Noble Sanctuary) which houses the holy Al-Aqsa Mosque and Qubbat Al-Sakhra (Dome of the Rock). Following Friday prayer on 13 June, Israeli occupying forces stormed the compound attacking Palestinian worshippers with stun grenades, pepper gas, rubber-coated steel bullets and beat worshippers with batons, as well as injured ambulance crews and journalists. Shrapnel from the occupying forces stun grenades injured 28 Palestinians, including elderly worshippers. We continue to caution that ffurther provocations will only inflame already-high tensions and anger among the Palestinian population, threatening to completely destabilize the situation on the ground.
In addition to the above, Israel has also persisted with its construction of settlements and the Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, in grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Just this past week, Israel, the occupying Power, proceeded with plans to further expand settlements by constructing 1,083 settlement units in the occupied West Bank, including in occupied East Jerusalem. This latest provocative and illegal plan comes on the heels of the announcement made last week to construct and expand an additional 1,500 settlement units. We condemn all such provocative and illegal colonization measures, which are physically destroying the two-State solution, and we reiterate the demand that Israel completely cease all settlement activities and comply with the relevant provisions of international law and United Nations resolutions. We must reiterate the fact that such Israeli policies and actions, systematically and willfully pursued, are illegal and constitute war crimes under the Fourth Geneva Convention and under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
Moreover, in connection with Israel’s settlement campaign, we condemn the intensification of measures taken against Palestinian Bedouin communities in the central Occupied West Bank who are being targeted by the occupying Power in order to carry out plans for further settlement construction. We call on the international community to oblige the occupying Power to put a halt to all Israeli measures against the Palestinian Bedouin community, including by ending its demolition of structures, confiscation of their property as well as the their forced eviction and forced transfer which are prohibited under international humanitarian law and human rights law.
The above-mentioned violations compel the Palestinian leadership to call on the international community, including the Security Council, to uphold the rule of law and human rights and demand that Israel, the occupying Power, cease its military aggression against the Palestinian people, respect their human rights, and comply with all of its legal obligations under international law. The international community cannot continue absolving Israel of its responsibility for these violations and of its obligations under international law as an occupying Power. A strong, unequivocal message must be sent forthwith by the international community that it rejects Israel’s illegal policies, intransigence and constant attempts to completely sabotage any real chance that still exists to realize the two-State solution based on the pre-1967 borders.
This letter is in follow-up to our 497 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 5 June 2014 (A/ES-10/XXX-S/2014/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 the text of the present letter made available to the members of the Security Council for their immediate and valuable consideration.
Please accept, Excellency, the assurances of my highest consideration.
Dr. Riyad Mansour
Ambassador, Permanent Observer
of the State of Palestine to the United Nations