19 February 2019 – Israeli Dispossession of the Palestinian People


We continue to call on Member States of the United Nations to intensify their efforts, individually and collectively, in line with their obligations under international law, including humanitarian and human rights law, and consistent with the relevant UN resolutions, to hold Israel, the occupying Power, accountable for its violations in Occupied Palestine, including East Jerusalem. In this fifty-second year of the occupation and seventy-one years since the onset of the Al-Nakba, we will not relent in calling for international law to be upheld and for fulfillment of the Palestinian people’s inalienable rights and legitimate national aspirations.

While not possible in the context of these letters to document every single Israeli crime against our people, we will continue to alert the international community as to Israel’s illegal policies and practices in our determined pursuit of international action and measures of accountability to bring an end to this illegal and abhorrent situation.

Accordingly, I must draw attention to the risks of further destabilization of the fragile and tense situation on the ground as the occupying Power is intensifying its provocations, incitement and illegal measures against both the Palestinian people and their leadership. In this regard, the Israeli government has once again decided to seize and withhold Palestinian tax revenues, collected by Israel on behalf of Palestinians in accordance with an agreement between the two sides, in a blatant act of theft and piracy directly intended to undermine the Palestinian leadership and causing harm to Palestinian families. By Israel’s own admission, this illegal withholding of our tax revenues is aimed at among the most vulnerable segments of our society – the families of our thousands of political prisoners and our martyrs – in an attempt to collapse the social safety net provided to these families and to deepen their deprivation and want.

In addition to its impact on social welfare, the withholding of the millions of dollars of our tax revenues will severely undermine the operation of institutions providing vital civilian services in the fields of healthcare, education and security and will further damage the already-fragile economy. Such an act of theft can only lead to further deterioration and destabilization of the situation on the ground in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, which must be urgently averted. We therefore call on the international community to demand that Israel respect its legal obligations as the occupying Power and that it uphold existing agreements and resume the transfer of tax revenues in full to the Palestinian government as per prior agreements.

Today, I am also compelled to draw the international community’s attention to the fact that Israel also persists with its countless measures of colonization in Occupied Palestine, including East Jerusalem, severely harming and fragmenting Palestinian families and society as a whole, while simultaneously entrenching its occupation in blatant and systematic contravention of international law and relevant UN resolutions. Since the start of the year, Israeli settlement activities have continued unabated, forcibly displacing more Palestinian civilians, including children and women, and further destroying the contiguity of the Palestinian State.

No doubt encouraged by the regrettable silence of the Security Council, through land confiscations, settlement expansions, home demolitions, home evictions and residency revocations, especially in Occupied East Jerusalem, the occupying Power continues its methodical dispossession and forced transfer of the Palestinian people. Such policies and measures constitute grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention and other relevant provisions of international law.

Recent violations in this regard include the eviction of the Abu Assab family from their home in Occupied East Jerusalem. On 17 February, Israeli soldiers forcibly removed the family from their home, where they had lived for three generations since 1952. The Israeli occupying forces physically assaulted various members of the family, detaining several of them, and one by one removed 8 people, including three children from the home, which was then summarily handed over to Israeli settlers.

The international community must recognize the grave implications of such illegal acts of dispossession and forced displacement and must act in accordance with international law to protect the thousands of other Palestinians who continue to be threatened, indeed terrorized, with demolition and eviction orders by the occupying Power. We note in this regard the statement by Mr. Jamie McGoldrick, UN Development and Humanitarian Coordinator in Palestine, that: “I am alarmed by the eviction of the Abu Assab family today from their home in East Jerusalem, facilitating its handover to Israeli settlers. Such evictions should cease.”

We echo this appeal and call for the immediate and complete cessation of such unlawful policies and practices and for accountability for the perpetration of this crime and all other crimes against our people. It is clear that, absent accountability, the occupying Power will continue with these violations, only bolstering the culture of impunity that exists within the Israeli government and military as well as among the Israeli settler population illegally transferred to our land.

This culture of impunity is indisputably linked to the rise of settler violence and terror attacks against Palestinian civilians, which continue to be perpetrated under the watch and with the full backing of the Israeli occupying forces. Such impunity and the recent surge in attacks can only be worsened by the removal of the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH) following Israel’s decision to unilaterally terminate its mandate after 22 years of presence. As broadly recognized by the international community, the TIPH had provided a critical semblance of protection to the Palestinian civilian population there, which is prone to settler provocations and attacks due to the extremism of the illegal settler population in and around the city. In fact, just this past week, more than 100 settlers in the city took to the streets, accompanied by over 70 armed Israeli forces, exploited the vacuum created by TIPH’s removal, openly declaring “Death to Arabs!” among other racist and inflammatory chants and attacking homes and properties of Palestinian civilians.

Against this backdrop of such constant and escalating provocations, incitement and aggressions, the occupying Power’s total disregard for the rights, dignity and humanity of the Palestinian people is becoming exponentially magnified. We appeal to the international community not to ignore the multiple warning signs and to act forthwith to pursue accountability for all Israeli violations and transgressions against the Palestinian people suffering so gravely and unjustly under this illegal occupation.

The Security Council must uphold its Charter duty for the maintenance of international peace and security and cannot continue to stand idly by as Israel, the occupying Power, acts with such contempt, flagrantly disrespecting its relevant resolutions, including resolution 2334 (2016), by which the Council unequivocally demanded a halt to all such violations.  Only accountability can remedy the prevailing culture of impunity, compel respect for international law and human rights and salvage the prospects for peace to finally bring an end to this illegal occupation of the Palestinian land and oppression and dispossession of the Palestinian people.

This letter is in follow-up to our 658 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 12 February 2019 (A/ES-10/___-S/2018/___) 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 the United Nations