Archives for 2017

11 October 2017 – More Illegal Israeli Settlements

Israel’s constant provocative declarations and advancement of plans to construct and expand Israeli settlements throughout the Occupied State of Palestine, including East Jerusalem, in direct and grave contravention of international law and United Nations Security Council resolutions, including resolution 2334 (2016), and in blatant defiance of the international community, continue to heighten tensions and to undermine any efforts to salvage the two-State solution on the 1967 lines and the prospects for peace.

In this connection, yesterday, the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office issued a press release announcing its plans to construct 3,736 more settlement units throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem. According to the Israeli human rights organization, Peace Now, Israel’s latest plans include the building of at least 2,413 settlement units in different stages, including in the heart of Al-Khalil (Hebron) and in the settlement of “Beit El” near Ramallah. Moreover, Peace Now reports that Israel announced the final approval of the new settlements of “Amihai” and “Migron”, as well as a new site for 30 so-called “temporary structures” on the Palestinian lands of Al-Khadr village intended as a new settlement for the Israeli settlers of “Nativ Ha’avot”. [Read more…]

Statement by Ambassador Dr. Riyad Mansour, Permanent Observer of the State of Palestine to the United Nations, before the United Nations Security Council, Open Debate on the Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestine Question, New York, 18 October 2017:

Mr. President,

I congratulate you on assuming the Security Council Presidency and on France’s able guidance and leadership of the Council this month.

I also thank UN Special Coordinator and Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Mr. Nikolay Mladenov, for his briefing and updates to the Council.

Mr. President,

We meet at a moment of significant and rapidly evolving dynamics as we witness important steps being taken for healing the painful Palestinian political division and achieving genuine reconciliation and national unity in Palestine.

In this chamber, we must reaffirm our abiding gratitude to Egypt, a member of this august Council and a fraternal Arab country, for the efforts exerted to help bring about the recent agreement signed by the leaderships of Fatah and Hamas in Cairo, on 12 October, and to support its implementation to restore the unified, legitimate Palestinian authority to the Gaza Strip, based on past agreements and the Palestine Liberation Organization’s political platform, and to ensure the effective functioning of the Palestinian national consensus government in Gaza in all aspects, including government institutions and at all crossings. [Read more…]

28 July 2017 – Tensions Continue at Al-Haram Al-Sharif

Excellency,

I regret to inform of continued heightened tensions in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, due to the illegal and repressive practices being carried out by Israel, the occupying Power, against the Palestinian people under its brutal occupation. In complete defiance of the unequivocal calls by the international community to de-escalate the situation in Occupied East Jerusalem, Israel continues its aggressions against the Palestinian civilian population, including worshippers and peaceful demonstrators and against holy sites in the City, particularly Al-Haram Al-Sharif, which houses Al-Aqsa Mosque.

As we have repeatedly appealed, we continue to call on the international community, particularly the Security Council, to work diligently to stem the dangerous deterioration to avert further bloodshed and instability, to ensure respect for the relevant resolutions, including with regard to the status of Occupied East Jerusalem as occupied territory and the prohibition of all acts aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the City, and to ensure respect for the historic status quo at Al-Haram Al-Sharif. [Read more…]

Statement by Ambassador Dr. Riyad Mansour before the United Nations Security Council, Open Debate on the Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestine Question, New York, 25 July 2017

Mr. President,

I congratulate you on your assumption of the Security Council Presidency this month, confident of China’s skilled leadership and guidance of this Council’s important work.

I also wish to thank the UN Special Coordinator and Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Mr. Nikolay Mladenov, for his briefing to the Council.

Before proceeding, we also renew our deep appreciation to Bolivia for its wise leadership of the Security Council in June, including its convening of the 20 June meeting of the Council to somberly mark and reflect on the 50th year of Israel’s foreign occupation of Palestinian and Arab lands since 1967. [Read more…]

17 July 2017 – Israel’s Dangerous Measures to Alter the Historic Status Quo of Al Haram Al Sharif

Excellency,

I write to alert you to the critical situation in the Occupied State of Palestine, including East Jerusalem, due to Israel’s relentless provocations and illegal actions against the Palestinian people.  The occupying Power continues daily to commit grave violations of international humanitarian and human rights law, which are exacerbating the humanitarian, social, economic, political and security situation on the ground.  As a result, the hardships faced by the Palestinian civilian population continue to mount and any real possibility and hope to achieve peace based on the two-State solution on the 1967 borders are vanishing. [Read more…]

17 June 2017 – 50 Years of Israeli Occupation and No End in Sight to the Injustice

Excellency,

Throughout this month, countries, civil society and individuals around the world have joined in solidarity with the Palestinian people as they solemnly marked fifty years of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip since 1967. As we reflect on this somber anniversary and the devastating impact of this brutal foreign occupation on the Palestinian people and their land, it is beyond regrettable that a political horizon to end this grave, massive injustice remains absent as Israel, the occupying Power, shows no indication or intention to halt its illegal policies and practices, and on the contrary only persists with its entrenchment of the occupation and its subjugation of the Palestinian civilian population. [Read more…]

7 June 2017 – Press Release: 50 Years of Israeli Occupation

 

This week marks the 50th year of Israel’s military occupation of Palestinian and Arab lands in June 1967.  As we somberly mark this anniversary, we reflect with regret on the decades of the oppression and subjugation of the Palestinian people and the flagrant denial of their rights and the colonization of the Palestinian land, including East Jerusalem, by this brutal foreign military occupation, all in violation of international law and the relevant United Nations resolutions.

On this solemn occasion, the Palestinian people and their leadership reiterate their urgent calls on the international community to swiftly and fully assume its legal, political and moral responsibilities to bring an end to all of the occupying Power’s crimes and violations against the Palestinian people, including the Palestine refugees, who have endured tragedy and injustice for nearly seven decades.  It is high time to bring to an immediate end Israel’s half-century occupation that has controlled every aspect of Palestinian life and to allow the Palestinian people to realize their inalienable rights, including to self-determination and independence.

The international consensus in this regard is clear: ending this illegal foreign occupation is the start and key to achieving long-denied justice and rights for the Palestinian people and to ultimately achieving a just, lasting, comprehensive solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the question of Palestine in all its aspects.

For this to become reality, the exceptional treatment bestowed upon Israel, the occupying Power, must be halted. It can no longer be permitted to act as a State above the law with total impunity and arrogant contempt for the international community, including the United Nations.  The occupying Power must be compelled to respect international law, including humanitarian and human rights law, and comply with UN resolutions without exception, including Security Council resolutions, including most recently resolution 2334 (2016­­).

Enough is enough.  Our people will not be silenced and will never accept Israel’s systematic denial and violations of our rights and colonization of our land.  It is time to mobilize the political will to uphold the law and end the appeasement of Israel that has been tantamount to complicity in its crimes against the Palestinian people.  It is time to finally end this grave injustice and end the suffering of the Palestinian people; not another generation should bear this tragedy.

Although Israel continues to do all it can to destroy the prospects for a just peace and prevent the realization of the two-State solution on the pre-1967 borders, the Palestinian people remain steadfast, insistent on the attainment of all their rights, including to self-determination, and the independence of their State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital, and a just solution for the Palestine refugee question, the core pillars of a genuine, lasting peace, in conformity with international law, the relevant UN resolutions, the Madrid principles and the Arab Peace Initiative.

We demand our human rights.  We demand peace, security and freedom.  We demand to be treated humanely, free from occupation and free from want and fear.  We demand justice.

We will continue to use all the peaceful, political, diplomatic and legal tools available to us to achieve this, and we call on all the members of the international community to stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people and work with us until we achieve this noble goal. It is time to end the occupation NOW.

A few facts and figures related to 50 years of occupation:

  • According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), Israel maintains its occupation of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, through repression, institutionalized discrimination, and systematic abuses of the Palestinian population’s rights. HRW states that “at least five categories of major violations of international human rights law and humanitarian law characterize the occupation: unlawful killings; forced displacement; abusive detention; the closure of the Gaza Strip and other unjustified restrictions on movement; and the development of settlements, along with the accompanying discriminatory policies that disadvantage Palestinians.” [i]
  • While the number of Palestinians killed and injured since 1967 by the occupying Power amounts to thousands of civilians, the Israeli occupying forces killed 248 Palestinian civilians and injured 18,062, including children between 13 September 2015 and 30 September 2016. [ii]
  • HRW found that Israeli occupying forces killed well over 2,000 Palestinian civilians in the last three Gaza wars (2008-09, 2012, 2014) alone. HRW concluded that many of these attacks constitute violations of international humanitarian law due to a failure to take all feasible precautions to spare civilians. Some amount to war crimes, including the targeting of apparent civilian structures.[iii]

 

Since 1967, the occupying Power has:

  • Destroyed more than 48,000 Palestinian homes and other structures, including agricultural buildings and places of business, in violation of international humanitarian law and human rights law. Israel claims such demolitions were committed because the homes and structures were built without “permission” from Israel’s occupying authorities, which is nearly impossible for Palestinians to obtain.[iv]
  • Constructed approximately 125 official settlements and facilitated and been complicit in the construction of more than 100 so-called “settlement outposts,” on occupied Palestinian land, including in and around East Jerusalem, in violation of international law and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, according to which such actions are considered war crimes. The Israeli settlements separate Palestinian cities, towns and villages from one another and the outside world and sever occupied East Jerusalem from the rest of the occupied West Bank, destroying the prospects of a contiguous and viable independent Palestinian State.[v]
  • Illegally transferred approximately 650,000 Israeli settlers, many of them violent, heavily-armed religious fanatics and extremists, onto occupied Palestinian land, including approximately 350,000 in the West Bank and 300,000 in East Jerusalem.[vi]
  • Imposed a cruel and illegal siege and naval blockade on occupied Gaza, starting in 2006, which amounts to collective punishment of the 2 million Palestinians living there.[vii] An estimated 47,000 people remained displaced at the end of 2016 from the 2014 war.[viii] As of last year, Gaza’s GDP was 23 percent lower than in 1994. Over seventy percent of Gaza’s civilian population relies on humanitarian assistance.[ix] Israel, as the occupying power, must lift the blockade, which contravenes article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention prohibiting collective penalties and prevents the realization of a broad range of human rights.[x]
  • Revoked the residency rights of approximately 250,000 Palestinians living in the occupied West Bank and Gaza, and more than 14,000 Palestinian residents of Jerusalem.[xi]
  • Detained and imprisoned more than 800,000 Palestinians under Israeli military orders in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. This number constitutes approximately 20 percent of the total Palestinian population in the OPT and as much as 40 percent of the total male Palestinian population. It also includes approximately 10,000 women jailed since 1967, as well as 8,000 Palestinian children arrested since 2000.[xii]
  • 95,000 Palestinian children have been detained by the Israeli occupying forces, 62% of whom have likely been subjected to some form of physical violence. [xiii]

[i] https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/06/04/israel-50-years-occupation-abuses

[ii] Palestinian Ministry of Health (Figures cover the period: October 1, 2015 – September 30, 2016)

[iii] https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/06/04/israel-50-years-occupation-abuses

[iv] https://imeu.org/article/quick-facts-50-years-of-israeli-military-rule

[v] Ibid

[vi] https://imeu.org/article/quick-facts-50-years-of-israeli-military-rule

[vii] https://imeu.org/article/quick-facts-50-years-of-israeli-military-rule

[viii] https://www.ochaopt.org/sites/default/files/fragmented_lives_2016_english.pdf

[ix] https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/06/04/israel-50-years-occupation-abuses

[x] https://www.ochaopt.org/content/gaza-strip-humanitarian-impact-blockade-november-2016

[xi] https://imeu.org/article/quick-facts-50-years-of-israeli-military-rule

[xii]http://www.addameer.org/files/Palestinian%20Political%20Prisoners%20in%20Israeli%20Prisons%20(General%20Briefing%20January%202014).pdf

[xiii] Military Court Watch, Widespread, systematic and institutionalized abuse of minors in the West Bank, 10 June 2015

24 May 2017 – Plight of Palestinian Prisoners and Tensions in OPT

Excellency,

Today regrettably marks the 38th day of the Palestinian prisoners’ hunger strike in peaceful, non-violent and collective protest of their inhumane treatment in Israeli captivity.  This hunger strike was also undertaken by more than 1,500 prisoners to draw urgent attention to the critical plight of the over 6,500 Palestinian prisoners and detainees being held by Israel, the occupying Power, and to appeal for respect of their fundamental human rights.

Unfortunately, this appeal has been met with further punitive measures by Israel, the occupying Power, against the prisoners, who are enduring harsh conditions and declining health.  This has included solitary confinement, threats of force feeding and relentless incitement against prisoners and their families, dismissing their legitimate grievances and rights. Moreover, despite the deteriorating health of many of the prisoners, the occupying Power continues its intransigent refusal to address their minimal calls for respect of basic rights and for more humane treatment, provoking greater tensions and worries among the prisoners’ families and the Palestinian people as a whole. At the same time, the occupying Power has not relented in its arrest campaign, persisting with its daily raids and arrest of Palestinian civilians throughout Occupied Palestine. [Read more…]

12 May 2017 – Israeli Violations Continue Apace in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem

Excellency,

Tensions continue to escalate in the Occupied State of Palestine, including East Jerusalem, and the Palestinian civilian population continues to suffer due to the unrelenting, illegal and repressive practices being carried out by Israel, the occupying Power, against them, affecting every Palestinian man, woman and child.

Throughout five decades of this illegal and brutal foreign occupation, the scope and scale of its violations of international law, including humanitarian and human rights law, and of the relevant United Nations resolutions continue to multiply with no end in sight. These violations also include war crimes, which continue unabated as the occupying Power persists with its absolute contempt for the law and to evade accountability for its crimes.  While it is nearly impossible to document every violation, whether committed by the Israeli Government, or its occupying forces or illegal settlers, these letters are meant to provide just a glimpse of the types of violations that the Palestinian people are enduring daily as a result of the occupation, including death, injury and destruction. [Read more…]

9 May 2017 – Grave Situation of Palestinian Prisoners on Hunger Strike

170509 Palestine Letters 2017Excellency,

We write to you today once again to express our grave and rising concerns regarding the plight of the thousands of Palestinian civilians, men, women, children and elected officials, imprisoned and detained by Israel, the occupying Power.

We must specifically draw the international community’s urgent attention to the acute situation of more than 1,500 Palestinian prisoners, who have been on hunger strike over three weeks – now in their 22nd day of hunger strike – in protest of their inhumane treatment in captivity and in a collective appeal for respect of their basic human rights.  This hunger strike – named the Freedom and Dignity Strike – constitutes the largest such strike to date against the occupation’s brutal practices of imprisonment and detention, in violation of international law, particularly the relevant provisions of international humanitarian law and human rights law. [Read more…]