25 February 2014 – Israeli Provocations at Al-Haram Al-Sharif

Excellency,

I have been instructed by the Government of the State of Palestine to draw your urgent attention to the escalating acts of Israeli aggression, provocation and incitement in Occupied East Jerusalem and particularly at Al-Haram Al-Sharif, which houses the Holy Al-Aqsa Mosque. Tensions are dramatically rising as Israel, the occupying Power, persists with hostile and illegal actions at this holy site.  Such actions undermine the extremely fragile situation on the ground, threatening to further inflame religious sensitivities, ignite another cycle of violence and sabotage the peace negotiations currently underway.

In this regard, Israeli extremists, including right-wing government officials, continue to incite and to attempt to breach the sanctity of Al-Haram Al-Sharif.  Today, Israeli occupying forces once again violently stormed the compound, attacking and injuring Palestinian worshipers with rubber-coated steel bullets and tear gas canisters and arresting several worshipers.  This aggression was undertaken in the midst of threats by Jewish extremists to breach the compound and raise Israeli flags there and in the context of a provocative debate launched in the Israeli Knesset aimed at passing legislation to impose Israeli sovereignty over Al-Haram Al-Sharif.  Here, it must be noted that this condemnable, illegal action has been instigated by the Deputy Speaker of the Israeli Knesset, Moshe Feiglin, a member of the Prime Minister’s party, who recently entered Al-Haram Al-Sharif under Israeli military escort and made provocative declarations regarding Al-Aqsa Mosque, a serious matter that we drew attention to in our letter of 20 February.

Such reckless actions are clearly aimed at illegally and forcibly asserting Israeli control over Al-Haram Al-Sharif in the heart of Occupied East Jerusalem, which is an integral part of the Palestinian Territory occupied by Israel since 1967, constitutes the capital of the State of Palestine, and the Israeli annexation of which remains unrecognized and condemned worldwide.  We also stress that this holy site, the first qibla and the third holiest site in Islam, remains under the supervision of the Islamic Waqf and recall the special role of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan with regard to the Muslim and Christian holy sites in the City.

Moreover, we recall the numerous relevant United Nations resolutions, including Security Council resolutions 252 (1968), 267 (1969), 271 (1969), 298 (1971), 476 (1980), 478 (1980), 672 (1990) and 1073 (1996), which remain wholly valid and must be fully respected by the occupying Power.  In specific, we recall the Council’s repeated pronouncements regarding the illegality of Israeli measures aimed at altering the physical character, demographic composition, institutional structure and status of the City of Jerusalem and the calls to rescind all such measures, to desist from any further such measures, including settlement activities, and to comply with the legal obligations in this regard, including in accordance with the Fourth Geneva Convention.

We call on the Security Council to give urgent attention to this critical matter and to act to uphold its Charter duty for the maintenance of international peace and security.  It is obvious that such Israeli acts of incitement, provocation and aggression are intended to deliberately provoke Palestinian, Arab and Muslim sensitivities and could have extremely dangerous and widespread consequences.  These condemnable actions are heightening tensions and threaten to completely destabilize the situation on the ground.  Moreover, such actions threaten to undermine the current peace negotiations, being mediated by the United States of America and with the support of the Quartet and the entire international community, aimed at salvaging the two-State solution and achieving a just, lasting and comprehensive solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the core of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

The international community, which has for so long endorsed the two-State solution, based on the pre-1967 borders and the well-known terms of reference enshrined in the relevant United Nations resolutions, the Madrid principles, the Arab Peace Initiative and the Quartet Roadmap, cannot stand idly by while Israel, the occupying Power, flouts international law and destroys the small opportunity that remains for realizing that solution.  At this critical juncture, all must act responsibly and with conscience to address this matter of utmost concern and seriousness to Palestine, the Arab world and the Muslim ummah and to salvage the prospects for peace.

As noted today by the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Mr. Jeffrey Feltman, in his briefing to the Security Council, “on the Middle East peace process we are nearing a defining moment”… The international community, primarily the Security Council and the Quartet members, in accordance with the responsibility taken upon themselves to advance the realization of a just and lasting solution, must act forthwith to demand that Israel, the occupying Power, cease all of its violations of international law, including humanitarian and human rights law, cease all provocations and incitement against the Palestinian people and their holy sites, including in Occupied East Jerusalem, and truly commit to the path of peace.

This letter is in follow-up to our previous 485 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 20 February 2014 (A/ES-10/xxx-S/2014/xx) 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.

Feda Abdelhady-Nasser

Charge d’Affaires,