3 June 2019 – Israeli provocations and raids on Al-Haram Al-Sharif

Excellency,

As we somberly approach the 52nd year since Israel’s occupation in June 1967 of Palestinian and Arab lands, we must draw the international community’s urgent attention to the escalating tensions and deteriorating situation on the ground in Occupied Palestine, including East Jerusalem, as a result of intensifying illegal Israeli policies and practices, including rising provocations, incitement and aggression by the Israeli occupying forces and extremist Israeli settlers against Palestinian civilians.

In recent days, such provocations have once again involved raids and aggression against holy sites and Palestinian worshippers in Occupied East Jerusalem, in violation of the historic status quo at Al-Haram Al-Sharif, which houses the holy Al-Aqsa and Dome of the Rock Mosques. Such actions further inflaming religious sensitivities and dangerous destabilization of an already volatile and fragile situation.

Israel, the occupying Power, must be demanded to cease forthwith all such illegal and destabilizing actions and to respect its legal obligations, in accordance with international law and the relevant United Nations resolutions and to respect the decades-long historic legal and religious status quo at Al-Haram Al-Sharif, including the custodianship of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan over the Muslim and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem.

Yesterday, 2 June, witnessed raids by the Israeli occupying forces on the compound, as well as by more than one thousand extremist Israeli settlers, who marched to the compound in an aggressive manner, blatantly inciting against Palestinians, to mark what Israelis call “Jerusalem Day”, which coincides with the anniversary of Israel’s seizure and occupation of East Jerusalem in the June 1967 war. More than 45 Palestinian civilians were injured as the Israeli occupying forces violently assaulted and forcibly dispersed Muslim worshippers, detained several worshippers, and even locked the doors to the mosques preventing the faithful from entering for prayer.

We stress once again the detrimental impact of such aggressive and provocative actions, which have exacerbated tensions and are endangering the fragile situation on the ground. Such attacks and provocations risk transforming this political, territorial conflict into a religious one with potentially grave consequences. Such an outcome must be averted, requiring immediate attention and action by the international community. The Security Council in particular must uphold its Charter duties and give due attention to this matter, which clearly threatens international peace and security.

The Security Council must act responsibly and speak firmly with one voice to demand a cessation of all provocations, incitement, inflammatory rhetoric and illegal actions. It must demand respect for its resolutions, including resolution 2334 (2016) and other resolutions relevant to the status of Jerusalem, which have clearly reaffirmed the status of East Jerusalem as occupied territory and reaffirmed repeatedly the applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention and the prohibition of all measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the City. Accountability is fundamental for stopping the impunity we witness rising by the day.

The need for action by the international community is of paramount urgency. Here, we must reiterate that words alone will not compel Israel to abide by international law and the relevant UN resolutions and that serious, collective action is needed to prevent further destabilization, to save civilian lives, and to salvage the prospects for a just and peaceful solution to this conflict.

The Israeli military occupation of Palestine must be brought to an end. This 52-year, illegal occupation has caused immense suffering and misery for the Palestinian people, who have endured relentless violations and denial of their fundamental human rights; mounting oppression, loss of life and injury, and humiliation; and the rabid colonization of their land with settlements and settlers, walls and checkpoints, home and property demolitions, and theft of their land and natural resources. They have endured constant assaults on their human dignity and their holy sites. And, yet, they have remained patient and hopeful that international law and human decency and morality would triumph and they would soon know justice and freedom in their homeland with the realization of their inalienable rights.

Reinforcing the waning patience and hope of the Palestinian people and restoring their conviction in international law, requires immediate action by the international community to address this critical situation. Urgent efforts are needed to bring a halt to Israel’s violations and provocations, to protect civilian lives, and to ensure respect of the historic status quo at Jerusalem’s holy sites, including at Al-Haram Al-Sharif. Moreover, serious action is needed to halt and reverse the prevailing negative and dangerous trends, including offensive attempts by the occupying Power and its supporters to normalize its illegal policies of colonization and annexation. The international community must impose consequences for such flagrantly unlawful behavior and contempt of the Security Council.

Only responsible, collective action can help to de-escalate tensions and revive the potential for the opening of a credible political horizon towards bringing an end to the Israeli occupation that began in 1967 and achieving a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in accordance with the relevant United Nations resolutions, the Madrid principles and the Arab Peace Initiative that ensures the fulfillment of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and their legitimate national aspirations, including to independence and freedom in their State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital. We implore the international community to act before we have reached the point of no return in realizing this long-delayed objective in accordance with the longstanding international consensus.

This letter is in follow-up to our 666 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 16 May 2019 (A/ES-10/813-S/2019/—), 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, 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