30 October 2014 – Closure of Al-Haram Al-Sharif and Killings in East Jerusalem

Excellency,

The Security Council emergency session that was convened yesterday to address the crisis in Occupied East Jerusalem underscored the unanimous international concerns and condemnations regarding the provocations and incitement by Israel, the occupying Power, and its extremist settlers at holy sites in the City, as well as the illegality of Israeli settlement activities and all other measures aimed at altering the demography, character and status of the City.

All were in agreement about the gravity and the many dangers of the continuation of this illegal situation. And, all were in agreement about the urgent need to immediately diffuse tensions and to avert any further aggravation of religious sensitivities by ensuring respect for Holy Sites, with particular focus on Al-Haram Al-Sharif, home to Al-Aqsa Mosque, which continues to be targeted by Israeli provocation and incitement, and the need to uphold the historic status quo in this regard.

All were in agreement, with the exception of Israel, the occupying Power, which reaffirmed its flagrant disrespect for international law and United Nations resolutions, reaffirmed its rejection of the two-State solution on the pre-1967 borders, reaffirmed its contempt for the Security Council in specific, and crudely dismissed the concerns expressed by the international community and the calls for a cessation of illegal Israeli actions in Occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of Occupied Palestine.  In a brazen display of intransigence and arrogance, the Israeli representative mocked the Security Council and rejected the calls to cease the illegal measures and provocations, which have caused a spike in tensions and threaten to completely destabilize the situation, with far-reaching and grave consequences.

The continuation of provocative actions committed by the occupying Power in the immediate wake of the Security Council are therefore extremely alarming and warrant the attention of the international community.  In this regard, today, Israel completely sealed off the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound for the first time since 1967, preventing the entry of Palestinian worshippers and of at least 500 students who study in religious schools inside the compound and even preventing the entry of the Muezzin, who leads the Muslim call to prayer.  This unjust, extremely provocative action is inflaming tensions and deepening suspicions regarding Israel’s mal-intentions towards this Holy Site.

We urgently appeal to the international community to condemn this reckless action and to demand that Israel, the occupying Power, lift the closure of the compound and respect the freedom of religion and right to access of Palestinian worshipers and respect the status quo at Al-Haram Al-Sharif.  This situation must be immediately redressed to restore calm and de-escalate tensions, which have risen to dangerous levels.

In this connection, we firmly reject Israeli claims that such an action is justified in response the shooting of an Israeli extremist yesterday evening in the City.  We also condemn the extrajudicial execution of a Palestinian man, Muataz Ibrahim Hijazi, age 32, by the Israeli occupying forces in the dawn hours of today in direct retaliation for yesterday’s shooting.  The willful killing of Mr. Hijazi was witnessed by many at the scene of his home, which was raided and ransacked by the occupying forces.  Moreover, at least 15 people were injured when they attempted to take Mr. Hijazi to the hospital but were fired at by the occupying forces, using typical excessive and indiscriminate force against civilians.  In this regard, we must also draw attention to the killing of yet another Palestinian child, Orwa Abdelhadi Hammad, age 14, who was killed at close range and in cold-blood by Israeli sniper fire on 24 October in the village of Silwad.

The continuation of these Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people and the Holy Sites in Occupied East Jerusalem require immediate attention by the international community before the escalating tensions further unravel the already-volatile situation on the ground.  We reiterate our appeals to the international community, in particular the Security Council, to condemn these crimes and ongoing provocations and incitement and to demand that Israel, the occupying Power, desist forthwith from all illegal policies and measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of Occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of Occupied Palestine.

Urgent measures are required to hold Israel accountable for its violations of international law, including humanitarian and human rights law, with a view to ending its impunity and ultimately bringing an end to this illegal and dangerous situation.  Time is critical.  While the viability of the two-State solution has been gravely diminished by Israel’s illegal actions and schemes, the international community must not forgo the small opportunity that remains to salvage the two-State solution before it is too late.  We stress in specific the Security Council’s responsibility to act forthwith with all the tools at its disposal, based on its Charter duty for maintenance of international peace and security, to uphold its resolutions, to salvage the prospects for peace and to tangibly contribute to its realization and allow the Palestinian people to realize the freedom, justice and dignity they have been too long denied.

This letter is in follow-up to our 525 letters regarding the ongoing crisis in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, which constitutes the State of Palestine. These letters, dated from 29 September 2000 (A/55/432-S/2000/921) to 27 October  2014 (A/ES-10/xxx-S/2014/xxx) constitute a basic record of the crimes 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 distributed as a document of the tenth emergency special session of the General Assembly, under agenda item 5, and 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