Today, the Palestinian people somberly mark the 47th year of the Israeli military occupation. Regrettably, the gross oppression, colonization, violation of Palestinian human rights and denial of Palestinian national rights and aspirations that have characterized this occupation for decades since its onset in 1967, persist to this day as we witness the unrelenting crimes, provocations and intransigence of Israel, the occupying Power, in flagrant disrespect of international law and of the demands and will of the international community.
The Palestinian people and their leadership stand united in rejecting this illegitimate, belligerent and destructive occupation in all its manifestations and in appealing and striving for a peaceful, just and comprehensive solution, in accordance with international law and the relevant United Nations resolutions. That solution must guarantee the end of the Israeli occupation that began in June 1967 and the independence of the State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital, and ensure the fulfillment of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and the achievement of just solutions for all outstanding core issues. This position was clearly reaffirmed by the Palestinian national unity government sworn in by President Mahmoud Abbas on 2 June 2014.
Regrettably, this proven Palestinian commitment to a peaceful solution, whereby the State of Palestine and the State of Israel will live side by side in peace, security and coexistence on the basis of the pre-1967 borders, continues to be blatantly ignored by Israel. Instead, the occupying Power chooses to persist with its illegal policies and practices against the Palestinian people and their land, including its illegal settlement campaign. With every provocative announcement, arrogant, illogical decision and destructive action in this regard, Israel is entrenching its illegal occupation of the Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, destroying the Territory’s contiguity and viability and the prospects for realizing the two-State solution, rather than acting in good faith to end the occupation and make peace a reality.
Here, we must draw attention to the latest Israeli announcement of plans to construct another 1,500 settlement units in the West Bank, including at least 400 in Occupied East Jerusalem. In announcing these plans, the Housing Minister, who is a member of an extreme rightist party, declared that this step was being taken in retaliation to the formation of the new Palestinian unity government, thereby revealing not only the deliberate perpetration of this grave breach of Article 49 of the 4th Geneva Convention, but also of Article 33 of the said Convention, which prohibits acts of collective punishment, pillaging and reprisals by the occupying Power.
We call on the international community, including the Security Council as well as the General Assembly, in line with their respective Charter duties, to uphold their responsibilities and to act concertedly to address this crisis.
The relevant Security Council and General Assembly resolutions regarding Israel’s unlawful settlement campaign in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, must be respected and implemented. Israel, the occupying Power, must not continue to be absolved of its obligations as a Member State to respect the resolutions of the United Nations, nor absolved of its obligations under international law, including the 4th Geneva Convention and the core human rights conventions. Moreover, we recall the legal pronouncement of the International Court of Justice in its Advisory Opinion of 9 July 2004 on this matter and call for its respect. It is of utmost urgency that serious and practical efforts are undertaken to hold Israel accountable for its violations and repeated obstruction of all peace initiatives and to compel Israel to abandon its expansionist, colonization agenda and commit instead to the path of peace.
Before concluding, I must also draw attention to the continuing critical situation of thousands of Palestinian prisoners and administrative detainees being held captive by Israel, the occupying Power. In particular, we must stress the emergency situation of more than one hundred detainees and prisoners on hunger strike in protest of their captivity and the rampant abuses meted out against them by the occupying Power. The majority of these prisoners and detainees are in their 43rd day of hunger strike, endangering their health and lives, as they persist in peacefully demanding their rights. It has also been revealed that 60 of the hunger strikers have been transferred to solitary confinement, yet another cruel, unlawful form of punishment flagrantly used by Israel against Palestinian civilians in its prisons.
We thus reiterate our urgent call on the international community to compel Israel, the occupying Power, to cease its illegal use of administrative detention and all other illegal practices, including torture and solitary confinement, against Palestinian prisoners and detainees, as well as to persist in the global demands for the release of all Palestinian prisoners and detainees held by Israel, including the release of children, women and elected officials. The international community cannot remain silent while the critical situation continues to escalate and so many lives are at stake.
This letter is in follow-up to our 496 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 29 May 2014 (A/ES-10/629-S/2014/381) 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.
Dr. Riyad Mansour
Ambassador, Permanent Observer
of the State of Palestine to the United Nations