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


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


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]


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



[v] Ibid








[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


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


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…]

28 April 2017 – Illegal Settlements and the Hunger Strike

Palestine Letters 170428


Regrettably, conditions in the Occupied State of Palestine, including East Jerusalem, continue to deteriorate and tensions continue to rise, as Israel, the occupying Power, persists with its illegal practices, in breach of international law, including humanitarian and human rights law, causing hardships and suffering to the Palestinian civilian population and undermining the contiguity and viability of the Palestinian territory.

Yet another provocative announcement was made this week by the Israeli Housing Ministry regarding plans for the illegal construction of more Israeli settlements on our land. This includes the decision by the so-called “Jerusalem Municipality” to advance a plan to build approximately 10,000 settlement units on land belonging to the Palestinian village of Qalandiya. Further plans reported include: the expropriation of more Palestinian land in Ras Al-Amud in Occupied East Jerusalem to build a so-called information and visitor center to serve the Jewish Cemetery adjacent to Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound; a plan to expand the “Shilo” settlement to accommodate settlers evacuated from the “Amona” settlement that was built on private Palestinian land; and the establishment of a new settlement installation near the “Adam” settlement northeast of East Jerusalem. [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, 20 April 2017

Mme. President,

At the outset, I congratulate you on your assumption of the Security Council Presidency, confident of the United States’ skilled guidance of the Council’s important work. I also express our appreciation to the United Kingdom for its leadership of the Council in the month of March.

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

Before making my national statement, I wish to note that, while the State of Palestine is Arab Group Chair for April, the Council of Arab Ambassadors has decided that Jordan, in its capacity as Host and President of the 2017 Arab Summit, shall deliver today’s statement on behalf of the Group. We align ourselves with that statement, as well as the NAM and OIC statements.

Mme. President,

We meet at a time of simmering crises, rising tensions, and declining optimism about prospects for Middle East peace. At the heart of the instability in our region remains the Palestine question, a grave injustice that continues without remedy, causing misery to millions, and that continues to pose a threat to international peace and security.

The persistence of this injustice also continues to fuel perceptions of bias and double-standards and to be exploited by extremist elements to justify their vile actions and as a recruitment tool. There can be no discussion of countering extremist terror and stabilizing the region without recognizing this fact, as well as the imperative of addressing the root causes of our region’s conflicts, in order to fully resolve them and allow us to enter a new era in the Middle East.

That said, it is beyond clear: The Palestinian-Israeli conflict is about the denial of a people’s inalienable rights and a prolonged foreign occupation; it is not a conflict arising from incitement or terror. A territorial solution and fulfillment of rights are what will solve the conflict – ending the Israeli occupation of our land and realizing Palestinian national aspirations and rights, including to self-determination and freedom and a just solution for the Palestine refugees, in conformity with international law, the relevant UN resolutions, the Madrid principles and the Arab Peace Initiative.

Mme. President,

The Security Council has a role and responsibility to foster such a just and peaceful solution, consistent with its Charter mandate. Resolution 2334 (2016) is the most recent articulation of the Council’s positions, decisions and determination in this regard and reflects the longstanding international consensus on this issue.

We reiterate: Resolution 2334 is not anti-Israel; it is anti-settlements, anti-violence, anti-violation of international law, and is thus actually and clearly pro-peace and pro-two-States – Palestine and Israel – and was globally welcomed as such. The resolution provides the most viable path to preserve the two-State solution on the 1967 lines and create the necessary conditions to end the occupation, justly resolve the conflict in all aspects, and make Palestinian-Israeli peace and security a reality.

We call once again for full respect of resolution 2334. In this connection, we welcome the Secretary-General’s report pursuant to the resolution, as orally delivered on 24 March 2017. Yet, we reiterate the expectation for written reports to ensure proper documentation of implementation of the resolution’s provisions and of the developments promoting or obstructing its objectives.

Also, while the report rightly reiterated the call for complete cessation of illegal Israeli settlement activities; reiterated the call for cessation of violence and incitement; reaffirmed the global consensus on the two-State solution and noted ongoing international efforts to promote it; and reflected on the worrying reality on the ground; we believe further analysis, based on international law and the context of the occupation, as well as recommendations to rectify the negative trends, are required in future reports to assist the Council in upholding its duties. We await the next report in June, coinciding with the marking of 50 years of the occupation.

Mme. President,

We condemn Israel’s disrespect of Security Council decisions, as evidenced in its flagrant violations of resolution 2334. Thousands of violations have been deliberately carried out, including the advancement of at least 6,000 more settlement units in the months since the resolution’s adoption – even the establishment of a new settlement – along with other violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem. Settlement activities are eroding the two-State solution based on the 1967 lines and must stop immediately in all manifestations, as demanded by the Council. The colonization, fragmentation, and annexation of our land will never bring peace.

Here, we also recall the clear affirmations by the Council that “it will not recognize any changes to the 4 June 1967 lines, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties through negotiations”; and reiterate as well the call upon all States “to distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967”. Actions consistent with these provisions are more urgent than ever.

Each day, as more violations entrench the occupation, hope and potential for a solution are gravely diminished. At the same time, Israel’s contempt diminishes the Council’s own stature and credibility, seriously compromising its ability to act with authority in other crises around the world.

How can this situation be acceptable to anyone, least of all Council members? Security Council resolutions must be implemented without exception. As in any other case, Israel must comply with Council demands and its legal obligations, or be held accountable. It cannot continue to be absolved of responsibility for its crimes and violations, its perpetuation of the conflict, and its obstruction of peace.

Mme. President,

I must turn now to the human dimension of this conflict and the endless suffering being caused to the Palestinian people, young and old, by this illegal and brutal occupation at the hands of the Israeli occupying forces and extremist Israeli settlers.

As we meet today, more than one thousand Palestinians are on hunger strike in non-violent protest of their captivity, inhumane treatment and torture by Israel. This hunger strike, led by Marwan Barghouti, a Palestinian parliamentarian and leader, jailed for 15 years now, aims to call attention to the plight of the over 6,500 Palestinians imprisoned or arbitrarily detained, including men, women, youth, children and elected officials, and to secure legitimate rights being denied to them by Israel, in grave breach of the 4th Geneva Convention.

We call for international solidarity with our prisoners in this peaceful effort to compel Israeli compliance with the law and respect for their human rights and to avert the dangerous consequences of deterioration of this situation. We believe that the ICRC can play a positive, facilitating role and urge all necessary efforts in this regard. Moreover, we stress that the release of our prisoners and detainees is indispensable for peace, one of the most important indicators of the readiness to end the oppression and occupation and create peace and coexistence.

Today, we must also remind the Council of the appalling situation of captivity of 2 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip under Israel’s illegal blockade in an act of massive collective punishment, a crime against humanity. For nearly 10 years, an entire population has been imprisoned, denied freedom of movement, access to livelihoods, access to basic supplies, even vital medicines, deprived of clean water and energy, and forced to live in the ruins of war, as even reconstruction continues to be obstructed and at least 40,000 people remain displaced from the destruction caused by the 2014 Israeli aggression. We caution that hope is fading and despair rising in Gaza, and reiterate our call for an end to the blockade and for respect by Israel of its obligations as an occupying Power under international humanitarian law.

Mme. President,

Our calls for respect of international law go hand in hand with our readiness to engage in negotiations to achieve peace. The Palestinian leadership has clearly committed itself to negotiations and has acted in good faith in over two decades of peace processes. We are insistent, however, on international law as the foundation and guarantor of peace. Resolution 2334 fully recognized this and the Palestinian leadership is committed to respect of that resolution.

We are engaging with all efforts to advance a just solution. This includes engagement with the new US administration of President Trump. Several Arab leaders have met with the President since the Arab Summit, reaffirming their commitment to peace, in line with the Arab Peace Initiative, which marked its 15th anniversary last month, was remarkably renewed again, and still awaits reciprocation by Israel. President Abbas will also soon travel to Washington, ready to engage in political dialogue with the US and all other concerned partners, including the Quartet, to launch a credible political horizon, on a clear basis and in a set timeframe, that will lead to a solution that ends the Israeli occupation and achieves the independence of the State of Palestine, with its capital East Jerusalem, based on the two-State solution on the 1967 lines, whereby the Palestinian and Israeli peoples can live side by side in peace and security.

At the same time, internally, we continue to pursue the development and strengthening of our national institutions and to also seek to heal the divisions in the Palestinian political system. We hope that ongoing reconciliation efforts will come to fruition, recognizing the imperative of unity for achievement of our legitimate national aspirations.

Mme. President,

Failure to justly resolve the Palestine question, the crux of the Arab-Israeli conflict, has brought us to several regrettable milestones in this year: the 50th year of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip and other Arab territories in June of 1967; 100 years since the Balfour Declaration; 70 years since the General Assembly’s decision to partition Mandate Palestine by its resolution 181 (II), which led to the Nakba of the Palestinian people that continues to this day; and 10 years of Israel’s inhumane blockade of Gaza.

The status quo is far beyond unsustainable. This is starkly shown by the prisoners’ hunger strike; the immense despair in Gaza; the high tensions in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, as Israel’s settlement and wall construction, demolition of Palestinian homes, violent military raids and arrest campaigns, and Israeli settler terror and provocations against our civilians continue unabated; and the painful tragedies being endured by our refugees throughout the region.

It is an explosive situation requiring immediate action to uphold the law, reverse the deterioration on the ground, and avert further crises. We thus call again for responsible, collective efforts to advance a genuine peace process to achieve, without delay, the end of the Israeli occupation that began in 1967 and the just, lasting and comprehensive peace we have long sought. We appeal to the international community, with the Security Council at the forefront, to heed our appeals and to act urgently on their obligations in order to restore hope in the possibility of peace and to actually make it a reality.

I thank you, Mme. President.

13 April 2017 – Palestinian Prisoners Day


Today, I write to bring your attention to the critical plight of thousands of Palestinian civilians being held captive in jails and detention centers of Israel, the occupying Power.

On Monday, 17 April, Palestinians all over the world, including those living in the occupied State of Palestine, including East Jerusalem, will observe “Prisoners’ Day” in solidarity with the more than 6,500 Palestinians, including 53 women and 300 children, currently imprisoned by Israel, among them nearly 700 being held in administrative detention without charge. These Palestinians are among the more than 800,000 Palestinians, including children, kidnapped and imprisoned by the occupying Power across fifty years of occupation since 1967 in its nearly daily military raids and arrest and detention campaigns, targeting the entire population, men, women and children, with male youth especially vulnerable.  Regrettably, Israel’s arrest campaigns have intensified in the past two years and continue unabated, effectively turning every part of Palestine into some form of prison, detention camp or interrogation facility. [Read more…]