5 November 2014 – Jerusalem: Continued Israeli Provocations and Illegal Settlements

Excellency,

I have been instructed to once again draw your urgent attention to the critical situation and dangerously rising tensions in Occupied East Jerusalem due to the continuation of illegal actions, consisting of provocations and incitement by Israel, the occupying Power, including in particular by right-wing Israeli government officials, extremist settlers and religious zealots, against the Palestinian people, their land and their holy places.  Provocations and incitement have intensified in both frequency and aggressiveness in the recent weeks and continue to aggravate religious sensitivities and the fragile and volatile situation on the ground, threatening to precipitate a religious conflict and to plunge the region into further instability and violence.

For the second time in a week, Israeli occupying forces sealed Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, preventing the entry of Palestinian worshippers.  This provocative action set off another round of clashes between Palestinians and Israeli extremists, who continue to agitate at this Holy Site. In what can only be seen as a clear attempt to stoke already-high tensions, early this morning, a group of Israeli extremists, protected by more than 300 Israeli occupying forces, stormed the compound firing stun grenades and rubber-coated bullets at Palestinian worshippers, causing serious injuries to at least 30 people, inflicting serious injuries on two of the worshippers.  Moreover, it was reported that Israeli extremists entered Al-Aqsa mosque with their shoes on in a shameful sign of disrespect and with the purpose to infuriate Palestinian worshippers while eyewitnesses at the scene reported that occupying forces threw books of the Holy Quran on the floor. [Read more...]

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. [Read more...]

27 October 2014 – Israeli Provocations and Settlements Occupied East Jerusalem

Excellency,

I write to urgently draw your attention, yet again, to the dangerously escalating tensions in Occupied East Jerusalem, the capital of the State of Palestine.  The illegal policies and the constant provocations and incitement by Israel, the occupying Power, and its settlers and other extremists against the Palestinian people, their land and their holy places are exacerbating already-high tensions, risking further turmoil and destabilization of the extremely fragile situation on the ground, as reflected in the growing number of protests and clashes, particularly in Occupied East Jerusalem.

In grave breach of international law and in total contempt of the repeated international demands for cessation, Israel, the occupying Power, continues its illegal settlement campaign, which is clearly aimed at entrenching its illegitimate control over the Palestinian land it has belligerently occupied since 1967 and systematically destroying the two-State solution. This relentless colonization campaign has been most flagrant in Occupied East Jerusalem, with continued seizure of Palestinian properties, violent attacks on Palestinian civilians, demolition of Palestinian homes, forced displacement of Palestinian residents of the City, and provocative declarations regarding the construction of settlements. [Read more...]

20 October 2014 – Terrorist Settler run over and kill 5 year old Palestinian girl

Excellency,

Pursuant to my letter of 14 October 2014, I am compelled to place on record our absolute condemnation of the criminal, deadly actions being perpetrated by extremist terrorist settlers illegally transferred by Israel, the occupying Power, to the Palestinian land, as well as continued Israeli incitement and provocations against holy sites, in particular in East Jerusalem, in what appear to be a deliberate attempts to exacerbate already-volatile tensions and create further instability.

On a nearly daily basis, Israeli settlers continue with their terror rampages, persisting with attacks on Palestinian civilians, destruction of properties, and theft of land and natural resources.  The latest terrorist crime by a settler occurred yesterday, 20 October 2014, when a setter ran over two young girls who were walking home from school in the West Bank town of Sinjil  in a so-called “hit and run” accident.  Kindergarten student Inas Khalil, age 5, and Nilin Asfour, age 8, had just gotten off the school bus and were walking to their mothers who were waiting for them on the opposite side of the street when an Israeli settler’s car rammed directly at them and sped away.  Inas and Nilin were both rushed to the hospital.   Tragically, 5-year-old Inas was pronounced dead a couple of hours later, while Nilin still remains in critical condition.  We condemn this brutal act of Israeli settler terrorism, and we call on the international community to unequivocally condemn this and all other such attacks and terror against Palestinian children under Israeli occupation. [Read more...]

14 October 2014 – Clashes at Al-Aqsa Mosque and other Israeli Violations

Excellency,

I write to alert you to the critical situation and continuously rising tensions in the Occupied State of Palestine, including East Jerusalem, as a result of Israel’s relentless illegal policy and oppressive actions against the Palestinian people. On a daily basis, the occupying Power persists with its grave violations of international law, including rampant settlement activities, dispossession of Palestinian civilians, violent military raids, including into schools, daily detention and arrest of Palestinians, constant provocations, including incitement at holy sites and destruction of Palestinian property by extremist Israeli settlers, as well as the illegal blockade on the Gaza Strip.  All of these violations are exacerbating already-volatile conditions and heightening tensions, which threaten to completely destabilize the situation on the ground.

I would first wish to draw your attention to Israel’s incitement and provocations against holy sites in Occupied East Jerusalem, namely at Al-Haram Al-Sharif (the Noble Sanctuary) which houses the holy Al-Aqsa Mosque and Qubbat Al-Sakhra (Dome of the Rock).  In yet another dangerous development, yesterday, 13 October, right-wing Deputy Speaker of the Israeli Knesset and member of the Prime Minister’s party, Moshe Feiglin, protected by hundreds of Israeli occupying forces, yet again entered Al-Aqsa Mosque, leading to violent clashes, with innocent Palestinian worshippers injured by stun grenades and rubber-coated bullets.   It should be noted that Feiglin is a controversial figure whose provocative and racist words and actions against the Palestinian people have been the source of repeated incitement.  He is well-known for his advocacy for Palestinian displacement and hate-filled speeches openly made against Palestinians and Arabs as a whole.

It should be mentioned that this latest provocation comes on the heels of clashes that occurred last week when Israeli forces stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque and forcibly removed worshippers, attacking some of them with clubs, and firing tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets.   Some of the stun grenades were fired into Al-Aqsa Mosque itself, causing a fire to break out and causing damage to the holy site.  Moreover, the occupying Power had even locked Palestinian worshipers in the Al-Aqsa Mosque, preventing them from leaving.  It is transparent and as was stated by Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, Member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), that Israel is attempting to create a new reality at the expense of the Palestinians, their religious rights, sites and historical identity and are violating the sanctity of religious sites without consequence.

We reiterate the dangers of such continuous provocations and incitement in or near Al-Aqsa Mosque, the first qibla and third holiest site in Islam.  Further provocations will only inflame already-high tensions and anger among the Palestinian people and beyond, with dangerous ramifications.  In this regard, we underscore the importance of clear messages of condemnation andrejection of such violations and provocations, such as those made recently by Your Excellency “deeply concerned by repeated provocations at the holy sites in Jerusalem” adding that “these only inflame tensions and must stop.”  It should be also noted that the occupying Power is carrying out the same illegal actions in relation to Al-Ibrahimi Mosque in Al-Khalil (Hebron) where worshipers are continuously prevented from praying inside by Israeli occupying forces and settlers.

Accordingly, all such acts of incitement against the holy sites in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, as well as acts of provocation against the Palestinian people by the occupying Power, whether it be by the Government of Israel, its occupying forces or its illegal settlers, warrant serious and immediate attention by the international community, including by the Security Council, in line with its primary Charter duty for the maintenance of international peace and security and in line with its numerous relevant resolutions calling for a cessation of all Israeli measures aimed at altering the character, legal status and demography of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including of East Jerusalem.

In this regard, serious attention must be given to the continuing rampages of terror being perpetrated by Israeli settlers, persisting with attacks on Palestinian civilians, destruction of properties, and theft of land and natural resources.  Yesterday, 13 October, several Palestinians were injured when clashes broke out as more than 300 Israeli settlers, escorted by hundreds of Israeli occupying forces, broke into the holy site of Joseph’s tomb in Nablus to perform religious rituals. One Palestinian was shot and injured and many others were seriously hurt, including a 16-year-old boy. In addition, on 9 October, Israeli settlers uprooted and destroyed dozens of Palestinian olive trees near the village of Hosan, west of Bethlehem. Settler lawlessness and the failure of the Israeli Government to reign them in and hold them accountable for their crimes starkly reflects Israel’s complete disinterest in peace based on the two-State solution.  I also wish to bring to your attention the fact that the occupying Power continues with its inhumane and illegal policy of evicting Palestinian families.  Last week, the occupying Power, served eviction orders to 20 families living in Al-Burj and Al-Ras Al-Ahmar in the northern Jordan Valley.

 At this time, I would like to turn your attention to the humanitarian disaster that still exists in the occupied Gaza Strip following the more than 50-day criminal Israeli military aggression, which wrought massive human devastation and physical destruction in all areas.  In this regard, we welcome the successful convening and conclusion of the International Conference on the Reconstruction of Gaza hosted by Egypt and Norway in Cairo and express our hope that the generous donations pledged will be rapidly disbursed for the urgently needed reconstruction to commence under the supervision of the Palestinian National Consensus Government in collaboration with the United Nations.  We also continue to reiterate our calls for the full lifting of the Israeli blockade for reconstruction and rehabilitation without delay and for the Palestinian people in Gaza to truly begin to rebuild their lives and communities.

 Given the above, we call on the international community, including the Security Council, to give immediate attention to the rising tensions and the critical situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in East Jerusalem.  Serious efforts must be made to demand and ensure Israel’s compliance with international law, relevant United Nations resolutions and the will of the international community before the situation further deteriorates. To remain silent in the face of such gross violations is unacceptable and will only bolster Israel’s impunity and send the wrong message to the occupying Power that it can continue to flout international law as it wishes without consequence.  The time has to come to bring an end to Israel’s almost five decade old occupation and to all of its crimes against the unprotected Palestinian civilian population and their land.

This letter is in follow-up to our 523 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 2 October  2014 (A/ES-10/659-S/2014/716) 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

2 October 2014 – Settlements and other Israeli Violations

Excellency,

I regret to inform you of the continuing turmoil and deterioration of the situation in the Occupied State of Palestine, including East Jerusalem, due to illegal and provocative policies that continue to be pursued by Israel, the occupying Power.  These illegal policies continues to negatively impact and prejudice the situation on the ground, to cause suffering and hardship for the Palestinian people and to inflame already heightened tensions between the two sides.

The international community bears witness, yet again, to Israel’s fixation with its illegal settlement enterprise, which includes the destruction, theft and confiscation of Palestinian lands and properties, the construction and expansion of both settlements and the Wall, as well as the forced displacement of Palestinian families.  Just today, Israel announced that the construction of 2,610 new units for the illegal settlement of “Gi’vat Hamatos” in Beit Safafa in Occupied East Jerusalem that was approved in 2012 will now begin and that the government will publish tenders for construction.  If implemented, these plans would further isolate East Jerusalem from Bethlehem, while facilitating Israel’s attempts to link its illegal settlements of “Gilo” and “Har Homa.” Moreover, in recent weeks, the Israeli government announced plans to forcibly transfer approximately 13,000 Palestinian civilians from the Bedouin communities, the large majority constituting Palestine refugees, from their current areas of residence to the east of Jerusalem to an area near Jericho.  The plan to undertake such a forced transfer, in grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention, is also clearly and directly related to Israel’s illegal settlement schemes, particularly in the so-called “E1” area. [Read more...]

17 September 2014 – Critical Situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory

Excellency,

I am compelled to draw your attention to the very fragile, unstable situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem – the Territory that constitutes the State of Palestine – due to the continued illegal policies and practices being pursued by Israel, the occupying Power, in grave breach of international law, including humanitarian and human rights law, and in blatant disregard of the appeals and demands of the international community.

While the suffering and hardships of the Palestinian people are growing exponentially under the impact of these illegal and punitive Israeli measures, the diminished prospects for peace are further dwindling.  The consequences of inaction are far-reaching, especially in light of the volatile situation on the ground and throughout the region, and require urgent attention and action by the international community to redress this ongoing injustice and to salvage the prospects for peace. [Read more...]

2 September 2014 – Illegal Settlement Activities and Destruction of Peace

Excellency,

In every action and word, Israel, the occupying Power, is proving its total rejection of peace, preferring instead to persist with its illegal settlement activities and annexation schemes, imposition of blockade, use of force, arrest and detention of civilians, and countless other measures of collective punishment and repression against the Palestinian civilian population under its 47-year military occupation. And, with every action and word, Israel is destroying what little viability remains of the two-State solution for peace on the basis of the pre-1967 borders.

In the span of a week since the cease-fire agreement in Cairo that brought an end to Israel’s criminal aggression on the Palestinian civilian population in the Gaza Strip, where thousands of Palestinians, including children and women, were slaughtered and wounded by the Israeli occupying forces and massive destruction was inflicted throughout Gaza, Israel, the occupying Power has carried on systematically with its vindictive, retaliatory and illegal behavior against the Palestinian people and their land, leaving no doubt as to its cynical, deliberate intentions to perpetuate its occupation by all unlawful means, while falsely claiming victimhood and a desire for peace. [Read more...]

27 August 2014 – Devastation in Gaza and Ceasefire

Excellency,

While there is broad relief that a Palestinian-Israeli ceasefire agreement has been reached as a result of the mediation efforts of Egypt after nearly two months of the Israeli onslaught against the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip, it is our somber duty to draw the attention of the international community to the deep suffering of the many victims and the wanton destruction caused by this Israeli military aggression, which continued throughout the days the ceasefire was being negotiated.  Even in the final hours, Israel persisted with its lethal use of force – its method of choice regarding any and every issue concerning the Palestinian people under its occupation – inflicting more loss and pain on innocent Palestinian civilians.

At least 12 Palestinians were killed in the last 24 hours before the ceasefire agreement was announced. Among those killed by the occupying forces were: Samer Hamad and Mohammed Dhaher, two utility workers, who were killed by an Israeli airstrike on a vehicle belonging to the Gaza electric company; Mohammed Muin Abu Ajwa and Hassan Omar Al-Sawwaf, who were killed by an Israeli missile strike targeting central Gaza City; Yousef Ghannam, Mohammed Al-Ribati and Ahmed Jarbou, who were killed in an airstrike on Al-Jneinah neighborhood of Rafah; and Mohammed Al-Zaanin, who was killed in an attack on Beit Hanoun.  Also killed yesterday in an airstrike was another journalist, Abdallah Murtaja, whose death brings to 17 the number of journalists killed by the occupying forces in this aggression against Gaza.

The continuation of Israeli airstrikes Monday night and yesterday has brought the death toll to 2,143 Palestinians, the overwhelming majority civilians, including children and women, and ensured that the number of injured Palestinians surpassed 11,000 people, many of whom have been critically wounded by Israel’s lethal weaponry and are struggling for their lives, and many of whom will not survive without life-saving medical treatments not available in Gaza. [Read more...]

25 August 2014 – More Death and Destruction by Israel, the occupying Power

Excellency,

I am compelled to again draw your attention to the horrific situation in the Occupied State of Palestine, as we enter the 51st day of the Israeli military aggression against the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip. In the four days since my last letter to you, Israel, the occupying Power, has not relented with its airstrikes against densely-populated civilian areas in Gaza, intentionally killing and injuring more Palestinian civilians, destroying more homes and infrastructure and displacing hundreds of more families in addition to the over half-million civilians already displaced by this Israeli onslaught against our people, the majority of whom continue to shelter in UNRWA schools. Specifically, the level of premeditated death and destruction imposed on the Gaza Strip by the occupying Power has surpassed merely immoral, inhumane behavior and constitutes war crimes and crimes against humanity, for which Israel must be fully held accountable.

The stories, photos and social media voices coming out of Gaza are horrifying and even those cannot convey the extent of the misery being deliberately inflicted by Israel on the Palestinian civilian population in grave breach of international humanitarian law.   The figures since the start of this barbaric aggression in early July now stand as follows: at least 2,130 Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli occupying forces in Gaza, including an estimated 577 children, 261 women and 101 elderly people.

Almost 10,870 other Palestinians, most civilians, have been injured including some 3,300 children, more than 2,000 women and roughly 400 elderly people. Of those killed during the past seven weeks of Israeli bombardment of Gaza, it is estimated that 90 families have been decimated, with the killing of 530 family members. These shocking figures do not include the dead that have yet to be recovered from the rubble of destroyed homes and buildings struck by Israeli missiles and bombs and do not include those who continue to tragically die from the wounds sustained in Israeli attacks. [Read more...]