Excerpts from a letter to the international community from Rafat Badran, the father of a young Palestinian boy, Mahmoud Badran, who was brutally murdered by the Israeli occupying forces on 21 June 2016:

Mahmoud Badran1Last Friday, my wife Amal and I lived our greatest nightmare when we buried our precious son Mahmoud. He was 15 years old.

A few days earlier, he was enjoying an evening of relative normalcy, an occurrence all too rare in the life of a Palestinian child. It was the Holy Month of Ramadan, and after spending time celebrating with our family, Mahmoud, along with his friends and cousins, ventured out to a local village pool. After swimming for several hours, the group piled into the car to return home, smiling and fatigued, relishing some relief from the pervasive and cruel conditions of Israeli military occupation. And then suddenly, Israeli soldiers riddled the car Mahmoud was riding in with bullets, hitting several of the children. Four of them are still recovering from their wounds. Mahmoud was killed. [Read more…]

Statement by H.E. 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, 12 July 2016:

Mr. President,

At the outset, we congratulate Japan on its skilled leadership as President of the Security Council and express appreciation for the convening of this important open debate. I also thank the United Nations Special Coordinator, Mr. Nikolay Mladenov, for his valuable briefing to the Council.

Mr. President,

The Security Council is meeting against the backdrop of an extremely volatile and tense situation on the ground in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and ongoing deadlock in the efforts to create a viable political horizon to resolve for once and for all this deadly, destructive and tragic conflict. It is also meeting against the backdrop of ongoing regional and international initiatives aimed at salvaging the two-State solution and the prospects for peace and charting a way forward for their realization. Regrettably, however, for various reasons, none of those initiatives have come to fruition and the political will to act responsibly and boldly – in line with international law and relevant United Nations resolutions, in the interest of justice and human rights, and for the sake of peace and security – remains perilously absent.

The Arab States continue to stretch their hand in peace, supporting the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, including to self-determination and independence, while also striving to open a new era of peace, stability and security in our region. For over 14 years, the Arab Peace Initiative has offered a bold path forward and yet Israel, the occupying Power, remains intransigent, belittling this most significant initiative and failing to reciprocate time and time again and obstructing the revival of a political horizon on its basis. [Read more…]

22 June 2016 – More Palestinian Children Tragically Killed by Israel

160622 Palestine LetterExcellency,

Since our last letter to you, on 16 June 2016, the Palestinian people, including children, have continued to be killed, injured and terrorized as a result of Israel’s ongoing violations of international law, humanitarian law and human rights law throughout the Occupied State of Palestine, including East Jerusalem.    Unprotected, despite the very clear provisions of international law according protection to civilians under foreign occupation, the Palestinian people continue to endure countless human rights violations and war crimes at the hands of the Israeli occupying forces. Tensions have consequently remained high and anger, fear and frustration among our people are rising as the faith that peace can ever be achieved continues to fade more with each passing day.

Each letter that we send to Your Excellency, not only contains a list of just some of the crimes committed by the occupying Power against the Palestinian people and their land, but it tragically contains names and stories of innocent lives that were lost at the hands of the occupation. And with each name and story, a new cycle of hate and anger fester among an occupied people who have been left defenseless against a monstrous occupying Power that unleashes it lethal weaponry against them on a daily basis. No doubt Israel, the occupying Power, has been bolstered by the culture of impunity and lawlessness that continues to prevail due to the failure by the international community to hold Israel accountable for any of its violations and crimes against the Palestinian people and throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem. Such impunity has not only absolved Israel from its legal obligations as an occupying Power, but has emboldened its continued perpetration of crimes without fear of punishment. [Read more…]

16 June 2016 – Israeli Collective Punishment Measures against the Palestinian People

Excellency,160616 Palestine Letter

Tensions continue to escalate in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, due to the unrelenting, illegal and repressive practices being carried out by Israel, the occupying Power, against the Palestinian people it has been holding captive under its nearly five-decade long occupation.

For the Palestinian people living under Israeli occupation, there is never a moment of peace or security.  Besides the suffocating control of nearly every aspect of daily life, precluding any sense of normalcy, the occupying Power seems determined to do all that it can to make their already-difficult living conditions as unbearable as possible. I draw attention, for example, to an incident that occurred yesterday, 15 June 2016, when the occupying Power deliberately cut crucial water supplies to large areas of the occupied West Bank, leaving tens of thousands of Palestinians without access to safe drinking water. [Read more…]

7 June 2016 – 49 Years of Occupation

Excellency,160607 Palestine Letter

Yesterday, Muslims worldwide, including Palestinian Muslims in the Occupied Palestine, including East Jerusalem, marked the first day of the Holy Month of Ramadan.  This year, Ramadan began one day after Palestinians, Muslim and Christian alike, tragically marked the passage of 49 years since the onset of the Israeli military occupation of the Palestinian and Arab lands on 5 June 1967.  This somber anniversary, which comes just weeks following the observance of the 68th year since the 1948 Al-Nakba, is yet another painful reminder of the injustice imposed on the Palestinian people and the continued inability of the international community to fulfill its obligations under the United Nations Charter, international law and relevant resolutions to bring an end to this illegitimate occupation and to justly resolve the question of Palestine in all its aspects and to ensure the realization of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, including the right to self-determination and freedom in their own independent State of Palestine, including East Jerusalem, rights which they have for too long been denied.

Clearly, the failure to hold Israel, the occupying Power, accountable for its grave breaches of the law and ongoing brutal subjugation of the Palestinian people has protracted and exacerbated this conflict, with grave consequences on human lives and on the prospects for peace and stability.  This is starkly reflected in the current situation on the ground in Occupied Palestine, including East Jerusalem, where Israel’s illegal policies and practices continue to detrimentally affect every aspect of life for the Palestinian civilian population, who continue to endure, inter alia, death, injury, dispossession, displacement and countless other human rights abuses at the hands of a merciless occupying Power. [Read more…]

19 May 2016 – Palestine Letter on Jerusalem Panel in Israeli Exhibit at the UN

Excellency,

I write to you today regarding an issue that has been already raised by the Chairs of the Arab Group and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on behalf of their Member States, respectively in letters conveyed on 18 May 2016 to Your Excellency, about the display of a panel depicting Occupied East Jerusalem as “The Spiritual and Physical Capital of the Jewish People” as part of a larger provocative Israeli exhibit at the United Nations in New York.

While we had hoped that the collective, multilateral approach undertaken by the Arab Group and the OIC would have resulted in rectification of the situation, it regrettably has not as of today, obliging us to once again draw your attention to the matter, to express our vehement rejection of such a depiction, and to reiterate the calls made by the Arab Group and the OIC for the removal of the said provocative panel on Jerusalem.  We must add that any references to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, which purport to assert Israeli sovereignty on this land, must also be removed from the exhibit. [Read more…]

16 May 2016 – Anniversary of Al-Nakba

Excellency,160516 Palestine Letters

Yesterday, 15 May 2016, marked the passage of 68 years since Al-Nakba, the tragedy in 1948 in which more than 800,000 Palestinians, 70 percent of our people, were forcibly uprooted and expelled from their homes and lands or fled in fear for their lives after brutal massacres were carried out in over 400 Palestinian towns and villages by Zionist terrorist groups in Mandate Palestine in a clear act of ethnic cleansing. On this solemn occasion, the Palestinian people reflect on their past and their present with sadness and sorrow as they continue to suffer and struggle for the realization of their inalienable human rights, including their right to self-determination. [Read more…]

28 April 2016 – Extrajudicial Executions of Maram and her Brother Ismail

Palestine Letters GENERALExcellency,

Once again, we write to Your Excellency to address the critical situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, as a result of the grave breaches of international humanitarian and human rights laws being committed by Israel, the occupying Power, against the Palestinian people it continues to hold hostage to its nearly five-decade military occupation. We continue to call on the international community, especially the Security Council, to uphold its obligations to respect and ensure respect of international law in order to immediately halt all Israeli violations against the Palestinian people and their land and to take the necessary measures to prevent the situation from deteriorating even further. [Read more…]

Statement by H.E. Ambassador Dr. Riyad Mansour, Permanent Observer of the State of Palestine to the United Nations, before the United Nations Security Council, Open Debate on the Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestine question, New York, 18 April 2016:

Mr. President,

At the outset, I express the State of Palestine’s congratulations to China on its skilled leadership as the presidency of the Security Council this month and express appreciation for the convening of this important open debate. I also thank the Secretary-General of the United Nations, H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon, for his briefing on the current situation and for his continuous efforts to address this longstanding issue on the UN agenda in the interest of peace and justice.

Mr. President,

Since our last debate in January, we have addressed the Security Council on a near weekly basis regarding the critical situation in Occupied Palestine, including East Jerusalem, as a result of Israel’s illegal and destructive policies and measures. In each communication to this august Council, we have tried to draw urgent attention to the grave breaches of international humanitarian law and human rights violations being systematically committed by the occupying Power, including its occupying forces and terrorist settlers. We have equally appealed for urgent action, in line with international law, to compel Israel to halt its crimes and violations, which are inflicting widespread suffering on the Palestinian civilian population, further inflaming tensions and destabilizing the situation, destroying the two-State solution and sabotaging the chances for a peaceful solution. [Read more…]

15 April 2016 – Illegal Israeli Settlements

Palestine Letter 4.15.16Excellency,

As the Security Council is set to hold yet another open debate next week to discuss the “Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestine question”, one characteristic remains the same, Israel, the occupying Power, continues to flagrantly flout international law and violate the inalienable and most basic human rights of the Palestinian people under its occupation throughout the Occupied State of Palestine, including East Jerusalem, with total impunity.  In particular, one feature of the occupation that has gone unchanged over the nearly five decades of occupation is that the occupying Power has continued to illegally confiscate and colonize  Palestinian land in grave breach of international law, including humanitarian and human rights law, as well as the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

Despite the widespread condemnations and calls by the international community to reverse and halt its building of settlements on the territory it illegally occupies, the occupying Power, before the eyes of the world, continues to carry on and openly persist with this war crime.  This has been the case both during the time of the so-called peace process, in which the Palestinian people witnessed Israel’s extremist settler population nearly triple, or in times of conflict and unrest. The recent period has been no different.  In fact, according to the Israeli organization, Peace Now, the building of illegal Israeli settlements was up by 250 percent in the first quarter of 2016 compared to the same period last year.  [Read more…]