29 October 2020 – Israeli-U.S. Agreement and Illegal Israeli Settlements

Excellency,

Israel, the occupying Power, continues its violations and aggressions against the Palestinian people, entrenching its illegal colonial occupation, causing immense human suffering, and destroying the prospects for a just peace. With every passing day, it is trampling international law, mocking the international consensus, and dismantling the two-State solution on the pre-1967 borders. Regrettably this is being done with the full support and complicity of the current United States administration.

When it comes to the Palestine question, this US administration persists with its disrespect for international law and the resolutions and authority of the UN Security Council and absolute disregard for the rights of the Palestinian people. Following the provocative declaration made by the US Secretary of State in November 2019 that the Israeli settlements established in the Occupied Palestinian Territory are “not per se inconsistent with international law”, and following the issuance by the US President of his so-called “Vision for Peace”, which, inter alia, attempts to legitimize Israel’s theft and colonization of the Palestinian land, the US and Israel yesterday signed agreements extending further US recognition and support to the illegal Israeli settlement regime and ongoing annexation attempts.

The agreements signed directly violate UN resolutions, including Security Council resolution 2334 (2016) and all that preceded it, which affirmed the illegality of Israel’s settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and called upon all States not to recognize them as legitimate and not to render any assistance to the occupying Power in their maintenance. Moreover, this constitutes yet another step undermining the viability of the two-State solution and taking us yet farther away from the potential of a just, secure and lasting peace.

While being presented as mere “scientific cooperation” agreements, these agreements are cynically intended to bolster Israeli sovereignty claims in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, as well as the  Occupied Syrian Golan, by specifically extending US-Israeli cooperation to include the Israeli settlements, which had been excluded from previous such agreements. Not hiding the unlawful intentions in this regard, Israeli Minister Zeev Elkin provocatively declared yesterday that the agreements were “a big achievement for Israel’s sovereignty” and “another step towards international recognition of our rights” in the West Bank.

In this regard, we remind that Israel is not the sovereign in any part of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in East Jerusalem, the annexation of which is illegal, null and void, and without any legitimacy. Israel is the occupying Power and it is bound by the rules of international law, including international humanitarian law and specifically as proscribed by the Fourth Geneva Convention, and by the relevant UN resolutions, which it is obligated to respect in accordance with the Charter.

We further recall in this regard the provisions of Security Council resolution 2334 (2016), by which the Council, inter alia, unequivocally:

  • Reiterated “its demand that Israel immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, and that it fully respect all of its legal obligations in this regard”;
  • Underlined “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”;
  • Called upon States “to distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967”.

These are the demands of the Security Council, not simply the Palestinian narrative, and must be respected without exception. Moreover, these demands and the relevant resolutions remain at the core of the international consensus on the fundamental requirements and parameters for a just solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as reaffirmed yet again by one State after another at the Security Council debate held on 26 October 2020.

Here, we recall the ultimate aim of the international community’s efforts and Security Council legislation on this matter, an aim that was reaffirmed in resolution 2334 and continues to be reaffirmed in all relevant resolutions: to bring an end to the Israeli occupation that began in 1967 and to achieve a comprehensive, just and lasting peace on the basis of the relevant UN resolutions.

That objective is being gravely undermined every single day by the destructive policies and measures being enacted by Israel, the occupying Power, in the occupied State of Palestine, including East Jerusalem, in violation of international law and the rights of the Palestinian people, including their inalienable right to self-determination, and by support being given to this illegal occupation, which only allows it to continue expanding and entrenching itself, only further delaying the realization of a just solution and the fulfilment of Palestinian rights and freedom.

We call on the international community, including the Security Council and General Assembly of the United Nations, to act on their legal obligations and responsibilities to bring an end to this injustice. We call on the Security Council to uphold its Charter duties and live up to its determination to examine practical ways and means to secure the full implementation of its resolutions, including in regards to ongoing efforts to convene an international peace conference for this purpose. We also recall the Council’s determination, as affirmed in resolution 2334, “to support the parties throughout the negotiations and in the implementation of an agreement”.

In this context, we stress that creating an environment conducive to peace requires respect for the law and accountability. We call on all States not to recognize the illegitimate situation imposed by Israel, the occupying Power, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and not to render any aid or assistance in this regard. Moreover, we appeal for lawful countermeasures to ensure accountability. Only through consequences for the violation of the law and international consensus can we ever hope to bring a halt to these crimes and salvage the prospects for peace. We recall here the Human Rights Council’s database of businesses linked to the Israeli settlements, and reiterate our call for countries to, among other lawful measures, ban the import of settlement goods illegally produced in Occupied Palestine and with the exploitation of our natural resources.

We urge vigilance in regards of the obligation to differentiate between Israel and the territories it continues to occupy. Agreements signed between States and Israel must not cover any of the territories occupied by Israel since 1967. In this context, we also expect that the quarterly report of the UN Secretary-General on the implementation of Security Council resolution 2334 refer not only to steps taken in respect of this demand, but also in its violation. This is essential for ensuring an accurate reflection of the reality we are dealing with and ensuring the accountability that has been too long missing and that is a pillar of justice, without which peace is not possible.

I should be grateful if you would arrange to have this letter distributed as an official 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

Minister, Permanent Observer

Statement of H.E. President Mahmoud Abbas President of the State of Palestine UN General Assembly General Debate of the 75 th Session 25 September 2020

In the name of God, the Merciful,
H.E. Mr. Volkan Bozkir, President of the General Assembly
H.E. Mr. António Guterres, Secretary General
Ladies and Gentlemen, Heads and Members of delegations,

I wondered while preparing this statement what more could I tell you, after all that I have said in previous statements, about the perpetual tragedy and suffering being endured by my people – which the world is witness to daily – and about their legitimate aspirations – which are yet to be fulfilled – to freedom, independence and human dignity, as enjoyed by the peoples of the world.

Until when, ladies and gentlemen, will the question of Palestine remain without a just solution as enshrined in United Nations resolutions? Until when will the Palestinian people remain under Israeli occupation and will the question of millions of Palestine refugees remain without a just solution in accordance with what the United Nations has determined over 70 years ago?

Ladies and Gentlemen,
The Palestinian people have been present in their homeland, Palestine, the land of their ancestors, for over 6000 years, and they will continue living on this land, steadfast in the face of occupation, aggression and the disappointments and betrayals, until the fulfilment of their rights. Despite all they have endured and continue to endure, despite the unjust blockade that targets our national decision, we will not kneel or surrender and we will not deviate from our fundamental positions, and we shall overcome, God willing.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
We have accepted the rule of international law and UN resolutions, and we have done so in spite of the historic injustice that we have borne from 1917 to the present day, and even though these resolutions only acknowledged as Palestinian the territories occupied in 1967. Yet, the Israeli occupying Power, with the support of the present US administration, wants to substitute this basis for a just solution with the US ‘Deal of the Century’ and the planned annexation of over 33% of the land of the State of Palestine, in addition to the annexation of occupied East Jerusalem, including Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. We have rejected this deal, as did the international community, as it contravenes international law and
UN resolutions, which recognized, inter alia, the existence of the State of Palestine in 2012 as part of the international order.

We have always sought a just, comprehensive and lasting peace, and we have agreed to all the initiatives presented to us. I have personally dedicated my life to achieving this desired peace, notably since 1988, followed by the Madrid Conference and the Oslo Accords in 1993, and to this very day. We accepted and remained committed to the Arab Peace Initiative, as it provides for peace, security and coexistence once the occupation ends. We did all of this for peace.

What did Israel, the occupying Power, do in return? It violated all agreements signed with us, undermined the two-State solution through its oppressive practices of killing and maiming, arrests, home demolitions, asphyxiating our economy, and systematically acting to alter the character and identity of occupied Jerusalem, attacking its Muslim and Christian holy sites, notably Al-Aqsa Mosque, and pursuing its settler colonialism on our land and against our people, ignoring the Arab Peace Initiative for peace and actively attempting now to kill another opportunity for peace through reckless unilateral measures.

Finally, it announces normalization agreements with both the UAE and Bahrain, in violation of the Arab Peace Initiative, and the terms of reference of a comprehensive, lasting and just solution in accordance with international law. The Palestine Liberation Organization has not
given a mandate to anyone to speak or negotiate on behalf of the Palestinian people and the only path to lasting, comprehensive and just peace in our region requires ending the occupation and securing the independence of the State of Palestine on the 1967 borders with East
Jerusalem as its capital.

In this regard, I call on the Secretary-General of the United Nations to undertake, in cooperation with the Quartet and the Security Council, preparations to convene an international conference with full authority and with the participation of all concerned parties, early next year, to engage in a genuine peace process, based on international law, UN resolutions and the relevant terms of reference, leading to an end the occupation and the achievement by the Palestinian people of their freedom and independence within their State, with East Jerusalem as its capital, on the 1967 borders, and resolving all final status issues, notably the question of the refugees, based on resolution 194.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Those who believe the Palestinian people can coexist with the occupation or be subdued by pressure and diktats are under an illusion, as are those who are being misled to believe that they can circumvent our people, who bear this struggle and are its only address. Let everyone know there will be no peace, no security, no stability and no coexistence in our region while
this occupation continues and a just, comprehensive solution to the question of Palestine, the core of the conflict, remains denied.

In Palestine, ladies and gentlemen, there is a living nation, creative, civilized, peace-loving, aspiring passionately to freedom. A nation that has been able – despite the occupation that besieges our lives – to build an active and modern society, that believes in democracy and the
rule of law and has been able to preserve its national existence and identity despite all the political and philosophical differences between its diverse components. Here we are, despite all the obstacles that you know too well, preparing ourselves to hold parliamentary elections, followed by presidential elections, with the participation of all factions and political parties.

We will continue creating life and hope under the flag of national unity and democracy. We will continue resisting all attempts and plans to erase us, and we will secure our rightful and natural place among nations and exercise the rights granted to us by international legitimacy, including our right to resist this occupation in accordance with international law.

We will continue building the institutions of our State and consolidating them on the basis of the rule of law. We will continue combating international terrorism, as we have done for years past. We will remain faithful to peace, justice, human and national dignity under all circumstances. I salute the great Palestinian people that bravely pursues the struggle for freedom and independence. I salute our martyrs, prisoners and wounded. I salute Jerusalem and our people who remain steadfast in its holy sites. I salute our people in the besieged Gaza Strip. I salute our people in the refugee camps everywhere. I salute all those who stand with us and with our rights from all countries, nations and organizations.

Peace be upon you.

17 September 2020 – Israeli Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem

Excellency,

I write to draw your attention to the critical situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, due to the ongoing and escalating illegal policies and practices of Israel, the occupying Power, perpetrated relentlessly against the Palestinian people.

As the COVID-19 pandemic remains the most dangerous challenge affecting all of our countries and peoples and requiring an unprecedented global response, Israel insists instead on carrying on with its illegal policies and practices, compounding the vulnerability and needs of the Palestinian civilian population under its illegal occupation, compromising their ability to confront the pandemic, and further destabilizing the already-volatile situation on the ground. Violent attacks against Palestinian civilians, destruction and appropriation of property, forced evictions and displacement, expansion of illegal settlements, massive arrest campaigns, and acts of incitement and provocation, including at holy sites in Occupied East Jerusalem, continue to be perpetrated on a daily basis by the Israeli occupying forces and extremist Israeli settlers.

While some may have normalized these actions against our people and land, there is nothing normal or humane about them and all constitute grave breaches of international law, including humanitarian and human rights law, and violations of Israel’s obligations under the relevant United Nations resolutions, including Security Council resolution 2334 (2016), which specifically calls for an end to Israel’s settlement activities and an end to all acts of violence, provocation and incitement and moreover an end to the Israeli occupation of our land since 1967, including of East Jerusalem.

While the international community focuses on mitigating the severe effects and consequences of COVID-19, the Israeli government is exploiting this period to escalate its violations to accelerate its settlement colonization and annexation schemes and further entrench its military occupation. Such unlawful and aggressive behavior is deepening the suffering of Palestinian civilians, including children, women and elderly, against the backdrop of the worries and fears caused by pandemic, and is taking us farther and farther away from the a viable and just solution to this grave injustice. Those who speak of peace and coexistence cannot continue to ignore the reality of all of these illegal actions that actually preclude the possibility of peace and coexistence and only perpetuate conflict and suffering.

The following are just some of the countless grave violations perpetrated by the occupying Power in the recent period:

On 19 August, a 16-year-old Palestinian boy, Mohammed Damer Matar, was shot and detained by Israeli occupying forces in the occupied West Bank. The next day, 20 August, the occupying forces contacted Mohammed’s family informing them that he had been killed. While the circumstances in which the boy was killed remain unclear, his body has not been returned to his family and his remains are being held by the Israeli authorities at the Abu Kabir Forensic Medical Institute in Tel Aviv. This inhumane practice of necroviolence by which the occupying Power seizes and withholds the bodies of Palestinians it has murdered constitutes a blatantviolation of international humanitarian law and human rights law. Israeli human rights organization and legal center Adalah reports that Israel is the only country in the world with such a policy of confiscating human remains. This cruel, immoral policy severely impacts the families of Palestinians killed by the occupying forces, tantamount to collective punishment as they are prohibited from burying their loved ones in accordance with cultural and religious rituals.

On 24 August, Israeli occupying forces demolished two Palestinian homes in occupied East Jerusalem under the pretext of construction without a permit. Shortly after, occupying forces issued demolition orders to two Palestinian homes in Al-Maniya near Bethlehem under similar pretexts. As the occupying Power, and as repeatedly reported by UNSCO, Israel makes it nearly impossible for Palestinians to obtain construction permits, restricting and impeding the development and wellbeing of the occupied Palestinian population and using this as a pretext to continue the seizure and demolition of their homes. Israel’s punitive home demolitions and forced displacement and dispossession of Palestinians is in flagrant violation of international law and has not ceased even in this time of pandemic, rendering hundreds more Palestinians homeless.

According to a report published by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) on 26 August, Israel has persisted with its demolition of Palestinian homes despite an announced “moratorium”. As per the report, home demolitions have risen nearly 40% above the 2019 monthly average. A total of 33 people were displaced as a result and over 350 others had their livelihoods or access to services affected. A total of 388 structures have been demolished or seized as of the end July 2020. According to a statement released by European Union missions in Jerusalem and Ramallah, a total number of 107 residential units and 46 other units (shops, storerooms etc.) were demolished in 2020 in East Jerusalem alone as of 31 August. Moreover, Israel forces Palestinians to destroy their own homes or risk hefty military demolition fees. As a result, poor and vulnerable Palestinian families resort to self-home demolitions, which highlights a new level of human rights violations being committed against the Palestinian people.

In addition to punitive home demolitions, holy sites and houses of worship also remain in the crosshairs of Israel’s brutal policies and practices. An Israeli court issued a demolition order for the Qa’qa Bin Amr Mosque in Silwan in occupied East Jerusalem, again cynically citing lack of a construction permit. Not only is this a violation of international law, it is also a violation of relevant Security Council and General Assembly resolutions which prohibit any attempts to alter the character, demographic composition and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem and of the protections afforded by international law to religious sites.

Despite Israeli lockdown measures to halt spread of the coronavirus, violence perpetrated by extremist Israeli settlers has also continued unabated in Occupied Palestine, including East Jerusalem. Under the watch of occupying forces, armed and fanatic settlers continue to attack defenseless Palestinian civilians across the occupied West Bank. OCHA has reported recent incidents of settler violence targeting Palestinian civilians and vandalizing Palestinian-owned property, including the uprooting or destruction of 650 trees and saplings and damage to at least 16 dunums of crops, harming the sustenance and livelihoods of Palestinian families. A 21-year-old Palestinian man also died during this period after being struck by a vehicle driven by an Israeli settler south of Tulkarem.

Such incitement, intimidation, harassment, provocation, vandalism, and other criminal acts are perpetrated daily by Israeli settlers in order to assert their illegal presence on, and control of, Palestinian land, with little to no interference from the occupying authorities. Settler violence is without doubt a crucial part of the occupation’s strategy to accelerate its displacement and dispossession of the Palestinian people, paving way for Israel to exploit more land and resources, coupled with its dangerous desire and plans for annexation.

At the same time, Israel persists with all of its repressive measures against Palestinian civilians, including massive arrest campaigns and raids. On 8 September, Israeli occupation forces arrested more than 50 Palestinians in Al-Khalil area, including in Yatta, al-Dahriyeh, Bani Naim, Arroub refugee camp, Beit Ummar, Sair and Sourif. On 15 September, occupying forces arrested 15 Palestinians, including three children, in multiple raids in the Jerusalem neighborhoods of Issawiya and al-Tur. On 16 September, occupying forces detained 12 Palestinians, including a mayor, from various parts of the occupied West Bank. More than 3,000 Palestinians have been arrested as of the start of 2020 until the end of August and continues to carry out violent military raids and arrest campaigns, with utter disregard for the state of emergency declared in the West Bank due to the pandemic and disregard for the well-being of the Palestinian civilian population under its full control, in grave violation of international humanitarian law.

On 13 September, the Israeli government approved the construction of nearly 1,000 new settlement units in the illegal settlement of “Efrat”, near Bethlehem. As reaffirmed by the UN Special Coordinator in briefings to the Security Council, and as detailed in our previous letters, Israeli settlement construction, expansion and annexation threats have continued unabated. Israel’s obsession with devouring Palestinian land for illegal settlement activities is in blatant violation of international law and relevant United Nations resolutions and further shatters the contiguity of Palestinian land, destroying the viability of the two-State solution on the pre-1967 borders. This reality has to be confronted by those who profess commitment to the solution of two States on this land and requires immediate measures of accountability.

Simultaneously, the inhumane, illegal Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip continues to inflict misery on the Palestinian civilian population there. Gaza’s sole power plant was forced to completely shut down due to the occupying Power’s suspension of fuel shipments. The over 13-year blockade has forced Gaza’s two million inhabitants to live in deplorable humanitarian and socioeconomic conditions, with repeated military strikes and suffocating movement restrictions being Israel’s preferred policies. Coupled with an electricity crisis that provides a supply for only a few hours a day, Gaza’s overburdened health care system cannot cope with additional suspensions or reductions of power sources while facing the threat of COVID-19.

Preventing the passage of relief consignments, such as fuel and electricity, is a violation of international humanitarian law and further undermines Gaza’s medical facilities and the delivery of other vital civilian needs. As the occupying Power, Israel is obligated to ensure access to appropriate medical equipment and care to effectively address the needs of the millions of people under its control. Moreover, other punitive measures, such as closing down the fishing zone and repeated assaults, must be addressed as the occupying Power bears responsibility to adhere to international law without exception.

Faced with all of the above, we remain grateful for the assistance being extended to the Palestinian people from across the globe and in spite of the challenging circumstances facing countries in this era of COVID-19. This includes in particular the vital assistance being provided through UNRWA, OCHA, UNICEF, WHO, WFP and other UN agencies and humanitarian organizations on the ground and by the international donor community.

Yet it remains the occupying Power’s obligation first and foremost to fully respect and abide by international law and international humanitarian law and to ensure the well-being of the occupied population. Regrettably, Israel has abandoned its legal obligations as an occupying Power and continues to exploit the pandemic by entrenching its 53-year brutal occupation and pursuing its evident annexation intentions. We reiterate our appeal to the international community to give this matter due and urgent attention and to act to ensure accountability.

The failure to hold Israel accountable has greatly emboldened its impunity, allowing the prolongation of this illegal, colonial foreign occupation for decades without upholding even the most basic tenets of international law. The negative, dangerous and dark trends created by the illegal occupation must be reversed through accountability to enable the Palestinian people to exercise their inalienable right to self-determination, and to ultimately bring an end to the Israeli occupation that began in 1967 and an end to this historic injustice with a just resolution of the Palestine question in all its aspects in line with international law and the relevant UN resolutions.

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, valuable consideration and also distributed as an official document of the Security Council.

Please accept, Excellency, the assurances of my highest consideration.

Signature_English

Dr. Riyad Mansour

Minister, Permanent Observer

17 August 2020 – Israeli Colonization and Human Rights Violations in Palestine

Excellency,

In light of recent developments, I must write once more to draw the international community’s attention to the countless crimes that continue to be perpetrated by Israel, the occupying Power, in Occupied Palestine. With absolute impunity, Israel carries on with its illegal colonization and annexation measures in our land and with its repression of the Palestinian people through measures of collective punishment, dispossession, displacement and other violations of their rights. That the status quo is unsustainable and highly volatile is an assessment the international community has long agreed on.

We are thus compelled to reiterate: Israel’s “suspension” of plans to annex parts of the West Bank should neither be cause for relief, nor applause, by the international community. It is perverse to reward “not committing the crime of annexation”, when respect for the law is obligatory upon all and, when in reality, the crime is being committed as we speak. This is reflected not only in the occupying Power’s ongoing rhetoric and declarations of intent, most vocally by the Israeli Prime Minister, but by the occupying Power’s actions on the ground, which indicate no sign of halting and reversing the seizure and colonization of Palestinian land, as repeatedly demanded by the international community, including the Security Council, most recently in its resolution 2334 (2016), and as obligated by international law.

What was stressed in the Security Council on 21 July in this regard bears repeating, “Refraining from de jure annexation must of course carry no reward; avoidance of criminality is normative not prize-worthy”. (Briefing by Daniel Levy)

Those who believe otherwise are mistaken and fail to understand that stopping colonization and annexation is not an end in itself. Rather it is a primary condition for bringing an end to this illegal occupation and realizing Palestinian self-determination, independence and sovereignty in their land, two central pillars for a just solution that can ultimately restore the rights of the Palestinian people, including the Palestine refugees, and serve as the cornerstone for true peace and security in our region.

This conviction has long been at the core of the international consensus on the matter, based on international law and recognition of the root of this conflict – the denial of an entire people, the Palestinian people, of their human, national and territorial rights – and what it will take to justly and sustainably resolve it. Occupation and colonization, oppression and apartheid must never be normalized.

The fact that Israel carries on with its colonization schemes in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem – systematically establishing facts on the ground blatantly aimed at annexing our territory, in grave breach of international law and rejection of the international consensus, based on international law and as enshrined in the relevant UN resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative – should be cause for concern and action, not complacency or complicity. Just a brief look at the developments of the past week since our last letter reaffirm this stark reality.

Absent accountability, Israel has forged ahead with its settlement plans in the so-called ‘E-1’ area to the east of Occupied East Jerusalem, seeking to build thousands of settlement units on the lands of al-Tur, Anata, al-Eizariya, Abu Dis and Hizma villages. If implemented, such measures would completely sever the eastern area of Jerusalem from its natural Palestinian environs; encircle and besiege these areas, where approximately 1 million Palestinians live and which constitute the only significant land reserve they have economic and urban development, with a ring of illegal settlements; and cut off the northern and southern West Bank. Such actions threaten the contiguity of the Palestinian State and the viability of the two-State solution on the pre-1967 borders and must be stopped.

These illegal actions have been accompanied by more demolition of Palestinian homes, displacing Palestinian families and seizing their lands. In just one example, on 10 August, occupying forces demolished three Palestinian homes and a water tank used by village residents for drinking and watering crops in the areas of Jenin and Bethlehem. In Occupied East Jerusalem, three Palestinian brothers and their families were rendered homeless after the occupation authorities demolished their three-apartment building in the Silwan neighborhood under the pretext of construction without permit. In the Sheikh Jarrah area of the City, two other Palestinian families were ordered to tear down their homes also for lack of permit, or otherwise be forced to pay high costs if the demolition was undertaken by the occupation authorities. These neighborhoods have been systematically and fiercely targeted by the occupation and so many other families are threatened by demolition orders and the revocation of residency rights.

Also, 20 Palestinian families in the northern village of Farasin have received demolition orders. This includes the Amarneh family, who have lived in a cave home for over a year after repeatedly failing to receive permits to build a home in Farasin. Now, this cruel occupation wants to evict Ahmed Amarneh and his family, including  a pregnant wife and young daughter, from their home because it has “allocated” this land for the construction of more illegal settlements. If not stopped, this family will be tragically added to the thousands of Palestinians rendered homeless and forcibly transferred from their lands by the Israeli occupation, which continues apace with its decades-long policy of displacing the Palestinian people from their land and replacing them with Israeli settlers, in other words ethnic cleansing.

At the same time, the Israeli occupying forces have continued their violent military raids of Palestinian cities, towns, villages and refugee camps, causing more civilian casualties. This includes the murder of a young woman in Jenin on Friday, 7 August. Dalia Samoudi, age 23 and a mother of two young children, was shot and killed insider her home as she ran to close the window to protect her children from the tear gas and ammunition being shot by Israeli occupying forces that had raided the area.

Israel also continues to launch airstrikes at the Gaza Strip, further terrorizing and traumatizing the 2 million Palestinians besieged there by Israel’s illegal and medieval blockade.  Israeli helicopter gunships and tanks attacked several sites in Gaza early on 12 August, causing destruction to infrastructure, including an UNRWA school, and agricultural lands. These strikes and repeated threats by Israeli officials for further attacks on Gaza are escalating tensions and deepening the fears of the civilian population of yet another barbaric military aggression by the occupying Power.

We urgently appeal to the international community to assume its responsibilities towards this unlawful situation and protracted protection crisis in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem. The Security Council and General Assembly must uphold their Charter duties and all States must uphold their legal, political and moral obligations to bring an end to this injustice. That begins with holding Israel accountable for its crimes against the Palestinian people, foremost the violation of their right to self-determination through the continued imposition of this illegal occupation.

As repeatedly demanded by the international community, the Israeli occupation must be brought to an end and the Palestinian people must realize their right to self-determination and independence in their State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital, and all other of their inalienable rights, including to return. This is the key to justice, to an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and to the peace and security long sought in the Middle East.

This letter is in follow-up to our 691 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 6 August 2020 (A/ES-10/xxx-S/2020/xxx) 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 this letter distributed as an official 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

Minister, Permanent Observer

6 August 2020 – Israeli Violations and Escalation of Settlement Activities

Excellency,

I write to you in follow-up to our recent communications regarding the grim situation being faced by the Palestinian people, including refugee community, in Occupied Palestine, including East Jerusalem, due to the continuing and escalating illegal policies and practices of Israel, the occupying Power, and its extremist military and settler forces, even in this time of global pandemic and rising cases of COVID-19 infection and the needs and instability this is causing.

As we have cautioned, most recently in our letter of 24 July, that Israel has ‘refrained’ from formally annexing parts of the West Bank on 1 July, as the Israeli Prime Minister and his cohorts have repeatedly threatened, should not distract the international community from the reality of what is being done on the ground by this illegal occupation. We reiterate the need for both vigilance and urgent, collective action to bring a halt to these crimes and to the terror being perpetrated daily against our people by the Israeli occupying forces and settlers.

As witnessed in recent days, the Israeli Prime Minister continues to push for and threaten annexation, insisting that “it’s [annexation] not off the table, the option still exists” and that the Israeli government is carrying on with its discussions with the United States to implement this illegal plan. Confiscation of Palestinian property, demolition of Palestinian homes, and other military orders and measures continue to be carried out by the occupying forces in preparation for annexation. This includes recent military orders for the demolition of homes, structures and water wells of a Palestinian village in north of West Bank, Farasin, west of Jenin, which, if carried out, would result in the dispossession and displacement of 200 people. Moreover, Israeli settler leaders and gangs continue their provocative demands for annexation and incitement against the Palestinian people, terrorizing them in their homes, places of worship, and all over their land.

Israeli settlement activities continue unabated, with the occupying Power advancing plans for the construction of 1,000 more settlement units in the illegal settlement of “Givat Hamatos” and in the so-called ‘E-1’ area, east of Occupied East Jerusalem. Moreover, the siege and relentless acts of dispossession in Silwan, Al-Issawiya and Wadi al-Joz neighborhoods of the City continue, with home demolitions and pending orders gravely impacting the lives of countless Palestinian families, including children, as Israel continues its attempts to ethnically cleanse the City. It is obvious that all such actions are being taken to consolidate Israel’s illegal annexation of Jerusalem and further its plans to annex more Palestinian land, in grave breach of international law, including the 4th Geneva Convention and the Rome Statute of the ICC.

We reiterate: any annexation – whether of the Jordan Valley, the ‘E-1’ area and/or the settlements, or of one or several so-called ‘settlement blocs’ – is illegal and must trigger consequences, including lawful countermeasures, i.e. sanctions, against the occupying Power. There is no other way to deter and bring a halt to such illegal actions and to reign in Israel’s impunity. There is no other way to compel compliance with international law and the relevant United Nations resolutions, including resolution 2334 (2016), and to salvage the internationally-endorsed two-State solution on the pre-1967 borders from Israel’s systematic attempts to destroy it. The Security Council and General Assembly must act and all States are required to uphold their legal obligations and responsibilities in this regard.

At the same time, absent accountability, the human cost of this illegal occupation also continues to rise. Palestinian civilians, including children, continue to be arrested, savagely interrogated, detained and imprisoned without charge. This includes the 22 July arrest of the Director of the Yabous Cultural Centre, Ms. Rania Elias, and her husband, the Director of the Jerusalem Society for Music Education, Mr. Suhail Khoury, and the raid of their home and premises in Occupied East Jerusalem and seizure of their passports, documents, computers, phones. Although they were released after interrogation, such actions attempt not only to intimidate Palestinians and mar reputations, but also to undermine efforts to preserve and sustain our cultural heritage in Occupied East Jerusalem, where dozens of Palestinian institutions and organizations have been closed by the occupying Power.

We must also draw attention to the recent detention of Mahmoud Nawajaa, the General Coordinator of the Palestinian BDS National Committee, who was arrested in an Israeli raid on his home near Ramallah on 30 July. Nawajaa was blindfolded, seized and taken away from his wife and three young children in the middle of the night and remains in captivity without charge, along with the thousands of other Palestinians being unlawfully imprisoned, who must be released by the occupying Power, which remains responsible for their safety and well-being, including in this time of pandemic.

Palestinians also continue to be killed and injured by the occupying forces and the bodies of those killed continue to be held by Israel, preventing families from honoring them with a dignified burial. This includes Ahmed Erekat, who was murdered by Israeli soldiers at a checkpoint on 23 June and whose body remains in captivity along with the bodies of 63 other Palestinians slain by the occupying forces and whose families continue to grieve their loss and their inability to lay them to rest.

Palestinian freedom of movement also continues to be violated by Israel’s racist and discriminatory permit regime and by its network of illegal settlements, the wall and bypass roads, along with other arbitrary restrictions on movement, affecting access to health care, even in this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, to education, to food and water, and to livelihoods. This form of violation even includes the prevention of travel of newborn babies with their mothers across borders. This illegitimate occupation further persists with its collective punishment of the Palestinian civilian population in innumerable other ways, none more inhumane than the blockade on the Gaza Strip, which has now entered its 14th year and continues to gravely impact every single aspect of the lives of the two million Palestinian children, women and men who live there. This is compounding the already-dire humanitarian crisis, making ever more urgent the need for support to UNRWA to enable the continuity of its lifesaving assistance to the Palestinian refugee community there, which comprises the majority of the population, along with the vital aid being provided by other UN agencies and humanitarian organizations.

Added to all this is the constant harassment, intimidation and violence perpetrated by Israeli settlers across Palestinian towns and villages. This terror campaign is escalating as extremists have been emboldened by the Israeli government’s constant annexation threats and the support for annexation by the US plan. Incidents of arson, vandalism, damage to trees and theft of agricultural produce are on the rise, in addition to attacks on Palestinians civilians, including women, children and farmers. Among many incidents include those that occurred in Al-Bireh and Battir which reflect these dangerous trends and the stoking of religious tensions by the occupying Power.

On 27 July, part of a mosque in the city of Al-Bireh, located adjacent to Ramallah, was set on fire in an attack by extremist Israeli settlers. Flammable liquid was poured through a smashed window and the fire charred walls and other property inside and mosque’s walls were vandalized with graffiti which included derogatory language such as “Siege for Arabs, not for Jews” and “the Land of Israel for the people of Israel”. Days earlier, 12 cars in the nearby village of As-Sawiya were also vandalized and the words “The nation of Israel lives” was graffitied on a nearby wall along with a Star of David.

In the village of Battir, which is located south of Occupied East Jerusalem and known for its ancient agricultural terraces and which has been inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List and on the World Heritage in Danger List in 2014, and in nearby Beit Jala as well, armed settlers are carrying out incursions, attempting to seize Palestinian land. Armed with weapons and dogs, settlers have erected tents – an act typically signifying the establishment of a so-called ‘settlement outpost’. According to the Israeli NGO “Kerem Navot”, settlers have established 37 such outposts in this way across the West Bank in just the past five years. Moreover, settlers continually harass village residents, including women and children, and have been swimming in water cisterns that provide drinking water for the town, as well as pounding on the doors of the residents of Battir and demanding they present land ownership documents. As reported by Israeli media, the extremist settler leading these incursions is on record as declaring: “I want all of Battir to go to hell… the State of Israel belongs to the Jewish people”.

The settlers clearly seek to take over this land due to its elevation overlooking the area and because its seizure would separate two Palestinian villages (Battir and al-Walajeh), while creating geographic continuity instead between the illegal settlement of Har Homa (Jabal Abu Ghneim) and Jerusalem. In this way, settlers are literally and physically trying to clear a path for the colonization and annexation of this land, creating facts on the ground and risking wider confrontation, all with the protection and support of the occupying forces and all in breach of international law.

As these aggressions on their lands, homes and their very existence in their homeland persist, the Palestinian people, while having little means to repel such attacks, remain steadfast. While relying on this resilience for decades to withstand and survive this oppressive and violent occupation, their main hope lies in the power of international law to bring an end to the crimes being perpetrated against them, to bring an end to the Israeli occupation and blockade of their land, to bring an end to this grave injustice.

On behalf of the Palestinian people and their leadership, we thus call once again upon the international community, including the Security Council and General Assembly of the United Nations, to uphold international law and to act now to ensure accountability and ensure the protection of the Palestinian people and their rights and land from this illegal occupation. We implore you to act now to stop colonization and annexation and to salvage the prospects for a just solution, in accordance with the international consensus based on the relevant resolutions, that fulfills the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, including the Palestine refugees, allowing them to finally realize the freedom, justice and peace they have been for so long unjustly and cruelly denied.

This letter is in follow-up to our 690 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 24 July 2020 (A/ES-10/xxx-S/2019/xxx) 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, valuable consideration and also distributed as an official document of the Security Council.

Please accept, Excellency, the assurances of my highest consideration.

Dr. Riyad Mansour

Minister, Permanent Observer

24 July 2020 – Escalating Israeli violations in Occupied Palestine

As the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, continues to deteriorate, I am compelled to write in follow-up of our recent letters regarding the crimes being perpetrated by Israel, the occupying Power, as it forges ahead with its expansionist policies in the West Bank, cementing its illegal occupation and escalating its aggression against the Palestinian people, their land and their rights.

That Israel “refrained” from formally annexing large parts of the West Bank on 1 July should not be cause for relief among the international community. As stressed by Mr. Daniel Levy, President of the US/Middle East Project, in his briefing to the Security Council on 21 July, “Refraining from de jure annexation must of course carry no reward; avoidance of criminality is normative not prize-worthy”.

It is clear the occupying Power has opted, for now, to go with its tried-and-tested colonization playbook and carry on with its incremental, yet persistent, confiscation and annexation of Palestinian land. The fact is that Israel’s decades-long colonization of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, has been – and continues to be – implemented gradually, in “installments”, with the aim of mitigating, or even silencing, international pushback, even as the occupation gravely breaches international law and shreds the prospects for a two-State solution on the pre-1967 borders as envisaged by the international consensus.

Since the occupation began, successive Israeli governments have pursued a strategy aimed at appropriating as much Palestinian geography with as little Palestinian demography as possible through a two-pronged approach of settling the land while expelling Palestinian civilians. This remains the case, and will continue to be so, unless the international community responds with consequences for such illegal actions.

We reiterate that whether annexation is implemented partially or totally, gradually or in one fell swoop, de facto or de jure, the international community must stay alert and take serious, tangible action, in respect of international law and relevant UN resolutions, including Security Council resolution 2334 (2016).

Here it is imperative to recall that, already in 2004, the International Court of Justice warned that “the construction of the wall and its associated régime create a ‘fait accompli’ on the ground that could well become permanent, in which case…it would be tantamount to a de facto annexation.” This 9 July marked 16 years since that finding; yet the Wall has only expanded in size, as have Israel’s illegal settlements in our land, which the Wall was clearly established to incorporate into Israel. This constitutes acquisition of territory by force, which is absolutely prohibited under international law.

In this period, Israel has continued to “prepare the ground” for annexation by escalating its settlement activities, destruction of Palestinian property, and forcible transfer of Palestinians residing in areas earmarked for annexation. On 6 July, Israeli occupying forces handed demolition orders against 30 Palestinian homes in the Issawiya neighborhood of East Jerusalem. On the same day, Israel announced plans to build 164 units in the so-called “Neve Daniel” settlement in southern Bethlehem. The occupying Power also continues its harassment and intimidation of Palestinian officials, including the Governor of Jerusalem, Mr. Adnan Ghaith, who has been repeatedly arrested since assuming his functions and remains detained as of this writing.

Acts of settler violence have also risen. This includes the case of settlers trespassing the land of a Palestinian farmer and digging it up to build a swimming pool for themselves and the seizure of yet another hilltop and establishment of yet another settlement “outpost” north of the city of Nablus on land privately owned by Palestinians from the nearby town of Asira al-Shamaliya. All of this is being done under the watch, and with the direct protection and assistance, of the Israeli occupying forces, as part of the systematic theft and colonization of Palestinian land.

The occupying Power also continues its attempt to erase Palestinian presence, culture and heritage through the illegal appropriation and theft of heritage sites, particularly in the Old City of Jerusalem, in Bethlehem, and in Al-Khalil (Hebron) at Al-Ibrahimi Mosque. This week witnessed the theft of baptismal font dating back to the Byzantine era from Bethlehem, adding to the long list of artifacts and heritage stolen by the occupation. Pillage is a war crime and Israel must be held accountable.

Awareness that Israel is forging ahead at full speed to destroy the two-State solution has led politicians, academics, think tanks, public figures, civil society actors, and people of conscience from around the world to warn about the dramatic consequences that the destruction of this solution would have. Below are excerpts of just some of the many recent statements in this regard:

On 29 June, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet stated that “any attempt to annex any part of the occupied Palestinian territory will not only seriously damage efforts to achieve lasting peace in the region, it is likely to entrench, perpetuate and further heighten serious human rights violations that have characterized the conflict for decades. I am deeply concerned that even the most minimalist form of annexation would lead to increased violence and loss of life, as walls are erected, security forces deployed and the two populations brought into closer proximity. The existing two-tier system of law in the same territory will become embedded, with devastating impacts on the lives of Palestinians who have little or no access to legal remedy… The shockwaves of annexation will last for decades, and will be extremely damaging to Israel, as well as to the Palestinians.”

On 29 June, the World Council of Churches issued a statement warning that “the planned annexation of Palestinian territories by the Government of Israel would be a serious obstacle for the achievement of justice and peace between Israelis and Palestinians. It will undermine even more the rights of Palestinians, reducing their mobility, their access to land and livelihoods, to adequate infrastructure and basic services. It will increase forced displacement, and it could prevent humanitarian organizations’ access in order to provide basic services and the necessary lifesaving interventions.”

On 2 July, Amnesty International warned that moves towards further annexation of Palestinian land “would mean a continuation of Israeli settlement expansion. It would also further entrench policies of institutionalized discrimination and mass human rights violations that Palestinians face in the OPT as a result of the occupation, including systematic denial of civil and political rights of Palestinians, as well as violations of other rights such as freedom of movement, equality and non-discrimination.”

On 9 July, Israeli human rights NGO Yesh Din issued a legal opinion concluding that “Continued creeping legal annexation, let alone official annexation of a particular part of the West Bank through legislation that would apply Israeli law and administration there, … could mean strengthening the argument, which already is being heard, that the crime of Apartheid is not committed only in the West Bank. That the Israeli regime in its entirety is an apartheid regime. That Israel is an Apartheid state.”

As we have repeatedly cautioned, the absence of accountability has enabled Israel’s colonization and annexation of Palestinian land, rapidly leading to its imposition of a one-State reality of apartheid that must be urgently averted. Israel’s crime spree in Occupied Palestine must be stopped, and only collective action can achieve this. It is high time for the international community to impose lawful, targeted and immediate sanctions on the occupying Power in response to its grave breaches of international law, to deter further violations against the Palestinian people, promote justice, and create the conditions for peace.

As sagely stated on 7 July in an open letter by Christian Clergy from the Bethlehem Area, “While support for a two-state solution among the international community remains strong in rhetoric, there has been no tangible or coordinated action to block steps toward de jure annexation of the West Bank, let alone gross violations of human rights that have paved the way to it over the past 53 years. In allowing Israel to use its control over Palestinians to separate people and land, and in failing to hold Israel accountable to human rights violations in the Occupied Territory, the international community has rendered the vision it is purportedly promoting an impossibility.”

We are grateful for the many reaffirmations from around the world on the need to end impunity and ensure accountability, including by the Belgian parliament on 26 June, the leader of the Labour Party in the United Kingdom on 27 June, thirteen members of the US Congress on 30 June, the Chilean Senate on 1 July, the Dutch parliament on 2 July, eleven European foreign ministers on 14 July, Mexican parliamentarians on 22 July, among many others.

In this regard, on 16 June, the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967 also stressed “Should Israel proceed with any form of annexation after 1 July – even if it is ‘annexation-lite’, consisting of several settlement blocs instead of the announced 30 per cent of the West Bank – the European Union must lead the world in imposing accountability measures. Any amount of annexation is contrary to the Charter of the United Nations, and a fundamentally illegal act.”

Moreover, we welcome the letter signed by over 40 international women leaders on 1 July in response to an appeal by Palestinian women for action to stop annexation and end the Israeli occupation, as well as the principled voices of 1.6 million global citizens who signed an Avaaz petition entitled “Palestine must live”, standing against annexation and calling for justice and peace.

In this time of existential crisis, Palestinians, like the rest of the world, are also struggling to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and its severe health, social and economic impact. As of this date, the State of Palestine has confirmed 10,923 cases of the virus – 75 of which are in the illegally blockaded Gaza Strip – and 67 deaths as a result of the virus. Despite limited resources and severe restrictions and hardships imposed by the occupation, our national institutions are exerting all efforts to respond to this crisis.

Yet, Israel continues to hamper our efforts to combat the virus, making a severe crisis even worse. In Al-Khalil, one of the hardest hit areas in Palestine, the occupying Power once again destroyed a coronavirus testing clinic. Additionally, the occupying Power continues to jeopardize the lives of Palestinian prisoners, including children, who are being detained in its jails in this time of pandemic. We must draw urgent attention to the plight of a prisoner, Kamal Abu Waer, age 46, who suffers from cancer and has also been infected by the virus and is in critical health. The Palestinian leadership calls for the necessary medical treatment and for his immediate release. We hold Israel responsible for the well-being of all Palestinians being unlawfully held captive by the occupation and call for their release.

As our people continue to suffer this belligerent, illegal occupation in all its forms, we appeal once again to the international community, including the Security Council, to speak up and take responsible action. We appeal to all States to stand firmly in defense of international law and in respect of the resolutions adopted across the decades on the Palestine question, to protect human rights, to salvage the prospects for a just peace based on the two-State solution, and to preserve the international rules-based order that is under such serious threat. We are at a critical moment with so much at stake and the time for united action is now.

This letter is in follow-up to our 689 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 26 June 2020 (A/ES-10/xxx-S/2019/xxx) 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, valuable consideration and also distributed as an official document of the Security Council.

Please accept, Excellency, the assurances of my highest consideration.

Dr. Riyad Mansour

Minister, Permanent Observer

Statement by H.E. Minister 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, 21 July 2020

Mr. President,

We appreciate your presence among us today, which highlights the importance of the matter at hand especially at this critical juncture. We also express our appreciation as to Mr. Mladenov and to the briefers, Mr. Shikaki and Mr. Levy, for their important presentations.

Mr. President,

As we celebrate Nelson Mandela Day, we must honor, through action, the struggle Mandela dedicated his life to. As highlighted in the important vision presented by the Secretary-General in his statement on this occasion, Mandela devoted his life to fighting inequality and injustice, regardless of its sources, and in solidarity with all its victims.

This included solidarity with the Palestinian people, with Mandela stressing “We know too well our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians”. There is a reason why those who have fought against colonialism and Apartheid remain the strongest advocates of the Palestinian cause. They recognize the similarity of our chains, but also our common aspiration to freedom, and we are proud to have them by our side in our ongoing just struggle.

Mr. President,

In times of war and times of peace, Israel has relentlessly entrenched its control over Palestinian land and Palestinian lives. Immediately after the start of the 1967 occupation, it initiated its first illegal settlements. In 1980, even as it concluded a peace agreement with Egypt, it unlawfully annexed Jerusalem. In 1993, as we concluded the Oslo Accords, it decided to speed up its settlement activities, with the number of settlers now being 7-fold what they were at the time. During the 2nd Intifada, it built a wall to cement its de facto annexation, as pronounced by the ICJ.

Regardless of what the Palestinian people did, and of what the international community said, Israel never changed course. Whether there were negotiations or not, violence or not, international efforts or not, it pressed on, and impunity from accountability under the law guaranteed that the benefits of occupation would far outweigh its cost. Its strategic objective has never changed: grabbing maximum Palestinian geography with minimum Palestinian demography.

In a week from now, we will commemorate 40 years since the unlawful annexation of East Jerusalem. Since then, Israel has launched a full-fledged war against Palestinian presence in the City. It is a cold-blooded and systematic endeavor through a well-oiled machinery of illegal laws, policies and practices. Discriminatory zoning and planning has isolated Palestinians within 13% of their own City, the area of East Jerusalem already built-up in 1967. The occupying Power has created a coercive environment with constant home demolitions, revocation of residency cards, preventing family reunification, all designed to achieve the forcible transfer of Palestinians. It has closed down Palestinian institutions, continues preventing elections and regularly arresting the Palestinian Governor of Jerusalem.  Its settlers have besieged the City from inside out. It is a slow, silent and yet violent process of dispossession and annexation.

Since then, Israel has not declared its annexation of any other part of the Occupied Palestinian Territory. It feared the consequences of such action, especially given the strong international reaction to its decision, including by this Security Council, as witnessed in 1980 and again in 2017. It kept waiting for a crack in the international system to formalize what it had illegally advanced on the ground. It finally thought it had reached this long-awaited moment, where it could reveal its true and not so well-hidden intentions.

However, something happened in these last few weeks that, if furthered, may allow us to shift course towards peace. The firm positions expressed by so many governments, including Security Council members at Ministerial level, intergovernmental organizations, including the Arab League, EU, NAM, OIC, parliamentarians, civil society actors, legal scholars, independent human rights experts, the Elders, women leaders and peoples of conscience worldwide demonstrated the global commitment to justice and international law and human rights. It is a formidable international front against annexation and occupation and for peace that must be sustained.

Stopping annexation is a critical battle that we must win, but we should not forget the war that Israel has been waging for decades. Israel may abandon declaring de jure annexation, but it will not abandon its annexation plans. They are being implemented as we speak, one military order at a time, one demolished house at a time, one confiscated parcel of land at a time, one Palestinian family displaced at a time, one settlement unit at a time. 

The Prime Minister, the soldier, the settler, the bureaucrat, the parliamentarian, the judge in the military court, they all conspire towards that objective Israel has pursued obsessively: grabbing maximum Palestinian geography with minimum Palestinian demography.

The world cannot unsee what Israel has so starkly revealed. It has no intention whatsoever to end its 53-year occupation and make peace. Israel wants its illegality to be considered an irreversible reality, asking for recognition instead of displaying contrition. We tell Israel: what is irreversible, as Mandela said, is our march to freedom.

A people that has been uprooted from their homeland, dispossessed, exiled, occupied, colonized, annexed and deprived of their fundamental human rights cannot continue to be blamed for their plight and inability to bring an end to it, while they continue, against all odds, to seek a solution through the most peaceful, legitimate means, until now to no avail.

The South African Nobel Peace Laureate Chief Lutuli declared “Who will deny that thirty years of my life have been spent knocking in vain, patiently, moderately, and modestly at a closed and barred door? What have been the fruits of moderation? The past thirty years have seen the greatest number of laws restricting our rights and progress, until today we have reached a stage where we have almost no rights at all”.

We could, 27 years since the signing of the Oslo Accords, almost repeat what he said word by word. But we believe that the international community can and must reward moderation and sanction extremism before it is too late.

Mr. President,

Who are the rejectionists? Those adhering to UN Security Council resolutions or those violating them? Those accepting the two-State solution on the pre-1967 borders or those destroying it? Those calling for international involvement, including through the Quartet and other multilateral efforts, to foster peace and hold the parties accountable, or those who seek endless “talks” with no results? Those who have presented maps and clear positions on all final status issues or those fleeing and violating any commitment?  

Who are the delusional ones? Those seeking just and lasting peace that ensures the rights, dignity and security of all, or those who believe that Palestinians must accept, after a century of struggle for freedom, to live in Bantustans and surrender to perpetual injustice? Those who pursue an end of occupation to allow for peaceful and normal relations in the region, or those who believe it is possible to achieve acceptance by the region and security while denying the rights of an entire nation and undermining regional peace and security? Those advocating respect for international law and UN resolutions, or those who use religious extremism, supremacist theories, and unhinged nationalism to justify violating them.

Mandela’s legacy is under threat in many parts of our world, and nowhere is this more true than in Palestine. 40 years ago, this Council stated, after the annexation of Jerusalem, its determination to examine practical ways and means, in accordance with the Charter, to secure the full implementation of its resolutions, in the event of non-compliance by Israel. Time for action by all is long overdue, and indispensable to ensure the triumph of freedom and dignity, justice and peace.

The law matters. Principles matter. Accountability matters. This is the lifeblood of the international community and the basis for peaceful relations and stability and security worldwide. Palestine is no exception.

I thank you, Mr. President.

Statement by H.E. Riad Malki, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Palestine, before the United Nations Security Council’s Monthly Briefing on the Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestine Question, Quarterly Report of the Secretary-General on Resolution 2334 (2016), 24 June 2020

Mr. President,

Excellencies, Members of the Council,

We often use the image of a crossroad to explain how significant a moment in history is. It means your next decisions and actions will determine the course of history and the fate of nations. There is no doubt this is such a moment 

For now, the driver is Israel and it will not stop at the crossroad to assess the implications of its choices because it is drunk on power, propelled by infinite impunity, motivated by one single thought that it has been under the influence of for decades: grabbing maximum Palestinian land with minimum Palestinians.

Israel is under the illusion that this is the destination and, once it reaches it, it will be able to enjoy the view. It ignores that the road cannot end there and continues downhill towards an escalation of the conflict due to an oppressive regime combining colonialism and Apartheid. It does not care that humanity has been down this road before, and that former colonial powers and liberation movements alike have all reached the same conclusion: such a regime cannot prevail and will only lead to more injustice, instability and insecurity.

As many times before, Israel seems determined to ignore that big red STOP sign the international community erected to save lives. Israel thinks, as has been its experience so far, that it will not be fined or arrested. It believes that Security Council resolutions are binding for others; international courts have jurisdiction over others; sanctions are for others. Israel judges, but cannot be judged. The only true bias towards Israel is the one shielding it from accountability and emboldening it by considering its illegal actions as so-called “realities” that need to be endorsed rather than reversed.

Israel is testing the resolve of the international community, thinking its colonial appetite will prevail over the collective international will to advance regional peace and security and to preserve the rules-based multilateral order. We must prove it wrong.

The international community remains committed to the rule of international law and to the international consensus on a just solution for the Palestine question. It opposes annexation in no uncertain terms, as reaffirmed in recent weeks by statements made from capitals from every corner of the globe. The global position also remains unwavering on the illegality of Israel’s policies, including settlements. This wide international front, reflected in the gathering in the Jordan Valley just two days ago with broad Palestinian and international mobilization, in the UNRWA Ministerial meeting held yesterday, and in this High-Level Security Council meeting, is strong and remains our best hope.

Mr. President, Members of the Council,

Israel needs to know that annexation will have immediate and tangible repercussions. That is why we have called on the international community to adopt effective measures, including sanctions, to deter annexation and all other unlawful policies that have prepared the ground for it. It must also be made clear that annexation will irreversibly impact Israel’s relations with Palestine and the region. The Oslo accords were supposed to transform us into peace partners, but regrettably Israel continued waging a war against Palestinian lives and rights. It has violated the spirit and letter of the agreements, and with annexation, is taking a decision that will defeat their very purpose. These accords were supposed to pave the way for an end of occupation and a final peace agreement. They cannot survive annexation.

As we celebrate the 75th anniversary of the UN Charter, let us honour the UN purposes and principles: respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction, the suppression of acts of aggression and the prohibition of the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state. Annexation, whether partial or total, gradual or immediate, is the ultimate breach of the UN Charter and cannot go unchallenged.

From a legal perspective, annexation is not only unlawful, it is a crime under the Rome Statute. From a political perspective, it will ruin the chances for Israeli-Palestinian and regional peace. From a security perspective, it is utter nonsense as it replaces internationally-recognized borders that can be defended with a system of military control and subjugation that only fuels conflict and violence. It is, as stated in the Secretary General’s report, calamitous for Palestinians, Israelis and the region. The only explanation for it is an extremist ideology rooted in denial of the Palestinian right to this land, disregard for international law and negation of history.

It is this ideology that has undermined negotiations time and time again, with Israel using negotiations as cover for its continued colonization. This ideology fostered a narrative that Palestinians should be grateful that Israel was ready to give them back any part of their own land, fragmented and besieged enclaves, Bantustans, that Palestinians may even be allowed to call a “State”. Genuine negotiations must aim at ending occupation to achieve peace, not at perpetuating occupation and calling it peace. 

We remain committed to peace. We have presented our position in writing on all final status issues to the Quartet. Did the Quartet receive anything from Israel yet? We have never retracted any proposal we have made to find a compromise, unlike Israel which says we must renegotiate all over again with each new government. We have accepted the longstanding terms of reference and international law as the basis for negotiations, while Israel has rejected and violated them. We accepted the pre-1967 borders, agreeing to an historic compromise encompassing only 22% of Mandate Palestine, and yet Israel has spared no effort to undermine these borders. The entire world recognizes the significance of the Arab Peace Initiative and the promise it holds for our region. Where is the Israeli peace initiative? Even with the US plan, Israel said it is ready to take immediately whatever parts of our land the plan unlawfully grants it, while expressing readiness to negotiate the rest indefinitely.

That is why we call for an international peace conference and a multilateral mechanism that will help advance peace by holding the parties accountable, ensuring negotiations are neither a smoke screen nor a time-wasting exercise while Israel finalizes its colonial plans, but rather that negotiations are the path to just and lasting peace.

While Israel spares no effort to erase the pre-1967 borders, the Green Line, the world must consolidate them, including by recognizing the State of Palestine and by making any unilateral encroachment over the Green Line a red line. Every State has the power to help us change course before it is too late; the power to help end the Israeli occupation and salvage the two-State solution;  the power to save lives; the power to preserve our global order. In fact, they have a legal and moral obligation to use this power through non-recognition and non-assistance to illegal actions, distinction, and accountability. Upholding their obligations is the only path to ensure Israel abides by its own.

At the end, allow me Mr. President to thank you for convening this important meeting. I also wish to express our appreciation to the Secretary General for his report and relentless efforts and those of his envoy to advance peace. If Security Council resolutions, including 2334, were implemented, peace would be a reality tomorrow.

Allow me also to seize this opportunity to thank the Secretary General of the Arab League and the Ministers for their participation today, as a clear signal of the urgency and gravity of the matter. I also wish to thank your country and Council members, past, present and incoming, for their consistent, principled stances, including against annexation. Allow me finally to thank the countries and the groups, including the Arab group, which has been fully mobilized in the lead up to this meeting, the OIC, NAM, the EU, that continue working to advance freedom, justice and peace, conscious of how this could transform our region and the world.

Mr. President,

The Secretary General in his report highlighted the urgency of reversing this dangerous trajectory we are on. We are at a crossroad and to reverse course, before it is too late, the international community must take hold of the steering wheel.

Thank you, Mr. President.

4 June 2020 – Escalating Israeli aggression against Palestinian civilians and looming annexation

Excellency,

As we somberly commemorate the passage of 53 years since the onset of Israel’s occupation of Palestinian and Arab territories in 1967, I must write once again to draw the international community’s attention to the ongoing protection crisis and deterioration of conditions as Israel, the occupying Power, continues its depraved dehumanization of the Palestinian people and colonization of Palestinian land.

Since our last letter, Israeli occupation forces have murdered five Palestinian civilians, bringing to at least 22 the number of Palestinians, including children, killed since January in such senseless acts of violence.

On 13 May, Israeli soldiers raided Al-Fawwar refugee camp near Al-Khalil (Hebron) and shot dead Palestinian teenager Zaid Qaisiya, 17, while he stood with relatives on the rooftop of a building observing clashes on the street below. Zaid was shot in the head with live ammunition and four other Palestinians also sustained gunshots, including a 16-year-old boy who was shot in the thigh, breaking his leg.

On 14 May, Bahaeddin al-Awawda, 18, was shot dead by Israeli occupation forces outside the town of Beit Awwa in the vicinity of Al-Khalil. This was followed on 29 May by the killing of Fadi Samara Qaad, 37, a Palestinian who was on a motorcycle on his way to pick up his wife.

On 21 May, a 4-year old girl, Rafif Qara’een, was shot in the head by a stray M-16 bullet as she sat to break Ramadan fast with her family in their home in the Issawiya neighborhood of Occupied East Jerusalem, often the scene of incursions by the occupation forces, and tragically died of her wounds.

On 30 May, Iyad Hallak, 32, an autistic Palestinian man from East Jerusalem, was on his way to the special education school he attended and worked at near the Lion’s Gate, when Israeli police officers shot and killed him, firing 8 bullets into his body. Iyad, who was diagnosed as being on the low-functioning end of the autism spectrum and who had trouble communicating with those around him, “didn’t even know there was such a thing as Jews and Arabs in this country,” according to his cousin. “He didn’t know what a policeman is. He didn’t absorb such things; he didn’t have the knowledge that there even was another side. He didn’t know what a soldier is or what a weapon is. He saw a stranger and fled, and then they shot him.”

The above are not isolated incidents – far from it. Israeli occupying forces have systematically brutalized defenseless Palestinian civilians, with extrajudicial killings amounting to war crimes having become an abhorrent habit. As found by Defense for Children International Palestine, “Israeli forces routinely shoot Palestinian children who pose no imminent threat with live ammunition.” Such disregard for human life is institutionalized and widespread. Since 2000, Israeli forces or settlers have killed at least 2,116 Palestinian children. In 2019 alone, Israel killed 133 Palestinians, including 28 children.

In addition to these killings, the occupying Power has continued its routine violence against Palestinian civilians, including shooting a Palestinian man with Down Syndrome during a raid on Nabi Saleh village on 29 May; forcing the family of an elderly Palestinian woman who uses a wheelchair to demolish the home they had built in East Jerusalem to accommodate her disability; and assaulting Palestinian worshippers as they performed Eid prayers at the Lion’s Gate in Jerusalem on 24 May.

These are just a few examples of the constant harassment, intimidation and gross human rights violations being perpetrated by this illegal and cruel occupation. It is not a coincidence that the escalation of Israeli crimes against Palestinian civilians is happening in parallel with measures being taken on the ground by Israel to implement its annexation plan. That plan that would entail annexing large parts of the occupied West Bank, including the Jordan Valley and land on which it has illegally established its settlements and wall, all in grave breach of international law, including the Charter of the United Nations, the Fourth Geneva Convention and numerous relevant Security Council and General Assembly resolutions.

Undeterred by the international community’s condemnation of annexation threats and calls for cessation, on 24 May the Israeli Prime Minister provocatively repeated that his 1 July deadline to proceed with formal annexation would not change. Against the backdrop of the permissive environment created by the US administration for Israeli violations, Prime Minister Netanyahu openly declared: Israel has “an opportunity we did not have since 1948” to annex Palestinian land in the West Bank and that “we will not let this opportunity pass by”.

Given these appalling circumstances, and the lack of concrete action to hold Israel accountable for its crimes, it should come as no surprise that land appropriation, home demolitions and other acts of colonial violence in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, have been on the rise.

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) continues to report on demolitions of Palestinian property by Israeli occupying forces, including of homes. The escalation in demolitions, including of internationally-funded humanitarian structures, prompted European Union missions in Jerusalem and Ramallah to issue a statement on 28 May urging Israel “in line with the EU’s long-standing position on Israel’s settlement policy—illegal under international law—and actions taken in that context, such as forced transfers, evictions, demolitions and confiscation of homes” to halt demolitions.

In this regard, in addition to the destruction on 27 May of two tourist facilities in the Palestinian town of Sebastiya, which houses various historic sites including a Roman amphitheater, on 31 May, the occupying Power issued an order for the demolition of 200 structures, including restaurants, car repair shops and other facilities in the only Palestinian industrial area in Occupied East Jerusalem. These demolition orders are intended to clear the area for construction of an Israeli ‘tech area’ similar to ‘Silicon Valley’ and further illegally alter the City’s demographic composition and character.

Here we must again emphasize that Israel’s unilateral annexation plans, if allowed to proceed, will spell the demise of the two-State solution on the pre-1967 borders and result in a one-State apartheid system, with all of the attendant consequences of such a catastrophic scenario.

As cautioned by the Coordinating Bureau of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) in its 15 May Communiqué on Israel’s illegal annexation plans, “if not averted, such plans will have far-reaching and devastating repercussions on the prospects for realizing the rights of the Palestinian people, including to self-determination and independence; the two-State solution on the pre-1967 borders; and just and lasting peace and security in accordance with the internationally-endorsed terms of reference and parameters for a peaceful solution based on the relevant UN resolutions, the Madrid principles, including the principle of land for peace, and the Arab Peace Initiative.”

This was echoed in the 20 May briefing to the Security Council by the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Maldenov, who reiterated that “the continuing threat of annexation by Israel of parts of the West Bank would constitute a most serious violation of international law, deal a devastating blow to the two-State solution, close the door to a renewal of negotiations, and threaten efforts to advance regional peace and our broader efforts to maintain international peace and security.”

Such warnings have been made by an overwhelming number of politicians, academics, think tanks, public figures and civil society actors, who have recently weighed in on this critical matter. Below are excerpts from just some recent statements in this regard:

On 14 May, the European Council for Foreign Relations warned that “annexation– whether it starts with one settlement block or most of Area C – will cross a threshold which will be almost impossible to reverse back on. The full repercussions that such a move will trigger may be slow in coming, but they are real. This will challenge EU credibility and relevance. It will also undermine the fundamentals of the international rules-based order – in particular, the prohibition on the acquisition of territory through force. The formal demise of the Oslo-configured two-state peace process – which has been moribund for years – will also confront Israelis and Palestinians with a one-state reality in which Palestinians live under an increasingly explicit system of apartheid.”

On 22 May, 70 Italian parliamentarians called on their government to take action at the domestic and international levels against Israel’s illegal plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank, which, they warned “would bury the Middle East peace process and the prospect of two peoples living side by side in two States in mutual peace and security.”

On 30 May, the New York Times Editorial Board published an article entitled “Annexing the West Bank is a Brazen Violation of International Law” in which it warned that “the annexation would render the West Bank into a patchwork of simmering, unstable Bantustans, forever threatening a new intifada.”

On 2 June, 58 former Canadian diplomats and politicians published a letter calling on their government to stand firmly against Israel’s annexation plans, stating that “territorial conquest and annexation are notorious for contributing to fateful results: war, political instability, economic ruin, systematic discrimination and human suffering.”

It is tragic that the Palestinian people are facing this imminent annexation as they mark the 72nd year of the Palestinian Nakba and the 53rd year of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. Israel’s current annexation scheme brings into sharp focus the central objective and ultimate goal of its colonial occupation, beginning with the Nakba to the present day: usurping Palestinian land and resources while expelling or isolating as many Palestinians as possible. This intent has been expressed countless times by Israeli and Zionist leaders, and we must here remind the international community of the decades-long continuum of such provocative statements laden with colonial slurs:

“We have forgotten that we have not come to an empty land to inherit it, but we have come to conquer a country from people inhabiting it, that governs it by the virtue of its language and savage culture.” Moshe Sharett, who later became second Prime Minister of Israel, 1914

“After the formation of a large army in the wake of the establishment of the state, we will abolish partition and expand to the whole of Palestine.”  David Ben Gurion, who later became first Prime Minister of Israel, to the Zionist Executive, 1937

“Everybody has to move, run and grab as many [Palestinian] hilltops as they can to enlarge the settlements because everything we take now will stay ours… Everything we don’t grab will go to them.” Ariel Sharon, in his former role as Foreign Minister of Israel, in comments broadcast on Israeli radio, November 1998

“As you know we oppose the idea of a Palestinian state and we will fight with all our power against its establishment. As you know there is no such thing as Palestinian people so that there can be a Palestinian state. Not today, not tomorrow, not in this or that border, not by this name and not by other names…” Israeli Minister Bazelel Smotrich, Facebook, 17 February 2020

It is astounding that, despite these blatantly unlawful objectives and decades of dispossession, displacement and oppression of the Palestinian people, not only has the international community failed to mobilize genuine political will to redress this unlawful situation – from its root causes to the crises of today – but has allowed the situation to further deteriorate, with regression of both conditions on the ground and the prospects for a just solution. This has allowed Israel to entrench its occupation and colonial regime with impunity, with disastrous impact on the lives of millions of Palestinians and prospects for peace and security.

The Israeli occupation was not inevitable, nor is its continuation. Had it not been for the shielding of Israel from accountability by some, the course of Palestine’s history would have been different. Had Israel been treated like any other State – not a State above the law – accountable for its actions and penalized for its crimes, it would not have considered the idea of acquiring territory by force, let alone in broad daylight and with explicit statements to that end. Had it been treated as a State like all others, it would not have been allowed to continue expelling, besieging and killing Palestinian civilians, refusing the return of Palestine refugees, or inflicting institutionalized racism on the Palestinian population that it perceives as sub-human.

Israel will continue to act in this rogue manner and with absolute disregard for the law and Palestinian lives so long as it is exempted from legal and political accountability. The international community must realize that allowing such crimes to continue against the Palestinian people actually normalizes these crimes worldwide, undermining international norms and order and precluding peace and security. Beyond verbal censure, the international community must uphold its responsibilities and ensure respect for international law through concrete actions. Such action could include, inter alia, closing markets to Israeli settlement products, supporting the International Criminal Court in its consideration of the situation in Palestine, and imposing economic and diplomatic sanctions until the occupying Power abides by the law.

In this regard, we welcome the League of Arab States Ministerial resolution, NAM Communiqué, and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Declaration recently adopted and the clear affirmations and calls they have made. We also welcome the call by the Association of International Development Agencies (AIDA) on behalf of its 84 humanitarian, development and human rights member organizations, “on third States, the EU, and its member States, to devise and publish an exhaustive list of countermeasures to adopt in order to disincentivise Israel’s annexation policies in the occupied Palestinian territory to ensure the protection of Palestinian communities in the West Bank.” We also recognize the importance of the letter sent on 11 May by 51 anti-war groups to US presidential candidate Joe Biden, urging him to “use a combination of pressure and incentives, including leveraging the annual $3.8 billion in U.S. military funding to Israel” towards an agreement that upholds UN Security Council Resolutions and international law towards ending “Israel’s military occupation; disbanding Israel’s illegal settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem; ending the Israeli military blockade of Gaza; and ending all attacks on civilians.”

We draw hope and strength from the constant messages of solidarity expressed by countries and peoples worldwide with Palestine’s cause for freedom, justice, return, as well as protection for the Palestinian people and accountability for Israel, including the publication of an open letter on 13 May by more than 500 international musicians, actors, film-makers and others, calling for an end to Israel’s siege of Gaza, and stating: “What happens in Gaza is a test for the conscience of humanity. We back Amnesty International’s call on all world governments to impose a military embargo on Israel until it fully complies with its obligations under international law.”

As our people continue to suffer this illegal occupation, we appeal again to the international community, including the Security Council, to speak up and take responsible action. We appeal to you to stand firmly in defense of the Charter and international law and in respect of the countless United Nations resolutions adopted on the Palestine question. On this somber 53rd anniversary of the occupation, we appeal to you to act with urgency to protect human rights; to salvage the prospects for a just peace based on the two-State solution that you have advocated for and championed across decades; and to preserve the international rules- based order that you have so painstakingly created and which is now under serious threat.

This letter is in follow-up to our 687 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 13 May 2020 (A/ES-10/xxx-S/2019/xxx) 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, valuable consideration and also distributed as an official document of the Security Council.

Please accept, Excellency, the assurances of my highest consideration.

Dr. Riyad Mansour

Minister, Permanent Observer

of the State of Palestine to the United Nations

السفير منصور يطلب من مجلس الأمن توفير الحماية للشعب الفلسطيني تحت الاحتلال

عقد مجلس الأمن، برئاسة استونيا، جلسة مفتوحة عالية المستوى حول حماية المدنيين في النزاعات المسلحة اليوم الأربعاء، الموافق 27 أيار 2020، حيث ألقى السفير منصور كلمة تطرق فيها إلى حالة الشعب الفلسطيني التي وصفها مكتب تنسيق الشؤون الإنسانية “بأنها أزمة حماية طويلة الأمد بسبب عدم احترام القانون الدولي، وغياب المساءلة عن الانتهاكات”.  وطالب منصور بالحماية الدولية للشعب الفلسطيني تحت الاحتلال الإسرائيلي وأشار كذلك إلى بعض الحقائق الصعبة من ضمنها أنه لا يوجد حق لوضع أمن دولة الاحتلال على حساب أمن وحماية الشعب الواقع تحت الاحتلال، أو على حساب حق الشعب في تقرير المصير، والحق في الأمن لا يبرر الاحتلال الدائم أو الاستيلاء غير القانوني على الأراضي بالقوة واستعمارها، أو يبرر الحصار المفروض على مليوني شخص لمدة 13 عامًا وقمع أمة بأكملها.  

وأشار منصور إلى أن المحكمة الجنائية الدولية أنشئت لسد الفجوة المتبقية عندما تكون المحاكم الوطنية غير راغبة أو غير قادرة على مساءلة مرتكبي الجرائم الخطيرة وتفشل في تحقيق العدالة، مؤكدا على أن الوضع في فلسطين يتوافق تمامًا مع هذا الواقع، وأن الاعتداءات والتهديدات الموجهة ضد المحكمة بسبب أدائها لولايتها لا يمكن احتمالها وينبغي رفضها بشدة.  ونوه إلى أن الجهود الرامية إلى منع المحكمة من ممارسة اختصاصها في الأرض الفلسطينية المحتلة تهدف إلى حرمان الضحايا الفلسطينيين من أي سبيل للعدالة، مع ضمان عدم مساءلة إسرائيل عن جرائمها، وبالتالي تمكين تكرارها.

وأكد منصور أنه لا يمكن ترك مصير الشعب الفلسطيني تحت رحمة السلطة القائمة بالاحتلال، كما لا يمكن للمجتمع الدولي أن يتخلى عن التزاماته خاصة وأن إسرائيل تخرق التزاماتها بشكل منهجي.  ودعا منصور مجلس الأمن إلى الوفاء بولايته بموجب ميثاق الأمم المتحدة، وكذلك حث جميع الدول التي تؤمن بسيادة القانون الدولي إلى التمسك بالقانون والذي تم التساهل معه لفترة طويلة، الأمر الذي أدى إلى إطالة أمد الاحتلال العسكري الإسرائيلي غير الشرعي وجرائمه ضد شعبنا ومنع تحقيق السلام.