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The present letter is my first correspondence to you following the historic vote by the General Assembly on 29 November 2012 by which resolution 67/19, entitled “Status of Palestine in the United Nations”, was adopted by an overwhelming majority of Member States and by which the Assembly has thus accorded to Palestine non-member observer State status in the United Nations. This important resolution constitutes reaffirmation of the international community’s vast support for the inalienable rights and legitimate national aspirations of the Palestinian people, including to freedom and dignity in their independent State of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital on the basis of the pre-1967 borders, and long-overdue recognition by the Assembly of the statehood of Palestine.
Moreover, the support given to this resolution is a clear indication of the international community’s continuing commitment to the two-State solution for peace, based on the relevant United Nations resolutions, the Madrid principles, the Arab Peace Initiative and the Quartet road map. The General Assembly’s adoption of resolution 67/19 must therefore be viewed as a significant and responsible multilateral, political effort to save the two-State solution and create the proper framework and environment for the resumption of negotiations between the parties within a credible peace process aimed at speedily achieving an end to the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territory since 1967 and achieving a just, lasting, comprehensive and final peace settlement.
Regrettably, despite this strong, clear message by the international community, Israel, the occupying Power, continues to behave in a rogue, hostile and arrogant manner, contravening all principles and rules of international law and reacting with contempt to the will of the international community. At the very same time that the Palestinian leadership has reaffirmed its commitment to and readiness to resume peace negotiations, Israel continues to flagrantly pursue its illegal policies and practices throughout the entirety of the Palestinian land it has been illegitimately occupying for more than 45 years and remains permissive and totally complicit with the crimes being perpetrated by the settlers it has illegally transferred to the Occupied Palestinian Territory since 1967.
Israel’s immediate response to the General Assembly’s decision and to Palestine’s extended hand for peace has been the intensification of its illegal settlement colonization campaign. The day after the adoption of resolution 67/19 by the General Assembly, on 30 November 2012, the Israeli Government announced plans to construct 3,000 settlement units in an area east of Occupied East Jerusalem, commonly referred to as “E1”. These provocative plans are aimed at connecting the illegal settlement of “Maale Adumim” with the other illegal settlements of Israel in and around Occupied East Jerusalem and would effectively sever and isolate the City from the cities of Ramallah and Bethlehem, further undermining the contiguity of the State of Palestine. In this regard, it must be noted that “Maale Adumim” has been illegally constructed on 48,000 dunums of confiscated Palestinian land and the “E1” area covers another 12,000 dunums of Palestinian land, and the plans could potentially increase the illegal settler population by 20,000.
This provocative move, along with other recent Israeli declarations regarding the construction and expansion of illegal settlements in, inter alia, “Pisgat Zeev”, “Gilo” and “Givat Hamatos”, are further proof of the occupying Power’s rejection of the two-State solution and its deliberate choice of occupation and conflict over the option of peace.
We reiterate that all Israeli settlement activities are illegal, constituting grave breaches of article 49 (6) of the Fourth Geneva Convention and thus constituting war crimes, as further determined in accordance with article 85 (4) of the first additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions and article 8 (2) (b) (viii) of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Israel, the occupying Power, must be held accountable for all of the war crimes it is committing against the Palestinian people.
The Palestinian leadership condemns this latest Israeli provocation and calls on the international community to reaffirm its unequivocal condemnation of all Israeli settlement activities and actions that are gravely threatening the viability of the two-State solution of Palestine and Israel living side by side in peace and security on the basis of the pre-1967 borders. A clear message must be sent to Israel that all of its illegal policies must cease or that it will be held accountable and will have to bear the consequences of its violations and obstruction of peace efforts.
We thus appeal once again to the international community, including the Security Council, to act with urgency to uphold the law and to salvage the two-State solution for peace, on which there remains international consensus, as reaffirmed in the strong support given to General Assembly resolution 67/19. Israel, the occupying Power, must be compelled to abandon its expansionism, colonization and aggression against the Palestinian people and their land and instead commit to the path of peace and take the hand of peace outstretched to it by Palestine at this historic, critical moment. The choice is now for Israel to make.
The present letter is in follow-up to our previous 444 letters regarding the ongoing crisis in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, since 28 September 2000. The letters, dated from 29 September 2000 (A/55/432-S/2000/921) to 23 November 2012 (A/ES-10/572-S/2012/875), 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 committed against the Palestinian people, Israel, the occupying Power, must be held accountable and the perpetrators must be brought to justice.
I should be grateful if you would arrange to have the text of the present letter distributed as a document of the tenth emergency special session of the General Assembly, under agenda item 5, and of the Security Council.