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I write to you today to draw urgent attention to ongoing illegal Israeli actions in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, particularly in East Jerusalem. Yesterday, 15 June 2010, the Israeli occupying authorities in East Jerusalem approved the implementation of the Israeli Government’s plan, of 10 March 2010, for construction of another 1,600 settlement units in the illegal settlement of “Ramat Shlomo” in Occupied East Jerusalem. This unlawful act is clearly aimed at further altering the demographic composition, legal status and geographical nature of the occupied City, to further destabilize the situation on the ground and to obstruct peace efforts. In this regard, we believe it is relevant to point out that the initial announcement for the construction of these units was made when the Vice-President of the United States of America, Joseph Biden, was in the region, and the current announcement of the intention to proceed has been made just as the Special Envoy of the United States, George Mitchell, is en route to the region as part of the efforts to advance the proximity talks between the two sides. The endangerment of the talks by such a provocation cannot be underestimated, nor should the timing of such an illegal act.
The decision to proceed with the illegal and provocative plan is a clear affront to the international community’s clear position in this regard, including by the Quartet, condemning the Israeli Government’s decision to construct these illegal settlement units in Occupied East Jerusalem and calling on Israel, the occupying Power, to immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, including so-called “natural growth”, and to dismantle all settlement outposts. Once again, Israel is responding to international appeals and demands to rescind the decision to pursue this unlawful colonization scheme and abandon illegal settlement activities with flagrant intransigence, arrogance and impunity.
The pursuit of such illegal and destructive policies, in addition to ongoing Israeli aggression and collective punishment of the Palestinian people, including its continuing illegal blockade of the Gaza Strip and its military attack on the humanitarian convoy of ships on 31 May 2010 by which it killed nine Turkish civilians and injured dozens of others, call once again into question Israel’s credibility as a peace partner and its commitment to the two-State solution for peace. Indeed, such actions as this approval to proceed with massive illegal settlement activity in East Jerusalem reveal that Israel has not abandoned its expansionist agenda and does not adhere to the parameters and principles for achievement of the two-State solution on the basis of the 1967 borders.
In this regard, we are compelled to reiterate that East Jerusalem is an integral part of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, it remains occupied, and that, in the context of the two-State solution for peace — on which there is a clear international consensus on the basis of international law, United Nations resolutions, the Arab Peace Initiative and the Quartet road map — it is to be the future capital of the State of Palestine.
At the same time, the Israeli occupying forces continue to perpetrate acts of aggression against Palestinian civilians. In another incident displaying the occupying Power’s utter disregard for human life and disrespect for international law, Israeli occupying forces intentionally opened fire and deliberately killed last week a Palestinian resident of Jerusalem, Ziad Jilani, 39 years old. The occupying Power also denied the needed medical treatment to Mohammad Abdeen, a Palestinian detainee in Israeli occupation detention prison of Al-Ramla, which resulted in his death.
Settler acts of terror have also continued, facilitated and fomented by the occupying Power, which is responsible for the presence and arming of the settlers and permissively allows their repeated and escalating acts of terror, destruction, harassment and intimidation against the Palestinian civilian population to go unpunished. Indeed, the new Israeli Government’s openly hostile policies towards Palestinian rights, property and legitimate national aspirations have only further emboldened the hostility and fanaticism of the illegal Israeli settlers towards the Palestinian people. In this regard, today dozens of extremist, militant settlers living in the notorious “Kiryat Arba” illegal settlement in Al-Khalil (Hebron) raided the homes of several Palestinian residents in the nearby Jabal Jales village at midnight and destroyed their farmlands.
Israel’s continuation of such illegal policies and practices, in addition to its continuing illegal, inhumane and shameful blockade of the Gaza Strip and the immeasurable suffering and trauma it is inflicting on the 1.5 million civilians imprisoned there, constitutes yet further irrefutable evidence of the occupying Power’s abject disregard for international law, including humanitarian and human rights law, as well as its rejection of the legitimate, inalienable and internationally recognized rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination and freedom in their homeland.
Such destructive policies and practices are also in direct violation of Israel’s clear legal obligations as an occupying Power as well as under relevant Security Council resolutions. If left unchecked, such illegal Israeli actions will deal a severe blow to the fragile proximity talks for peace and will further destabilize the region as they challenge the morals and principles of the international community as a whole, not just the Palestinian nation. The Palestinian people and their leadership thus continue to appeal to the international community, including the Security Council, to uphold the clear responsibilities and legal obligations in this regard and to take urgent action to bring an end to this unlawful situation, ultimately aimed at bringing an end to this belligerent, 43-year military occupation and allowing the independent State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital, to take its rightful place and live in peace and security among the community of nations.
The present letter is in follow-up to our previous 369 letters regarding the ongoing crisis in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, since 28 September 2000. These letters, dated from 29 September 2000 (A/55/432-S/2000/921) to 7 June 2010 (A/ES-10/490-S/2010/290), constitute a basic record of the crimes being committed by Israel, the occupying Power, against the Palestinian people since September 2000. For all 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.