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We write today to express our grave concern about the incitement by Israel’s Foreign Minister against President Mahmoud Abbas. On 24 October, the Israeli Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, who is the main coalition partner of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, declared that President Abbas was the “greatest obstacle” to peace. The daily Israeli newspaper Haaretz quoted Mr. Lieberman as stating, “If there is one obstacle that should be removed immediately, it is [Abbas]”.
We unequivocally reject and object to such incitement, which we consider to be a clear threat against the life of President Mahmoud Abbas, whose commitment to peace is absolutely unquestionable, as well as to the prospects for peace. Further, we consider the statement to be the official policy of Israel, the occupying Power, and thus demand that the Israeli Government disavow such provocative statements and incitement to violence. Indeed, we voice our concern that these hostile declarations in fact reflect the true intentions of the Israeli Government, which has deliberately obstructed peace efforts and systematically invested in flagrant violations of international law and the continued illegal colonization of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem. Moreover, we believe that such threats must be directly confronted, for they foment hatred and violence towards the Palestinian people and their leadership and exacerbate the already high tensions and deep mistrust between the two sides, leading to a further destabilization of the situation.
Today, we must also reaffirm our condemnation and total objection to the plans by Israel, the occupying Power, to build a new illegal settlement in Occupied East Jerusalem. The planning of another huge new settlement does not bode well for the peace process and yet again reflects that Israel has no intention of ceasing this illegal and destructive colonization campaign and is not interested in the two-State solution for peace that we and the rest of the international community are striving to achieve. It has become clear that the plans for the illegal settlement of “Givat Hamatos” will contain at least 4,000 settlement units and will complete the encirclement of Occupied East Jerusalem and effectively sever that city from the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, particularly the city’s southern environs in the Bethlehem area.
Additionally, the occupying Power has illegally confiscated 37 dunums of land in the town of Beit Jala to expand the construction of its illegal wall. In addition to causing harm to the families in Beit Jala, this latest confiscation confirms the worst fears of residents in the nearby village of Al-Walaje, who will now be trapped in a so-called “seam zone” as a result of this illegal measure. Yesterday, 25 October, Israel, the occupying Power, also closed down three Palestinian organizations in Occupied East Jerusalem, hence continuing its systematic efforts to void the city of its indigenous Palestinian population and culture.
Today, the members of the Quartet are meeting with the parties in an effort to secure the return to a credible political process aimed at ending Israel’s 44-year-old military occupation and achieving peace, security and coexistence between the two sides. And while such efforts are exerted by the many concerned members of the international community, Israel continues to work directly against these aims, once again answering with unilateralism, intransigence and abject disregard for the unanimous will of the international community. This intransigence must not be met with accommodation. Instead, the international community must serve the cause of peace and confront these objectionable actions by insisting on the application of the only acceptable terms for a credible political process, i.e. international law and the relevant United Nations resolutions.
The international community must not allow a belligerent occupying Power to hold the fate of a region and the prospects for peace hostage to its insatiable appetite for colonization, hegemony and oppression. We call on you, acting on behalf of the international community, to exert the necessary efforts at this critical juncture to ensure that international law is respected and that Israel, the occupying Power, ceases all of its illegal measures and actions in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and ceases its hostile incitement and aggression against the Palestinian people and their leadership and instead commits to compliance with its obligations in international law and the relevant United Nations resolutions. In the absence of this, we regret that all of our efforts towards a peaceful settlement in accordance with the two-State solution on the basis of the pre-1967 borders will be totally undermined and undone.
The present letter is in follow-up to our previous 407 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 17 October 2011 (A/ES-10/535-S/2011/645) 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.