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Identical letters dated 18 August 2015 from the Permanent Observer of the State of Palestine to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General, the President of the General Assembly and the President of the Security Council
I have the honour to inform you that on 18 August 2015, in Ramallah, the Council of Ministers of the State of Palestine held its weekly meeting, which was chaired by Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, and issued a statement that included the following points:
— The Council condemned the execution of Rafiq Kamil al-Taj, aged 21, of Tubas, who was shot five times and killed by occupation forces near Bayta. It also condemned the execution of Muhammad Bassam Mustafa Amshah al-Atrash, aged 22, of Kafr Ra`i, at the military checkpoint of Za`tarah south of Nablus. The Council rejected the spurious pretexts put forward by the occupation forces to justify the execution of Palestinian citizens. The Council emphasized that the Israeli Government bore responsibility for those crimes, which were the result of its aggressive and terrorist policy of inciting the murder of Palestinians. Israeli ministers have openly stated that occupation soldiers should kill Palestinians. Those statements have encouraged terrorist settler gangs to follow suit and commit yet more terrorist crimes against the defenceless Palestinian people in occupied East Jerusalem and other governorates of the nation. The Council urged the institutions of the international community, particularly the Security Council, to assume their moral and legal responsibility to protect the Palestinian people from the daily Israeli crimes against its citizens.
The Council condemned the demolition and confiscation of 21 housing and farming units in the areas of Khan al-Ahmar, Za`im, Bir Maskub and Wadi Sunaysil in occupied East Jerusalem. It also condemned the serving of final evacuation orders to 20 families in the Abu Nawar community. The Council deplored the policy of forcibly displacing 46 Bedouin communities in the so-called El zone for the benefit of settlers. It called on the international community to fulfil its responsibility under international law, the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and other relevant international instruments, which require Israel to bring an end to all illegal and inhumane measures against civilians, including home demolitions and displacement. The international community should also take action to protect Palestinian housing communities that live under threat from the occupation.
The Council condemned the series of daily violations of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, which have also affected women and children; the occupation police has compiled a list of 20 Palestinian civilian women forbidden from entering the mosque. The Council commended the courage and resilience of the children of the summer camps in the city of Jerusalem, who prevented groups of extremist terrorist settlers from reaching the Dome of the Rock esplanade. The settler groups, which belonged to the so-called Temple Mount Faithful, had attempted to raid the holy Al-Aqsa Mosque from the Mughrabi Gate along with a substantial occupation police escort.
The Council condemned the actions of the so-called Nature and Parks Authority which, along with large number of occupation police force members, raided a 7-dunam plot of land belonging to the Al-Husayni and Al-Ansari families. The Authority began installing barbed wire around the land, which is adjacent to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the north-eastern side, thereby separating it from the graveyard with a view to absorbing it. That action was part of a series of confiscations that have been carried out by settler groups and the Israeli Government in and around Jerusalem.
The Council condemned the current settler attack on the town of Silwan and, in particular, the Batn al-Hawa quarter. It also condemned the Israeli occupation plan overseen by the extremist organization Ateret Cohanim with the purpose of gaining control of some 100 Palestinian housing units, which are home to 1,500 Jerusalemite citizens. The Israeli Government and its various settler extensions have called for bids to build a synagogue to be known as "Jewel of Israel" in the old town of occupied Jerusalem. The Council stressed that this daily encroachment on the part of the settlers is taking place with the blessing of the Israeli Government and its extremist components. The Israeli Government has allocated hundreds of millions of shekels per year to protecting those organizations and their activities in the Arab quarters of the Holy City. Its aim is to collectively displace Palestinian families from their homes and city as part of a policy of Judaizing the Holy City and altering its characteristics. The Council warned of the consequences of the bare-faced escalation of Israeli violations, all of which are intended to rob the Holy City and the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque of their Islamic and Christian historic and cultural heritage. The international community must break its silence, and Arab and Islamic States must take a firm stance regarding the threat facing the Holy City and the Al-Aqsa Mosque. The Council urged all States and the United Nations and its specialized agencies to take action in order to cut off the extremist settler groups’ sources of funding around the world.
The Council called on the United Nations entities and the relevant institutions and committees to break their silence regarding Israel’s flagrant violations of international law and international humanitarian law in its treatment of prisoners. Israel’s policy of administrative detention has blighted the lives of Palestinian prisoners. The most recent case is that of Muhammad Allan, who has been on hunger strike since 14 June 2015 in protest at his unjust administrative detention. Prison staff have received clear legal permission to commit yet more lethal crimes against Palestinian prisoners and detainees. A racist law has been adopted to authorize the force-feeding of hunger strikers. The Council called on the high contracting parties to the Geneva Conventions to prevail on the occupation government to put an end to illegal administrative detention, implement the Declaration of the Conference of High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, hold accountable anyone who violates the Geneva Conventions, and secure the immediate and unconditional release of all prisoners, particularly administrative detainees. The Council called on special rapporteurs to visit the jails of the occupation and observe the arbitrary repressive measures that are in force. That step is particularly urgent given the recent escalation imposed by prison administrators, including nightly raids of prison wings and cells, a frenzied campaign of abuse and searches, the rescission of the prisoners’ achievements and the destruction of their personal possessions.
The present letter is in follow-up to our 550 letters regarding the ongoing crisis in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, which constitutes the State of Palestine. Those letters, dated from 29 September 2000 (A/55/432-5/2000/921) to 11 August 2015 (A/ES-10/687-5/2015/616), constitute a basic record of the crimes being committed against the Palestinian people. Israel, the occupying Power, must be held accountable and the perpetrators brought to justice.
I should be grateful if you would have the present letter issued as a document of the tenth emergency special session of the General Assembly, under agenda item 5, and of the Security Council.