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Letter dated 10 August 1972 from the representative of Jordan
to the Secretary-General
Upon instructions from my Government, I have the honour to bring to your attention new Israeli illegal measures and violations of the General Assembly and Security Council resolutions pertaining to Jerusalem. Latest reports reaching my Government speak of more adamant Israeli designs to complete the Judaization of the Old City of Jerusalem. My Government is extremely disturbed by the worsening situation in Jerusalem as a result of the Israeli persistence in the implementation of measures designed to change the status and character of the Holy City. Efforts are being made at present by the Israelis to evacuate 3,500 Arab inhabitants who live within the Old City. Last month a special company acting on behalf of the Israeli authorities, the "Company for the Development of the Jewish Quarter in the Old City of Jerusalem", which was entrusted by the occupation authorities with the task of evacuating Arab inhabitants from the expropriated areas in the Old City, had sent evacuation notices to hundreds of the inhabitants of that "confiscated Quarter" to leave their houses or they will face the consequences. A copy in Arabic and Hebrew of the evacuation notice is attached.1/
Arab families, numbering over 3,500 persons, who refused to leave their houses since the expropriation date (18 April 1968) received the evacuation notice last month; but they are determined not to surrender their property. Some of the expropriated buildings are private houses, others are the property of the religious endowment, Waqf.
The number of the buildings included in the expropriation order, published in the Israeli official Gazette No. 1443 of 18 April 1968, is 595. Among them are 1,048 residential apartments, 437 shops and groceries, 5 mosques and 4 schools. They are located in five Arab quarters that had been illegally confiscated. These include Magharbah Quarter, Sharaf Quarter, Bab Elilsilah Quarter, part of the Armenian Quarter and old Jewish Quarter. The Israeli authorities named all of these Quarters the "Jewish Quarter" in order to mislead world public opinion and to eliminate from Jerusalem all Islamic and Arabic presence. It is worth noting that, according to the British mandate records, Jewish property in the above-mentioned quarters was not more than 105 houses out of 700 located in the illegally confiscated area.
Ever since 18 April 1968, the expropriation date, the Israeli authorities have been practising pressure on the owners and the tenants of the confiscated buildings to evacuate them and surrender the rights to them. But they have protested the Israeli illegal actions and categorically refused to surrender their property. They sent several appeals and memoranda to the United Nations which, together with other Israeli illegal measures, were the subject of previous debates resulting in many resolutions adopted by the General Assembly, the Security Council and the various United Nations organizations. In all these resolutions Israel was condemned for its illegal and arbitrary measures and was called upon to halt and rescind all measures taken to change the status and the character of the city. In utter disregard of these resolutions Israel continued its arbitrary actions by expropriating Arab property and evacuating the Arab population living within the Old City:
(a) On 11 June 1967 and the following week, the Israeli Army destroyed 135 Arab houses and two mosques in Magharbah Quarter and evacuated 650 Arabs after they had been given three hours' notice;
(b) On 14 June 1969 the Fakhriyya Corner which is attached to Al-Aqsa Mosque, together with 14 buildings owned by the religious endowment, Waqf, were demolished by the Israeli forces, and their inhabitants, numbering 80 persons, were expelled;
(c) During the period 1969-1971 the Israeli authorities launched a series of arbitrary acts resulting in the eviction of 360 Arab families, numbering 1,964 persons, living within the walls of the Old City and the confiscation of 280 buildings owned by the Islamic Waqf.
According to Haaretz of 11 May 1972, the "Company for the Development of the Jewish Quarter in the Old City of Jerusalem" is entrusted, in addition to the evacuation of the Arab inhabitants, with the demolition of the Arab buildings and the planning and construction of new Jewish buildings and to prepare the threatened Arab area to accommodate 5,000 Jews. The plans prepared by the said company include the following projects:
(b) The construction of 250 shops;
(c) The construction of religious schools with a capacity of 1,500 students;
(d) The construction of synagogues;
(e) The construction of two hotels;
(f) The construction of stairs from the middle of the confiscated area to the Western Wall of Haram Al-Sharif (the Wailing Wall).
The Company, during the period from 1969 to 11 May 1972, completed the following projects:
(b) The destruction of many of the Arab houses;
(c) The construction and renovation of 250 housing units;
(d) The construction of 250 rooms for public utilities;
(e) The construction of 30 shops;
(f) The construction of the stairs from the Quarter to the Western Wall of Haram Al-Sharif (the Wailing Wall);
(g) The housing of 70 Jewish families and 400 young Jews in private houses.
The Company, which is acting on behalf of the Israeli Government, is continuing its task in defiance of the United Nations resolutions and of the national and religious feelings of the Arabs and Moslems. It is in the process of evacuating the remaining Arabs in the Old City and destroying then: houses as part of the Israeli plans and designs to void the city of its authentic population and change its character.
In view of the continued illegal Israeli actions and. planned measures, it has become urgent that immediate and effective steps be taken to stop these measures and to halt the new Israeli move, which is in direct violation of the United Nations resolutions and the fourth Geneva Convention of 1949.2/
May I request you to bring this letter to the attention of the Commission on Human Rights and the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting Human Rights of the Population of the Occupied Territories?
I should be grateful if this letter could be circulated as an official document of the Security Council and the General Assembly.
* Also circulated as a General Assembly document under the symbol A/8755.
1/ Not reproduced here. It may be consulted in the archives of the Secretariat.
2/ Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949 (United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 75 (1950), No. 973).