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Identical letters dated 6 June 2005 from the Chargé d’affaires a.i. of the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General and to the President of the Security Council
Yesterday, Sunday, 5 June 2005, marked 38 years since the onset of Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, in 1967. Since then, Israel, the occupying Power, has continuously pursued policies and practices that are in violation of the rules and principles of international law and United Nations resolutions and that have aimed at the acquisition of more territory by force and the de facto annexation of the land under its occupation. As of this very moment, Israel continues to undertake unilateral and concrete measures that are altering the situation on the ground and, if not ceased and reversed, will negatively influence the outcome of any final settlement between the two sides.
Foremost among these illegal policies and practices has been Israel’s colonial settlement campaign throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, which has involved the confiscation of thousands of dunums of Palestinian land for the building and expansion of Israeli settlements and the bypass roads that connect them. In June of 2002, Israel began its second major enterprise linked with this colonial campaign, namely the construction of the Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem. The Wall, in conjunction with the hundreds of checkpoints and roadblocks established by Israel throughout the Occupied Territory, has severely restricted the freedom of movement of the Palestinian civilian population and is destroying the territorial contiguity of the Palestinian territory and thus the future prospect for the achievement of the two-State solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
In specific, Israel continues to carry out measures to unlawfully change the border between Israel and the territory it occupied in 1967, namely the 1949 Armistice Line, also known as the 1967 Line or Green Line. The construction of the Wall in the West Bank, in departure from the 1967 Line and deep inside the Occupied Territory, and the strategic establishment of various checkpoints are part and parcel of Israel’s efforts to blur this line and to physically erect a new political border between it and the Palestinian territory.
In this regard, I would like to draw your attention to Israel’s measures concerning the Qalandiya checkpoint which it has erected in the centre of the West Bank in a densely populated Palestinian civilian area and parallel to which the route of the Wall is being carved. It is being reported that Israel plans to transform the Qalandiya checkpoint into a border crossing — similar to an international gateway or crossing point — In this regard, I would like to draw your attention to Israel’s measures concerning the Qalandiya checkpoint which it has erected in the centre of the West Bank in a densely populated Palestinian civilian area and parallel to which the route of the Wall is being carved. It is being reported that Israel plans to transform the Qalandiya checkpoint into a border crossing — similar to an international gateway or crossing point — for the tens of thousands of Palestinians who cross it each day. Israel has accelerated work in an area a few metres east of the Qalandiya checkpoint to prepare for the construction of a compound or installation that will separate the northern and southern parts of the West Bank and separate Jerusalem and its surrounding towns and villages from the Ramallah area.
It is also being reported that Israel plans for this crossing point, which will be the largest and costliest ever to be built by Israel in the Palestinian territory, to be operated by a new civilian authority under the Ministry of Public Security and that it plans for other Government representatives, including the Interior Ministry and the Income Tax Authority, to be present there, as well as at a similar terminal being built outside of Bethlehem. Such plans confirm Israel’s intentions to transform this checkpoint into a permanent border crossing inside the Occupied Palestinian Territory itself and not on the 1967 Line, intricately connected to the political border it has been establishing via its construction of the Wall, which the International Court of Justice concluded was unlawful and called for its cessation and dismantlement.
The Wall and the Qalandiya checkpoint combined are the denouement of Israel’s incessant efforts aimed at the illegal, de facto annexation of East Jerusalem and its total separation and isolation from the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territory. The impact on Jerusalem and the surrounding area will be grave, further altering their demographic compositions and destroying the socio-economic conditions and the very fabric of the lives of the tens of thousands of Palestinians living on either side of the Wall and the checkpoint.
These are serious developments that cannot continue and must not be overlooked by the international community. The continuation of this situation will totally undermine any progress, including in terms of the Gaza withdrawal and in terms of a genuine resumption of the peace process towards the implementation of the road map. In this respect, it is imperative to recall that, under phase I of the road map, Israel is supposed to withdraw from Palestinian areas occupied in September 2000 and the two sides are to restore the status quo that existed at that time. The understandings reached during the Sharm el-Sheikh summit also call for the withdrawal of Israeli forces to pre-September 2000 positions. This critical commitment has not been fulfilled by Israel and its fulfilment is vital for an improvement in conditions on the ground and for any movement forward. On the contrary, Israel continues to entrench its positions, seeking to establish a permanent situation on the ground, and the Qalandiya checkpoint is one glaring example that must be urgently addressed.
We urge the international community as a whole to exert all necessary efforts to address this situation. In this regard, measures should be taken by the Security Council and the General Assembly to compel Israel to cease its illegal practices and abandon its expansionist designs and instead to recommit itself to the peace process and to the implementation of the road map towards the achievement of the two-State solution of Israel and an independent, sovereign and territorially contiguous Palestine, living side by side in peace and security on the basis of the pre-1967 borders.
The present letter is in follow-up to our previous 218 letters to you 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 May 2005 (A/ES-10/302-S/2005/321) constitute a basic record of the crimes committed by Israel, the occupying Power, against the Palestinian people since September 2000. For all of these war crimes, 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 would be grateful if you would arrange to have the present letter and its annex distributed as a document of the tenth emergency special session of the General Assembly, under agenda item 5, and of the Security Council.