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Identical letters dated 2 October 2014 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 regret to inform you of the continuing turmoil and deterioration of the situation in the Occupied State of Palestine, including East Jerusalem, due to illegal and provocative policies that continue to be pursued by Israel, the occupying Power. These illegal policies continue to negatively impact and prejudice the situation on the ground, to cause suffering and hardship for the Palestinian people and to inflame already heightened tensions between the two sides.
The international community bears witness, yet again, to Israel’s fixation with its illegal settlement enterprise, which includes the destruction, theft and confiscation of Palestinian lands and properties, the construction and expansion of both settlements and the Wall and the forced displacement of Palestinian families. Just today Israel announced that the construction of 2,610 new units for the illegal settlement of Gi’vat Hamatos in Beit Safafa in Occupied East Jerusalem, which was approved in 2012, will now begin and that the Government will publish tenders for construction. If implemented, these plans would further isolate East Jerusalem from Bethlehem, while facilitating Israel’s attempts to link its illegal settlements of Gilo and Har Homa. Moreover, in recent weeks, the Israeli Government announced plans to forcibly transfer approximately 13,000 Palestinian civilians from the Bedouin communities, the large majority constituting Palestine refugees, from their current areas of residence to the east of Jerusalem to an area near Jericho. The plan to undertake such a forced transfer, in grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention, is also clearly and directly related to Israel’s illegal settlement schemes, particularly in the so-called El area.
We have repeatedly cautioned that this illegal Israeli settlement campaign is undermining and fragmenting the contiguity and territorial integrity of the State of Palestine and threatens the viability and prospects for the physical realization of the two-State solution on the basis of the pre-1967 borders. This is being carried out in flagrant and grave breach of international humanitarian law and in complete defiance of condemnation by the international community. It also should be noted that in the past six months alone, at least 7,500 illegal Israeli settlers have been transferred into settlements in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem. The Palestinian leadership reiterates its demand that the occupying Power rescind these latest decisions and demands that Israel, the occupying Power, cease immediately and completely all of its settlement activities in the Occupied State of Palestine, including in and around East Jerusalem, and abide by its obligations under the Fourth Geneva Convention.
I wish to also bring your attention to another dangerous development regarding the repeated incursions and provocations by extremist settlers at Al-Haram Al-Sharif in Occupied East Jerusalem. Yesterday, 1 October, a group of over 80 Israeli extremists entered the Al-Aqsa compound and assaulted Palestinian worshippers and attempted to attack Al-Aqsa guards all while the heavily-armed occupying forces who were escorting them looked on and refused to take any measures to halt the extremists’ attacks. Such provocations not only threaten to ignite the already inflamed climate, but completely disregard the sensitive status of Al-Aqsa Mosque, the first qibla and third holiest site in Islam. Such continued illegal Israeli actions at Al-Haram Al-Sharif are also in violation of the numerous relevant Security Council and General Assembly resolutions calling for the cessation of all Israeli policies and measures aimed at altering the character, legal status and demography of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and for respect by Israel, the occupying Power, of its obligations under international law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibits such actions.
Furthermore, we must continue to draw the international community’s attention to the ongoing plight of the more than 1.8 million Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip who continue to suffer exponentially from the massive human devastation and physical destruction caused by the more than 50-day criminal Israeli military aggression against Gaza. They must not be forgotten and all efforts must be undertaken to alleviate their suffering and hardships. The humanitarian disaster in Gaza is only worsening as the Israeli blockade continues to obstruct the massive reconstruction and recovery efforts so urgently required. Thousands of families rendered homeless by the Israeli destruction of their homes remain displaced in Gaza, sheltering in UNRWA schools or with host families; thousands of civilians continue to require medical care due to wounds sustained in the Israeli attacks; clean water for human consumption remains scarce; electricity cuts continue up to 18 hours a day because of lack of fuel for the power plant, affecting every sector of life; and thousands of unexploded ordnance launched by Israel at Gaza continue to threaten civilian lives and require removal prior to any effective reconstruction. In addition, yesterday, 1 October, Israeli military vehicles entered the southern Gaza Strip and opened fire on Palestinian farmers tending their agricultural fields, violating yet again the ceasefire agreed to by the parties on 26 August 2014. Also in Gaza, Rahaf Abu Jame, age 5, succumbed to her wounds sustained from an Israeli air strike that occurred during Israel’s 50-day aggression. Rahaf’s parents were also killed in that same air strike, along with at least 24 other members of the Abu Jame family. Rahaf is the third Palestinian in Gaza to have succumbed to injuries during the past week.
In addition to the above, I am compelled to draw the international community’s attention to the several incidents that have taken place since our last letter, dated 17 September 2014. These actions, in violation of international law, continue to inflict hardship on our people and are aggravating already-high tensions and instability at this time:
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.