Question of Palestine home
21 March 1969
LETTER DATED 21 HARCH 1969 FROM THE PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF JORDAN
TO THE UNITED NATIONS ADDRESSED TO THE SECRETARY-GENERAL
Upon instructions from my Government, I have the honour to bring to Your Excellency's attention serious and arbitrary Israeli measures against the Arab population under Israeli occupation and in particular those living in Arab Jerusalem.
In the first week of this month hundreds of innocent Jordanian citizens were detained arbitrarily and tortured; religious and secular leaders were arrested and imprisoned; schools were attacked and students brutally beaten; several houses were completely demolished.
In the cities and towns of Jerusalem, Nablus, Al-Khalil (Hebron), Gaza, Ramallah, Bethlehem and Beir Zeit, mass arrests were carried out. Information received today shows that a new wave of arrests has included larger groups of Arab women and teen-age girl students from Nablus, Gaza and Jerusalem. Mrs. Isam Abdul Hadi, President of the Palestine Women's Union, was also arrested and imprisoned. More than 250 persons including elderly women were imprisoned and tortured.
In an unprecedented move the Israeli authorities arrested the Anglican Reverend, Elia Khouri, in Ramallah, and closed and sealed the Anglican Church there. People of all walks of life protested against this. Women in Jerusalem, Ramallah, Bethlehem and Beit Sahur took refuge in their churches and protested against such measures. Hunger strikes have taken place in churches and mosques in many other parts of the occupied territories.
Christian and Moslem leaders, some of whom were expelled from Jerusalem, sent a cable to Your Excellency on this question. The text of this cable is attached herewith (see annex I).
Dr. Nabih Muammer, the Director of the Makasid Philanthropic Hospital, situated on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, and the only surgeon of the hospital, whose services are indispensable, was also arbitrarily arrested and imprisoned.
Physicians in a meeting held in Makasid Hospital on 9 March 1969 issued a declaration condemning these and other Israeli measures. The text of their declaration and protest is also attached to my letter (see annex II).
On 2 March 1969, two high school girls were attacked by Israeli soldiers and the girls and teachers were savagely beaten. In Ramallah Secondary School, a teacher lost consciousness and many girls were brutally beaten and injured. The scene in Bethlehem Secondary School was not different. While holding a sit-in peaceful strike in their school, the girls were suddenly attacked by Israeli soldiers and savagely beaten. The Secretary of the Municipal Council of Bethlehem together with sixteen students were also beaten and imprisoned. The Mayor of Bethlehem protested vehemently to the Military Governor of this area.
Moreover, the destruction of Arab houses continues. In the first two weeks of this month several houses were destroyed; six in Jerusalem, four in Gaza, four in Ramallah, three in Al-Khalil (Hebron), two in Nablus and one in Beir Zeit.
Teddy Kollek, whom the Israelis have illegally declared as the Mayor of Arab Jerusalem, expressed his satisfaction that the houses in "his" city were bulldozed rather than dynamited!
In Arab Jerusalem, Israel continues to put into effect further measures to consolidate its illegal annexation of the city. The citizens have expressed their rejection of such measures. Their latest protest and rejection were addressed to Your Excellency, the original copy of which (in Arabic) and its translation are attached (see annex III).
Expulsion of Jordanian citizens, especially young men, continues to be a corner-stone of the Israeli policy towards the occupied Arab territories. On 4 March 1969, after one year of torture and imprisonment, seven young Palestinians were expelled. These were Hamdan Hamad, Ibrahim Hamad, and Suleiman Safadi of Rafah, Ibrahim Abu-Ismael and Yasser Suleiman of Khan Yunis, Mohammad Barakat of Gaza and Gabir Abu Farah of Jabalia refugee camp, Gaza.
Your Excellency will recall that, in accordance with Security Council resolution 259 (1968), you have submitted a report (document S/8851 dated 14 October 1968) informing the Council of Israel's refusal to abide by its resolution, and therefore as Your Excellency reported, you "have not been able to give effect to the decision of the Security Council". This report has not been discussed by the Council yet.
The above Israeli measures increase daily in intensity and cruelty. This fact makes the consideration of your report an urgent necessity. More so since Israel, instead of complying with Security Council resolution 237 (1967), "to ensure the safety, welfare and security of the inhabitants", is tightening her grip on them.
No attitude of indifference, Mr. Secretary-General, should be allowed to prevail in the face of such criminal Israeli actions. Nor should the Israeli policy of distortion and deceit be permitted to conceal the truth about the Israeli occupation, which continues to pose a most serious challenge to the United Nations authority.
I have the honour to request that this letter and its annexes, together with the original text in Arabic and the signatures that appear therein, be circulated as official documents of the General Assembly and Security Council.
) Muhammad H. EL-FARRA
* Also issued under the symbol A/7531.
We, Christian and Moslem religious heads in Jordan's capital, join voices of Moslem and Christian masses who stayed all today in Mosques and Churches in silent protest and solidarity against atrocities perpetrated by Israeli authorities in our territories under occupation. We appeal to human conscience to put an end to Palestinian tragedy and take effective measures for return of Arab refugees and expellees to their native land. We strongly condemn repressive measures and policy of intimidation and expulsion applied against Arab inhabitants and directed lately against innocent ladies and school girls. We demand full restoration of Arab rights and return to us of our Holy Places and shrines within an inseparable national unity for our Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in both banks. May we request Secretary-General to distribute this message to all United Nations delegations.
Archbishop Deadoras, Sheikh Abdallah Goshe
Archbishop Assaf, Sheikh Abdelhamid Sayeh
Bishop Simman, Sheikh Abdallah Galghily
His Excellency U Thant
New York, N.Y.
Declaration of physicians against Israeli arbitrary
and illegal measures in Jerusalem
We, Arab physicians in Jerusalem, met in the Jordanian Government Hospital of Jerusalem on 9 March 1969 to state our position and declare our opinion as a group who feel especial and humane responsibilities particularly under the present circumstances and dangerous events that haunt our country, and decided to have a sit-in strike for two days in the hospital to express what has befallen us to world public opinion and to reject all illegal steps and measures taken by the Israeli occupying authorities, which include:
1. Israel's illegal annexation of Jerusalem and what other steps followed to amalgamate the professional, economic and administrative activities against the wish and will of the people, not to mention its violations of international law and United Nations resolutions;
2. Confiscation of the newly built Jordanian Government Hospital in Jerusalem's Sheikh Jarrah Quarter and transform it to meet other purposes (Israeli police headquarters);
3. The Israeli Government's decision to close down the old hospital, the Blood Bank, Government Medical Laboratories, T.B. Sanitarium Centre and Department of health and hence obliterate all Arab medical services;
4. Arbitrary imprisonment of some Arab physicians and expulsion of others which adversely affect medical treatment in the occupied territories;
5. Imprisonment of Dr. Nabih Muamer, the Director and only surgeon of the Makassid Philanthropic Hospital on the Mount of Olives. Dr. Muamer's services are indispensable under the circumstances.
We, as a group, feel very saddened that the occupying authorities go on with their arbitrary measures of detainment, imprisonment, intimidation and torture of thousands of citizens of all ages and groups, students (boys and girls), religious men, elderly men and women, unabated.
In our sit-in strike we add our voices to others of our people who preceded us hoping that world public opinion and world institutions and people of free conscience wherever they are will stand by us and add their voices to ours. We are, after all, seeking truth, justice and peace.
We, the undersigned, representatives of different groups and sectors of Arab Jerusalem strongly condemn the arbitrary and inhuman measures being practised by the Israeli occupation authorities in violation of the United Nations principles, international agreements and both the Geneva and Hague Conventions.
Measures by the Israeli occupation authorities towards Jerusalem, such as the unilateral annexation of the Holy City and its suburbs and the illegal legislations which aimed at consolidating this annexation, the obliteration of the Arab character of the city, the replacement by Jewish settlers of expelled Arabs, and the confiscation of Arab land and property, are taken in utter disregard of the relevant General Assembly and Security Council resolutions which called upon Israel to desist forthwith from taking any measure that tends to change the status of Jerusalem. All these measures demonstrate Israel's disregard for world public opinion and the principle of self-determination of the Arabs under occupation as well as her expansionist intentions and ambitions in this area.
We note with increasing concern that the latest Israeli legislation forces all professionals, companies, societies, hospitals and other Arab institutions to register as Israeli bodies. This is only one attempt to liquidate the Arab character of Jerusalem, transform it into a Jewish city as part of Israeli expansionist plans and therefore increase the tension in the area.
We request Your Excellency and appeal to world conscience and freedom-loving people in all corners of the world to stand by us in our just cause and fight to protect our entity against the Israeli policy of liquidation. We further request you to help stop the Israeli plans of aggression and expansion which is a prerequisite for a just peace in the area.
(Signed by a number of Jerusalem
dignitaries, professionals, leaders
of women's organizations, societies
and trade unions.)
His Excellency the Secretary-General
* The original Arabic text is reproduced on the following pages.