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As Palestinians commiserate their national catastrophe of 1948 and approach the forty-second anniversary of the belligerent Israeli military occupation that continues to shackle them, Israel, the occupying Power, steps up its illegal actions of its land grab and colonization, especially in Occupied East Jerusalem. These actions have been condemned repeatedly by the international community as flagrant violations of international law, including humanitarian and human rights law. Yet, enjoying overt immunity from international accountability so far, Israel continues to take actions amounting to nothing less than a clear challenge to the norms of international relations and the will of the international community, as well as international peace and security.
In this connection, on 18 May 2009, Israel announced 20 tenders for construction in a new illegal Israeli settlement called “Maskiot” in the northern Jordan Valley in the occupied West Bank. This new illegal settlement, which would replace or be an extension of a military base, provides further evidence that settlement construction and expansion is indeed an official Israeli policy aimed at creating facts on the ground that strip Palestinians of their land and water resources. This is also evidenced by the scorching of Palestinian crops under the sun in the Jordan Valley with no access to water while illegal Israeli settlements enjoy lush green fields nearby, watered by stolen Palestinian water.
Moreover, recent Israeli media reports have revealed the extent to which the new Israeli right-wing government is determined to change the demographic and cultural identity of Occupied East Jerusalem. In the illegal Israeli settlement of “Maale Adumim”, Israel has publicly announced its plans to extend this settlement in a manner which would essentially form a belt around Occupied East Jerusalem, severing it on the north, east and south from its natural Palestinian environs. This plan, which we have mentioned in our previous letters, is referred to as “E-1”, and, together with the expansion of the existing illegal Israeli settlement “Kidar”, will, de facto, annex almost 2 per cent of West Bank land.
To facilitate the implementation of this expansionist policy, Israeli occupation authorities continue to serve hundreds of Palestinian families residing in Occupied East Jerusalem with demolition and eviction orders. This policy, tantamount to ethnic cleansing, is aimed at pushing Palestinians out of Occupied East Jerusalem in order to cement an illegal policy of annexation and colonization, a policy advocated by the Prime Minister of Israel, Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu, and his government in violation of international law and relevant Security Council resolutions. In fact, just yesterday, the Israeli Prime Minister declared: “United Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. Jerusalem was always ours and will always be ours. It will never again be partitioned and divided.”
Furthermore, the new Israeli right-wing government has refused to commit to the will of the international community by recognizing its commitments as per the road map endorsed by the Security Council in its resolution 1515 (2003) or to the very principle of a two-State solution. On 20 May 2009, a top aide of Israel’s Prime Minister called the principle “a frivolous, childish idea”. It is important to state that these are not just statements, but rather a hostile ideology that translates into a further grab of Palestinian land.
Israel’s persistent violations of international law and lack of commitment to peace are abundant and shockingly clear. Hence, we reiterate our appeal to the international community, embodied by the United Nations, to take a clear and unequivocal stance towards this dangerous and illegal Israeli course of action. We call on the international community, including the Security Council, to uphold its legal and moral responsibilities and obligations to bring an end to the illegal transfer and depopulation of Palestinians in Occupied East Jerusalem and to all illegal Israeli actions, and to enable the Palestinian people to exercise their inalienable rights to self-determination and to establish their sovereign and viable Palestinian State, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
The present letter is in follow-up to our previous 339 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 30 April 2009 (A/ES-10/454-S/2009/228), constitute a basic record of the crimes being 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 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.