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I write to you on behalf of the Coordinating Bureau of the Non-Aligned Movement with regard to the critical situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in particular with regard to ongoing and intensifying illegal Israeli settlement activities.
In grave violation of international law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention, in violation of numerous Security Council and General Assembly resolutions, and in defiance of the advisory opinion rendered on 9 July 2004 by the International Court of Justice and the will of the international community, Israel, the occupying Power, continues to carry out its illegal colonial settlement campaign in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, especially in and around occupied East Jerusalem. Moreover, despite commitments made in the context of the Middle East peace process and agreements reached therein and contrary to the spirit and goals of this renewed peace process, Israel has actually escalated the conduct of such illegal activities in the recent period.
In the past several months, Israel has issued tenders for thousands of new units in Israeli settlements throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory and continues to construct and expand its illegal settlements, to build bypass roads to serve those settlements and to maintain settlement “outposts”. At the same time, the occupying Power continues to illegally construct the wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, which is intricately correlated with its colonial settlement activities, serving, inter alia, to further entrench the settlements and to facilitate their expansion and the attempts to annex de facto more Palestinian land.
In this connection, Israel continues to carry out countless other unlawful policies and measures intended to advance its illegal settlement campaign and to alter the demographic composition, character and status of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including the confiscation of Palestinian land, the destruction of property, including the demolition of Palestinian homes and the razing of agricultural lands, and the imposition of severe and discriminatory residency restrictions and a permit regime.
Such actions not only constitute flagrant violations and grave breaches of international law, but also heighten tensions, further destabilize the fragile situation on the ground and very negatively impact the peace process involving the two sides. Indeed, these illegal Israeli policies and activities are destroying the territorial contiguity, integrity and unity of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, seriously undermining the prospects for the establishment of a physically viable and contiguous Palestinian State and thus threatening the prospects for achievement of a just and lasting peace settlement with the realization of the two-State solution on the basis of the pre-1967 borders.
The members of the Non-Aligned Movement reiterate their condemnation of all of Israel’s ongoing illegal settlement activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and stress the dangers of such continuing illegal and unilateral Israeli measures. In this regard, the members of the Non-Aligned Movement urge the Security Council, considering its authority under the Charter of the United Nations and responsibilities for the maintenance of international peace and security, to seriously address this critical issue.
The Security Council has, in the past, taken clear and strong positions deploring Israeli settlement activities and calling for the cessation of settlement construction and the dismantlement of settlements already built in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. In light of the serious situation on the ground and the critical status of the peace process, it is incumbent on the Council to once again clearly and seriously address this issue by demanding respect for international law, including international humanitarian law, and respect for all relevant Council resolutions, and reiterating its demands that Israel, the occupying Power, immediately and completely cease all settlement construction, expansion and planning in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.
I should be grateful if you could have the present letter circulated as a document of the Security Council.