Follow UNISPAL Twitter RSS
In follow-up to our recent letters, I must draw your attention to the escalation of hostile, illegal and punitive measures by Israel, the occupying Power, against the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, which constitutes the territory of the State of Palestine. Excessive use of force against Palestinian civilians, construction of colonial settlements, destruction and confiscation of Palestinian property, eviction of Palestinian families and other violations continue to be perpetrated on a daily basis. The fragile situation continues to deteriorate, raising serious concerns about further destabilization and about the prospects for peace.
Yesterday, 12 December, the Israeli occupying forces murdered yet another innocent Palestinian youth. Muhammad Ziad Awad Salaymeh, age 17, was killed by six bullets shot directly at him by an Israeli soldier at a checkpoint near the Al-Ibrahimi Mosque in Al-Khalil (Hebron). This cold-blooded killing has evoked high emotions in Al-Khalil, where more than 180,000 Palestinians live under the constant harassment, intimidation and terror of several hundred extremist Israeli settlers transferred to illegal settlements under the protection of the occupying forces. The thousands of Palestinians who joined protests today against Salaymeh’s killing were met with the typical Israeli military response of violence, including use of tear gas, rubber bullets and live ammunition, that caused injury to several people, including five now hospitalized.
Israel also persists with its raids in other Palestinian cities and villages, continuing the forced invasion and search of Palestinian homes and other civilian premises, the detention and arrest of Palestinian civilians and the seizure of Palestinian property. This has recently included an incursion on 11 December in the city of Ramallah, where occupying forces raided the offices of three civil society organizations — Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights, the Union of Palestinian Women and the Palestinian NGO Network — and confiscated files, computers and other equipment and caused extensive damage. Such acts of intimidation and theft are further proof of Israel’s sole reliance on force, aggression and other illicit means in its continued subjugation of the Palestinian people and all voices that dare to speak out for justice and peace.
In this regard, Israel continues its flagrant threats and punitive actions following the General Assembly’s decision on 29 November 2012 to grant to Palestine non-member observer State status. Rather than behaving rationally and abiding by international law and resolutions, Israel is reacting to this legitimate, peaceful, political, multilateral decision with unbridled hostility, aggression and intransigence. This has included colonial, political and financial retaliation against the Palestinian people and their leadership.
With blatant disrespect for the law and disregard for the international condemnation and demands for the cessation of all settlement activities, Israel persists with its colonization campaign and its efforts to acquire more Palestinian land by force, deliberately intensifying this unlawful campaign in the wake of the adoption of resolution 67/19. The situation in Occupied East Jerusalem remains particularly critical, where Israel continues to push ahead with its schemes to construct more settlements, including in the sensitive “E1” area, further diminishing the viability of the two-State solution based on the pre-1967 borders. The provocative declarations about this illegitimate plan have been followed by announcements about the expansion of the illegal settlement of “Maale Adumim” as well as attempts to evict yet another Palestinian family from the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of Occupied East Jerusalem.
Moreover, it is clear that Israeli settlers have been emboldened by the threats and illegal actions by the Israeli Government in the recent period. Settler violence against Palestinians continues apace, with an attack this week by settlers on a Palestinian woman driving in an area north of Al-Khalil and the condemnable desecration of yet another church yesterday, 12 December, when a Greek Orthodox monastery in the City of Jerusalem was defiled with graffiti stating: “Death to Christianity”, “Jesus is the son of a (expletive)”, and “price tag”.
Further, I draw your attention to Israel’s decision to withhold Palestinian tax revenues due to the Palestinian Authority in violation of agreements reached between the two sides and international law. Israel has declared this decision to also be a reprisal for the General Assembly’s adoption of resolution 67/19. Such a deplorable act thus constitutes a blatant act of piracy and collective punishment, which impairs the Palestinian delivery of public services, payment of public sector salaries and operation of governmental institutions and further aggravates the financial crisis.
We reiterate our appeal to the international community, including the Security Council, to act urgently to send a clear message to Israel, the occupying Power, that all of these illegal actions will not be tolerated. The message must be sent to Israel that it is expected to abide by the rule of law, to cease all illegal measures intended to alter and prejudge the situation on the ground, to cease all provocations and incitement, including by its settlers, against the Palestinian people and their leadership, and to return in good faith to the peace table. Conveying such messages at this critical juncture and acting consistently and accordingly with the principles of international law and the relevant United Nations resolutions are vital for saving the two-State solution, which is being eroded by Israel, the occupying Power, as it continues to regrettably reject the path of peace.
The present letter is in follow-up to our previous 446 letters 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 5 December 2012 (A/ES-10/574-S/2012/904), 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, acts of 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.