Letter from H.E. Dr. Riad Malki, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Palestine to H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary General
H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon
United Nations Secretary General
I write you to today to convey the alarm of the Palestinian people and their leadership regarding the continuous hostile, aggressive and illegal colonial campaign being carried out by Israel, the occupying Power, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem. The destructive impact of Israel´s illegal colonial activities on the situation on the ground, on the prospects for peace negotiations between the two sides and on the viability of the Two-State solution on the basis of the pre-1967 borders cannot be overstated. Israel´s illegal colonial regime permeates all details of daily life, assaulting the very basic tenants of dignity and human rights, including the right to housing, education, and sustainability.
Israel, the occupying Power, continues to commit war crimes against the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem. The international community bears witness, yet again, to Israel´s fixation on its illegal settlement regime, which includes the destruction, theft and confiscation of Palestinian land and properties and the resulting forced displacement of Palestinian families, to make way for the construction and expansion of both settlements and the Wall. In grave contravention of international humanitarian law, the Israeli policy of destroying homes and structures indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, including schools, dispossessing Palestinians and forcing Palestinians to move away from occupied Palestinian territory, are being carried out on a daily basis.
The most recent example of this illegal, inhumane policy include the destruction of a newly built classroom in the community of Abu Nuwar in Jerusalem this Tuesday morning as well as the demolishing of two residential buildings housing sexteen residents from three different families in Al-Tur area in East Jerusalem; the destruction of several water wells in Khirbet Jurat at Kheil east of Sa´ir in Hebron; the demolishing of 28 farm structures, including homes, barns and sheep pens belonging to five families in Khirbet Tell Al-Himma in the Jordan Valley and the demolition of a restaurant, established 20 years ago, in the area Beit Safafa, East Jerusalem. Israeli occupation authorities also conducted a field survey in Khan Al-Ahmar school in Makab Al-Samn, Jerusalem, in preparation to implement the Israeli Prime Minister´s decision to destroy the school. Such flagrant threats and provocations by Israel, along with its reckless pursuit of so many illegal policies and practices, especially its rabid settlement campaign throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory , including East Jerusalem, are the cause of the continuous decline of the situation on the ground and are inflaming sensitivities and tensions between the sides.
This criminal policy is clearly and directly related to Israel´s illegal colonial settlement schemes, planed, adopted and executed at the highest levels in the Israeli government. It is part of declared Israel plans to expand illegal settlements by forcibly transferring Palestinian civilian population or creating unbearable conditions, including denying Palestinians access education, to force them to leave their communities. in this context, the demolition of a classroom in the community of Abu Nuwar and plans to destroy Khan Al Ahmar school in Jerusalem is part of previously announced plans to forcibly transfer approximately 13,000 Palestinian civilians from the Bedouin communities, the large majority of whom are Palestine refugees, from their current areas of residence to an area near Jericho, in grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
Overall, a review of the current period paints a bleak picture of the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem. OCHA reported that thus far in 2016, Israel has destroyed 856 civilian properties and that the total number of structures targeted in the first eight months of this year is 50 per cent higher than those targeted during the entire year of 2015. Palestinian civilian properties have also been subject to confiscation and theft as part of the Israeli-imposed colonial regime in the Occupied Territory of the land of the State of Palestine. According to OCHA, between 2009 and 2016, Israel destroyed 4616 civilian properties, 706 of which were funded by donors, leading to the forcible displacement of 7662 Palestinian civilians.
The international community must act urgently to address the crisis in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem. Failure to bring a halt to these illegal and destructive Israeli actions threatens to seriously destabilize the already fragile situation, including with regard to the prospects for the realization of the Two-State solution on the basis of the pre-1967 borders. In this regard, the Palestinian leadership renews its call on the international community to uphold the rule of law and relevant United Nations resolutions. We also call on all states, individually and collectively, to uphold their duties under the Charter of the United Nations and to act with urgency to compel Israel, the occupying Power, to cease all these illegal policies and abide immediately by its obligations under international law, including humanitarian and human rights law. We call on you to take all necessary measures to stop the destruction of civilian properties, including plans to destroy the Khan Al-Ahmar school in Jerusalem. Should Israel continue to fail to comply and continue to blatantly defy the international community, serious collective action should be undertaken to hold Israel accountable for all its violations. Only direct and principled action by the international community can bring an end to Israel´s impunity and salvage the two-State solution.
I should be grateful if you would arrange to have this letter distributed to all member states of the United Nations.
Dr. Riad Malki
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Palestine
Ramallah, 28th september 2016