Middle East Monitor / February 24, 2022
The State of Palestine appealed to the UN Secretary-General, President of the Security Council and the President of the General Assembly to protect the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood in occupied Jerusalem.
On Tuesday, the Permanent Observer for the State of Palestine at the UN, Riyad Mansour, sent three identical letters to the three UN officials, with the title, “Palestine appeals to protect Sheikh Jarrah and the holy sites”, according to the Palestinian news agency, WAFA.
In his letters, Mansour informed the UN officials of the continuous violations carried out by Israel against the defenceless Palestinian people, especially in occupied Jerusalem, and its continuous targeting of Christian religious sites, with Israel being fully confident that it will not be held accountable.
He stressed the need to mobilize the available diplomatic, political and legal mechanisms to avoid further deterioration of the situation.
The residents of the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood live in a disturbing atmosphere, as they are threatened with forced eviction and demolition of homes, in addition to the settlers’ continuous provocations. The latest of these provocations was the extremist Knesset member, Itamar Ben-Gvir, erecting a tent in the neighbourhood to be used as his “office”.
Mansour drew attention to the international community’s failure in its obligations to impose sanctions for such violations, put an end to them and ensure justice for the victims.
Ambassador Mansour said, “We find ourselves obliged to detail the crimes deliberately committed by Israel, the occupying power. Month after month, the Security Council meets to discuss the Palestinian issue, which is the longest-standing item on its agenda, yet it is failing to take action in line with its duties stipulated in the UN Charter and, in particular, the implementation of its own decisions.”
Mansour revealed that January witnessed an intensification of crimes and violations that followed the miserable record of violations in 2021. “This unfortunate cycle undoubtedly contributed to the prolongation of this injustice while, at the same time, undermining international law and the credibility of the Security Council at everyone’ expense,” he said.
He also explained to the UN officials that the developments this month also coincide with the Israeli campaigns that were implemented in February last year, especially with regard to the forced displacement campaigns and the continued confiscation of Palestinian lands in and around Jerusalem, which is a major aim of Israel’s illegal policies.
Mansour continued by saying that, exactly one year ago, the international community was warned about Israel’s seizure of Palestinian lands in occupied Jerusalem. He added that the international community faces the same warning today, as Israel seeks to expand the so-called “national park” on church-owned lands and Christian holy sites in Al-Tur-Mount of Olives, in a flagrant violation of the current historical and legal status of the holy sites in the city.
He stressed that this area is a major pilgrimage site for Christians. Moreover, international law clearly prohibits the confiscation of land in the occupied territories and any attempts to change its demographics, character and status. He called for the rejection and condemnation of these illegal acts.
Referring to the events of Sheikh Jarrah, Mansour confirmed that, exactly one year ago, the international community was notified about the Israeli campaigns of mass confiscation and displacement in Jerusalem, especially in the neighbourhoods of Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan.
He said in the letter, “Today the situation in Sheikh Jarrah remains one in which families sleep in fear, not knowing whether there will still be a roof over their heads, or whether heavily armed soldiers will break into homes in the middle of the night, or whether settlers will set fire to in their homes and property.”
He echoed Amnesty International’s decision that the ongoing campaign of forced deportation in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood “is a war crime and one of the pillars of the Israeli apartheid regime.”
He ended his letter by saying, “We reiterate our calls for the implementation of more than 800 resolutions by the General Assembly and 80 resolutions by the Security Council that called for an end to this injustice.”