27 August 1996 (A/51/310, S/1996/699)

Letter from Mr. Marwan Jilani, Charge’ d’affaires a.i., Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine to the U.N., to the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the President of the Security Council: (Burj al-Laqlaq) 

I have been instructed to bring the following to your immediate attention. Early this morning, 27 August 1996, Israeli forces, including police and army personnel, closed the quarters of the Old City of Jerusalem, transported cranes and bulldozers within the walls of the Old City and demolished a building belonging to Burj al-Laqlaq Society near the quarter of Bab Hatta.

Burj al-Laqlaq Society, which provides services to Palestinian children, including the physically handicapped, has been registered since 1994 with the Union of Charitable Societies and has also fulfilled obligatory registration with the Israeli authorities. The building structure, which was 120 square meters, was situated on approximately 9,000 square meters of land, including a playground for children.

This destructive measure taken by the Israeli authorities against the Palestinian people in Jerusalem is a blatant violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, which is applicable to all the territories occupied by Israel since 1967, including Jerusalem. It is also a violation of various relevant Security Council resolutions and resolutions of the General Assembly and other organs of the United Nations, which prohibit any attempts to alter the character, demographic composition and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem. In addition, the measure taken clearly violates the agreements reached between the Government of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization and seriously threatens the peace process as a whole.

Such an illegal and dangerous act stems from the Israeli government's policies which aim at forcibly uprooting the Palestinian people and their institutions from Jerusalem. Clearly, this most recent measure represents a revival of old, malicious plans to confiscate the land and build units for Israeli settlers within the walls of the Old City. It is worth mentioning that this act comes only weeks after the decision of the Israeli government to lift restrictions on settlement activities.

We expect the international community to take a clear and firm position, based on international law and in accordance with previous United Nations resolutions, against all such Israeli violations and illegal practices. In particular, the Security Council is expected to guarantee that the Israeli authorities compensate Burj al-Laqlaq Society and allow for the reconstruction of the building. The international community should also demonstrate a serious willingness to prevent the destruction of the peace process and to safeguard that process towards the achievement of a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East.