20 August 1997 (A/ES-10/14)

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: (10th Emergency Special Session - Settlements/ESS Follow-up)

In follow-up of resolutions ES-10/2 and ES-10/3, adopted overwhelmingly by Member States during the tenth emergency special session on 25 April 1997 and the resumed tenth emergency special session on 15 July 1997, as well as the report of the Secretary-General presented in accordance with resolution ES-10/2, I have been instructed to bring the following to your attention.

The situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem, continues to seriously deteriorate as a result of the Israeli government's collective punitive measures and actions against the Palestinian people and the Palestinian National Authority, including the closure of the Occupied Palestinian Territory and the continued siege on Bethlehem and Jerusalem for the past three weeks. Further, Israel, the occupying Power, continues to build the new settlement at Jabal Abu Ghneim, confiscate land, expand existing settlements and demolish Palestinian homes. Israel has also continued to impose additional measures aimed at changing the character, demographic composition and legal status of Jerusalem. All of the above-mentioned measures and actions constitute a flagrant violation of the resolutions adopted by the tenth emergency special session of the General Assembly as well as of other relevant Security Council and General Assembly resolutions.

Furthermore, private contributions by institutions and individuals in some countries continue in support of illegal Israeli settlement activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem. The most flagrant examples, in addition to that of the Days Inn Hotel chain mentioned in the report of the Secretary-General, are the actions of two individuals, Yosef Gutnik and Irving Moskowitz, citizens of Australia and the United States, respectively. Although those two Member States did not vote in favor of the above-mentioned resolutions, they are nevertheless High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention and hence are responsible for ensuring respect for the Convention in accordance with Common article 1.

In accordance with the resolutions of the tenth emergency special session, Member States have a responsibility towards the prevention of support for any settlement activities, including support generated by the private sector. Operative paragraph 6 of resolution ES-10/3 recommends to Member States that they actively discourage activities which directly contribute to any construction or development of Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem, as these activities contravene international law. Accordingly, Member States are expected to take measures with regard to contributions by the private sector, including individuals and companies, as part of their national responsibility to ensure respect for international treaties and to uphold the principles of international law.