26 September 1997 (A/52/396, S/1997/749)

Letter from Dr. Nasser Al-Kidwa, Permanent Observer of Palestine to the U.N., to the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the President of the Security Council: (Settlements) 

Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel, declared on 24 September 1997, that his government will build 300 new housing units in a settlement called "Efrat" in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. While declaring this decision, the Prime Minister also said, "The land of Israel is constantly being built up before my eyes, and also before your eyes and you can see it". He also said, "We are building in Judea and Samaria and we are building in Efrat".

It is a well-known fact and established principle that all Israeli settlement activities are illegal under international law. They violate the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 and many relevant Security Council and other United Nations resolutions. This recent Israeli decision, in addition to being illegal, comes at a time when the Middle East Peace Process is facing an increasingly endangered future and when many parties, including the United States, are trying to revive the process. It is very hard to believe that this decision was not made in order to preempt these efforts.

Further, in addition to the illegality of the Israeli decision, the use by the Prime Minister of the above-quoted outrageous and dangerous expressions is tantamount to negating any commitment to the Middle East Peace Process as well as the mutual recognition between the two parties. Speaking of the "land of Israel" invites speaking of the "whole land of Palestine", and speaking of "Judea and Samaria" invites speaking of the "Zionist Entity". Those are definitely irreconcilable with the peace process, the agreements reached between the two parties and the agreed-upon aim of the peace process, which is the implementation of Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973).

As such, the situation is transgressing onto a dangerous plateau, which further necessitates that the international community take the requisite measures to ensure the immediate cessation of all illegal Israeli actions, as well as Israel’s compliance with its contractual obligations.