2 November 1998 (A/53/568, S/1998/1025)

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: (Bus Bombing and Settlers)

In reference to the letter, dated 30 October 1998, from the Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations (A/53/560, S/1998/1019), the Palestinian side would like to bring the following to your attention:

Palestinian officials had, at an early stage, unequivocally condemned the criminal attempt to bomb an Israeli bus in Gaza on 29 October 1998. The Palestinian side also reaffirmed its commitment to implementing all the provisions of the Wye River Memorandum. We are, however, disappointed by the inaccurate way some of those commitments were presented in the above-mentioned letter. We reaffirm our rejection of violence by any party. At this time, we also reiterate the established positions of the international community that settlements are illegal and that the presence of Israeli settlers in the occupied territory since 1967 is clearly illegal under international law, the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 and numerous relevant Security Council and General Assembly resolutions.

It is very disturbing that the Israeli side has already begun on this front to violate not only international law but the bilateral agreements as well. On Sunday, 1 November 1998, in Ras al-Amud, Occupied East Jerusalem, Jewish settlers, with the Government’s permission, resumed work at a planned Jewish settlement in the heart of the Arab sector of the city. Also yesterday, Israel announced the building of 200 housing units on the edge of a Jewish settlement called "Kiryat Arba" in Al-Khalil (Hebron). There has also been news about a 50% increase in the 1999 proposed Israeli budget in allocations for illegal settlement activities. All of the above indeed represent a very inauspicious and dangerous beginning by the Israeli Government following the signing of the Wye River Memorandum.

It is our hope that all violations will be brought to an end and that both sides will proceed with the implementation of the Wye Memorandum towards the implementation of the existing agreements as a whole.