Press Release (29 July 1994)

A letter on the issue of Jerusalem was sent today by the Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations, Dr. Nasser Al-Kidwa, to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, H.E. Dr. Boutros Boutros-Ghali, and to the President of the Security Council for the month of July, H.E. Mr. Jamsheed K.A. Marker. The Permanent Observer requested the distribution of the letter as an official document of the United Nations. The text of that letter reads as follows:

I am instructed by the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, which retains the powers and responsibilities of the provisional Government of Palestine, to bring the following to your attention.

In light of section B, paragraph 3 of The Washington Declaration of 25 July 1994, which reads, "Israel respects the present special role of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in Muslim holy shrines in Jerusalem. When negotiations on the permanent status will take place, Israel will give high priority to the Jordanian historic role in these shrines. In addition, the two sides have agreed to act together to promote interfaith relations among the three monotheistic religions."; and also in light of recent attempts in the Israeli parliament to adopt a new law, which would greatly harm the Palestinian presence and activities in East Jerusalem, it is imperative for us to formally confirm the Palestinian position with regard to Al Quds Al Sharif.

1. Jerusalem remains an integral part of the Occupied Palestinian Territory since 1967. Such a position has been repeatedly confirmed by the United Nations General Assembly and by the United Nations Security Council in its resolutions, such as resolutions 681 (1990), 726 (1992), 799 (1992) and 904 (1994).

2. The international community has never accepted or approved any foreign sovereignty or jurisdiction over East Jerusalem. The Security Council, in its resolutions 252 (1968), 267 (1969), 271 (1969), 298 (1971), 476 (1980) and 478 (1980), considered, inter alia, Israeli measures and actions which aimed to alter the status of the city as invalid, null and void, and called upon Israel to rescind all such measures and to refrain from taking any further steps in the future.

3. Jerusalem remains a central issue for the Palestinian people and for the Arab world and Islamic ummah. Its holy places are of great value for Muslims, Christians and Jews all over the world.

4. In the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements, signed, at Washington, D.C. on 13 September 1993, by the Government of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, and witnessed by the United States of America and the Russian Federation, the cosponsors of the peace process; the two parties, in Article V, agreed that permanent status negotiations will commence as soon as possible, but not later than the beginning of the third year of the interim period, between the Government of Israel and the Palestinian people's representatives, and that these negotiations shall cover remaining issues, including: Jerusalem,.... Accordingly, no party has the right to take any action which would hamper these negotiations or prejudge its outcome.

5. The Israeli government made a clear commitment that Palestinian institutions of East Jerusalem are of great importance and will be preserved. Any legislation or action aimed at undermining those institutions or impeding their activities constitutes a clear violation of that commitment and of the letter and spirit of the Declaration of Principles and would seriously harm the smooth proceeding of the peace process.

The Palestine Liberation Organization, affirming its commitment to the peace process, welcomes the progress made on the Jordanian - Israeli track, including the signing of The Washington Declaration, and expresses its hope that similar progress will soon take place with regard to the Syrian - Israeli track and the Lebanese - Israeli track towards the achievement of a comprehensive peace in the Middle East. At the same time, it affirms the importance of the issue of Jerusalem, calls for the respect of international legitimacy in this regard, and also calls upon Israel to abide by its contractual obligations emanating from the Declaration of Principles with regard to this issue.