5 August 1999 (Document #)

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

The Israeli occupying army announced its intentions, which it said reflected the opinion of Prime Minister Ehud Barak, to allow twenty-seven (27) of the thirty-one (31) settler encampments that were set near existing settlements on “grabbed” hilltops since the signing of the Wye River Memorandum to remain intact. While all settlements are illegal under international law, those new encampments are particularly shocking in the context of the ongoing peace process and the agreements reached between the two sides.

This most unfortunate development comes as the first Israeli concrete reaction to the Conference of the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention on Measures to Enforce the Convention in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem, which was held, as recommended by the Tenth Emergency Special Session, at Geneva on 15 July 1999. The Conference, the first of its kind in the history of the Convention, “reaffirmed the applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem,” and “reiterated the need for full respect for the provisions of the said Convention in that Territory.”

For the occupying Power, which is a High Contracting Party itself, to continue with such serious violations of the Convention is a matter of grave concern and calls for further action by the High Contracting Parties to the Convention. In the statement issued by the Conference, the participating High Contracting Parties adjourned the Conference “on the understanding that it will convene again in the light of consultations on the development of the humanitarian situation in the field.” This recent Israeli violation, if not reversed, indeed requires serious consideration and follow-up by the High Contracting Parties.