21 October 1999 (A/54/485, S/1999/1081)

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: (Israeli Hilltop Settlements)

Israel, the occupying Power, continues to pursue its illegal settlement activities, including the establishment of new settlements, the enlargement of existing ones, and the additional confiscation of Palestinian land. Such a policy and actions in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem, are illegal, violate relevant United Nations Security Council and General Assembly resolutions, and directly threaten the peace process, its integrity, and its chances for succeeding.

Last week, the Israeli government took a decision related to the so-called hilltop settlements, which were established by Jewish settlers, after the signing of the Wye River Memorandum, with the complicity of the authorities of the occupying Power. That decision, while removing some of those hilltop settlements, effectively means that the government is proceeding with the establishment of 32 new settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem. In addition, the government continues to issue tenders for the construction of additional housing units in the existing settlements, including at Jabal Abu Ghneim and even in the Gaza Strip.

Further, on 26 September 1999, the Israeli occupying army confiscated massive areas of land for the so-called “military training”. These included 10,000 dunums (2,470 acres) around Izna and 13,000 dunums (3,213 acres) around Beit Awla, both in the southern West Bank. Other confiscation took place in connection with the building of more so-called bypass roads for use by the Jewish settlers.

It is very unfortunate that all of the above is happening at a time when some hope has been emerging with regard to implementation of the Sharm el-Sheikh Memorandum. We strongly believe that this peace process cannot proceed to a successful conclusion while the occupying Power continues its campaign of settlements as it strives for the colonization of Palestinian land from which Israel must withdraw in implementation of Security Council resolution 242 (1967), which is the aim of the Middle East peace process.