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Dr. Ashrawi on the alarming escalation of Israeli violations in Occupied Jerusalem

Friday, 21 July 2017 11:38

RAMALLAH, PALESTINE (July 18, 2017) -- In response to media inquiries regarding the alarming escalation of Israeli violations in Occupied Jerusalem, PLO Executive Committee Member Dr. Hanan Ashrawi made the following comments: 

“Israel continues to deliberately intensify its violations of international law and conventions in and around Occupied Jerusalem as a result of the lack of effective international intervention and accountability. 

The latest example of Israel’s unbridled violations is the placement of metal detectors and security cameras at the entrances of the Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound (Al-Haram Al-Sharif); this constitutes a flagrant violation of the rights and freedoms of Palestinian Muslim worshippers.  Such intrusive and dehumanizing practices aim to provide Israel with carte blanche to exercise security control over the holy sites of Jerusalem.  Historically, the Islamic Waqf has maintained the right to security control and measures in the Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound, although Israel has been gradually encroaching on the Noble Sanctuary and deliberately changing the 19th century status quo. Undoubtedly, Israel is deliberately creating and escalating a situation of instability, insecurity and violence; with its recent escalations, the Israeli occupation is not only provoking the Palestinians, but the entire Muslim world and the international legal system. 

Only yesterday, the Israeli Ministerial Committee for Legislation advanced a proposed bill that would amend Israel’s Basic Law, requiring an eighty-member majority vote in the Knesset to return any part of Jerusalem to the Palestinians.  If passed, this law would destroy the two-state solution by creating an illegal Israeli and Jewish exclusivity over all of Jerusalem— a city whose status remains that of “ corpus separatum” under United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181 (II).  According to international law, Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem is illegal and constitutes a direct violation of Israel’s obligations as a belligerent occupier, and it should be emphasized that the international community does not recognize Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem.  Such proposed legislation builds upon a long series of racist laws, proposals and practices that reflect Israel’s intent to wipe out the Palestinian presence in Jerusalem, destroy the territorial contiguity and demographic presence of the West Bank (including East Jerusalem), and to impose a de facto one-state solution." 

Earlier this month, Israel announced that it would build 2,000 illegal settlement units in Occupied East Jerusalem and execute four plans for Jewish-only housing in the Palestinian neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah; such a decision is a flagrant attempt to pursue its ethnic cleansing plan in Jerusalem.  The Palestinian Jerusalemites have lived in their city for centuries, and Israel should not be given a free hand to uproot them from their homes to enhance the illegal and extremist settler population.  It is evident that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his right-wing government are keen on proving to the world that they are deliberately violating international law and the will of the international community by persisting in settlement activities with full impunity and total disdain. 

Clearly, Israel is illegally prejudging and sealing the fate of Jerusalem, thereby destroying the most basic requirements for peace. This grave situation is the very reason why Palestinians of Jerusalem need both international observers and international protection.  If Israel is not made to cease and desist from its inhuman and unlawful activities, its actions will provoke confrontations with serious ramifications throughout the region and beyond.”