Saturday, July 19, 2008

PLO Cites Israeli violations of peace accords

Letter from the Palestine Liberation Organization
July 15, 2008
Dear Sir/ Madam; Your Excellency etc…

This letter is to draw your attention to recent escalations in the policies and activities of the government of Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territory which violate commitments Israel made at the Annapolis conference, and risk destroying the political process and rendering it meaningless.

First, we note the recurring assaults on Palestinian cities, official institutions, and civil society organisations, which have increased in an unprecedented manner (up by 50%). Indeed, if we look back to the six months following the Annapolis conference, the numbers alone paint an alarming picture of Israeli violence against Palestinian citizens: 467 killed and 1706 injured in over 2000 attacks. Needless to say, many of the victims are civilians, including women and children.

Second, Israel has escalated the pace of construction and expansion of existing and new settlements throughout the West Bank, in particular in and around East Jerusalem, in flagrant violation of international law and its commitments under the Road Map as reaffirmed at the Annapolis conference. Furthermore, Israel continues the construction of the Wall four years after the decision of the International Court of Justice that held the Wall and the settlements to be illegal under international law.

Recently, Israel has encouraged the building of new housing units in the heart of East Jerusalem and specifically in Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood where Palestinian houses were seized. Furthermore, in the heart of Nablus, it shut down and confiscated an entire multi-storey shopping centre, notwithstanding the fact that it is a publicly-held company, and in blatant disregard of signed agreements which prohibit the Occupation from shutting down and confiscating property inside PA areas.

These deliberate Israeli policies are primarily aimed at undermining the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) and its role, standing, and credibility in the eyes of the citizens. Despite this, however, the PNA has all the while worked hard and at all levels to improve security conditions, to build and develop the economy, and to strengthen public institutions and to support civil society. On security, for instance, these efforts are evident from the security plans implemented by the PNA Ministry of Interior despite recurring Israeli obstacles, in particular in Nablus, Jenin, Tulkarem, Hebron, and Bethlehem. With respect to the economy and institution building, a great deal of effort has gone into the adoption of the Palestinian Development and Reform Plan (PRDP), and the convening of the Paris, Bethlehem, and Berlin conferences. These efforts have led to the approval and adoption of numerous projects aimed at developing infrastructure, capacity and funding much needed for the maintenance and development of Palestinian society and economy.

The problem, however, remains that the prevailing stream within the Israeli government seeks to weaken and undermine the PNA, in a manner that strengthens the radical forces and renders them the dominant Palestinian counterpart.

Given the above, there is a real risk that the current negotiations may fail and collapse before the end of this year, a failure for which the government of Israel would bear full responsibility, be it on the internal or regional fronts. In order to prevent such failure, serious and decisive action is needed from the international community, with the United States and the Quartet at the forefront including all its parties, the UN, EU and Russia, and all peace loving countries, parties and forces.

We hope you expend all possible efforts to help stop Israeli violations which have reached unprecedented levels with regard to destroying Palestinian life and the functioning of Palestinian national and leadership institutions as well as destroying the peace process.

Palestine Liberation Organization
Executive Committee
General Secretariat