2nd October, 2000
Attention Mr Kofi Annan
United Nations Secretary General
Subject: UNýSCO statement on the situation in the occupied Palestinian territory
Dear Mr Annan,
We, as human rights defenders and human rights organisation based in the occupied Palestinian territory, wish to express our deep concern over the oral statement released today on 2 October 2000, by the Office of the United Nations Special Coordinator in the Occupied Territories.
A meeting held this morning at UNSCO premises gathered over hundred of persons, including international NGOs, various UN and international agencies, journalists, Palestinian civil society: Palestinian Legislative Council members, various Ministries and local NGOs.
Mr Okello, Deputy to the UN Special Coordinator Mr Larsen, among the main issues addressed, requested the participants to take all the necessary measures to halt the violence widespread throughout the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. He further, stated that nothing could be achieved through violence and war. Although, we fully agree with the latter, as a human rights organisation advocating and promoting respect for basic human rights as well as the building of a just and lasting peace, we are, however, deeply shocked by such a statement.
By this very meeting, we, as human rights defenders were seeking, through UNSCO, international support for intervention and protection on behalf of Palestinian civilians, victims of disproportionate and excessive use of force by the Israeli Occupation Forces. Such a statement by the United Nations mandated to coordinate assistance to the occupied Palestinian territory profoundly disregards the situation on the ground, particularly vis a vis the nature of weapons deployed by the Israeli Occupation Forces: live ammunition, rubber coated steel bullets, teargas, snipers and anti-tank missiles in the face of mostly unarmed civilians.
In view of the above and the general opposition by all to the UNSCO statement, we request your urgent attention and concrete support in this dire situation in the occupied Palestinian territory.
Furthermore, we would like to take this opportunity and address you, as the United Nations Representative, that the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth 1949 Geneva Convention fulfill their legal obligation under Article 1 of the Convention to respect and ensure its de jure application by the Government of Israel which is party. To that effect we urge you to convey to the High Contracting Parties to the 1949 Geneva Convention the necessity to reconvene the conference adjourned in July 1999 so that international humanitarian and human rights law be respected and implemented in the occupied Palestinian territory.
We thank you for your understanding and support in this critical phase of the peace process.
The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights