LETTER DATED 2 MARCH 1979 FROM THE ACTING CHAIRMAN OF THE COMMITTEE

ON THE EXERCISE OF THE INALIENABLE RIGHTS OF THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE

ADDRESSED TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE SECURITY COUNCIL

I have the honour to convey to you the concern of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People over the systematic and increasingly repressive measures taken by the Israeli authorities against the Palestinian People in the territories illegally occupied by Israel in 1967, as well as over Israel's implementation of a policy clearly aimed at establishing permanent domination over those territories.

 

In my letter dated 22 August 1978 I drew your attention to similar cases of ill treatment and torture of Palestinian prisoners by the Israeli authorities. The Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Population of the Occupied Territories has continued to hear testimony given by Palestinians, corroborated by their Israeli lawyers, asserting that Palestinians are being systematically subjected by the Israeli authorities to torture and ill treatment. That Committee has also referred in its reports to a large number of specific cases of violations of human rights in the Occupied Territories. The General Assembly, having considered these reports, has repeatedly condemned these Israeli policies and practices.

 

Recent press reports based on official documents of the United States Department of State confirm that such cases of torture and inhuman treatment do indeed occur in the Occupied Territories. These reports clearly refute the claims of the Government of Israel that such practices are only isolated incidents. It would seem that since October 1978 there has been an escalation of systematic repression directed particularly against those Palestinians who expressed support for the Palestine Liberation Organization, which has been recognized by the United Nations as the representative of the Palestinian people. Examples of the wide-ranging campaign of repression launched by the Israeli authorities against the Palestinian people are contained in numerous press reports and other documents, some of which are listed in annex I of this letter. These documents themselves are being made available separately to members of the Security Council (A/AC.183/CRP.2).

Along with this campaign of repression, the Government of Israel not only continues to establish new Israeli settlements in the territories illegally occupied by Israel but also has resorted to the confiscation of vast tracts of Arab lands and taken steps to control all water resources in those territories.

The three maps, including two obtained from Palestinian sources, and other documents annexed to this letter, bear ample testimony to Israel's plans to establish permanent domination over these territories and thereby to deny the Palestinian people their inalienable rights. These actions, as has been repeatedly pointed out, are a violation of the Geneva Convention of 12 August 1949 Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, a rejection of Security Council and General Assembly resolutions and a serious threat to international peace and security.

 

The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, deeply concerned at these developments and the consequences that they could generate, has authorized me to request you to be good enough to take up these matters at the forthcoming meeting of the Security Council requested by Jordan to consider the erosion of the status of Jerusalem and the persistent policies and practices of Israel in the occupied Palestinian and other Arab territories.

 

I should be grateful if you would have this letter and its annexes issued as a document of the Security Council.

(Signed) Raul ROA KOURI

Acting Chairman

Committee on the Exercise

of the Inalienable Rights

of the Palestinian People

Annex I

LIST OF DOCUMENTS REFERRED TO IN THE LETTER DATED 2 MARCH 1979

 FROM THE ACTING CHAIRMAN OF THE COMMITTEE ON THE EXERCISE OF

 THE INALIENABLE RIGHTS OF THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE TO THE

 PRESIDENT OF THE SECURITY COUNCIL

S. No.

Date

Source

Item

A.

Israeli Plans on West Bank

1.

24 Nov.78

Ha'aretz

The conclusions of the Interim Report on the Autonomy Plan

2.

12 Feb. 79

JTA News Bulletin

Leaked Autonomy Blueprint Causes Anger in Government Circles

3.

14 Feb. 79

N.Y. Post

General Sharon Has His Own Ideas on Camp David II

B.

Israeli Settlements on West Bank

4.

28 Sept. 78

Washington Post

Carter Disputes Begin's Version on Settlements

5.

Sept. 78

Middle East International

Israeli Settlements and Palestinian Rights

6.

Oct. 78

"

"

7.

26 Oct. 78

Washington Post

West Bank, Golan Settlements To Be Enlarged Begin says

8.

10 Jan. 79

Jerusalem Post

Nablus Settlement Site May be Decided Soon

9.

15 Jan. 79

"

Nablus Outposts for Jordan Valley, Gaza Strip

10.

16 Jan. 79

New York Times

Israel to Establish More Settlements

11.

18 Jan. 79

Jerusalem Post

Finance Committee sets IL 741m. for Settlements in Areas

12.

26 Jan. 79

State of Israel Govt. Press Off.

Selections from the Hebrew Press

13.

29 Jan. 79

Jerusalem Post

Begin: Jews also have rights in Judea-Samaria

14.

8 Feb. 79

New York Times

Colony for U.S. Jews is Approved by Israel

15.

27 Feb. 79

JTA News Bulletin

WZO Budgets IL 850 M for Settlements

C.

Seizures by Israel of Land on West Bank

16.

25 Oct. 78

Jerusalem Post

W. Bank villagers write to Carter, Sadat about land 'seized' by Israel

17.

13 Dec. 78

"

Military takes land near Beit Sahur

18.

15 Dec. 78

"

200 West Bank dunams seized

19.

18 Dec. 78

"

Anata landowners lose case against seizure

20.

20 Dec. 78

"

200 dunams given back to Beit Sahur

21.

27 Dec. 78

"

Zipori: Settlement sites being readied

22.

17 Jan. 79

"

West Bank residents claim Neve Tzuf settlers cross court order boundaries

23.

19 Jan. 79

"

NRP launches alternative to West Bank autonomy plan

24.

22 Jan. 79

"

Court rules Anata land seizure legal

D.

Violations by Israel of Human Rights of Palestinians

25.

7 Feb. 79

Washington Post

U.S. Reports Indicate Israeli Abuse of Palestinians

26.

"

"

Palestinians Allege torture by Israelis

27.

9 Feb. 79

New York Times

Ex. U.S. Aide Repeats Charges on Israel

28.

10 Feb. 79

"

Palestinians in U.S. Accuse the Israelis

29.

12 Feb. 79

Washington Post

Israel rights Account: Accurate but not free of Defect

30.

21 Feb. 79

U.N. Press Release

Human Rights Commission Condemns Israeli Practices in Occupied Territories, Urges States and Organizations to support PLO

E.

Detention of Palestinians by Israel

31.

27 Nov. 78

New York Times

Arrest of 15 on West Bank Raises Crackdown Issue

32.

29 Nov. 78

F. Langer

A Report

33.

"

"

The case of Nader Fayiz el Afouri, 27 from Nablus

34.

22 Dec. 78

"

Ayisha Odeh, the Neve Tirza prison

35.

Dec. 78

F. Langer/Abd

El-Asali

Bulletin of the violation of Human Rights in Israel

36.

1 Dec. 78

Palestine Human Rights Campaign

Bir Zeit University Protests New Israeli Repression

37.

16 Jan. 79

Jerusalem Post

Bir Zeit teachers and pupils barred from press conference

38.

27 Jan. 79

New York Times

Six Arab Students in Israel Confined

F.

Deportation of Palestinians by Israel

39.

Jan. 1979

Palestine Human Rights Bulletin

Israeli Deportation of Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza Strip, 1967-1978

40.

19 Jan. 79

Jerusalem Post

Deportation order for inciter of Arab Students

41.

"

"

Arab student appeals expulsion order

42.

24 Jan. 79

New York Times

Warnings to Israeli Arabs

G.

Destruction of Palestinian Homes by Israel

43.

17 Nov. 78

Jerusalem Post

Deir Hanna villagers hold strike to protest demolition of illegal house

44.

5 Dec. 78

"

IDF bulldozes two West Bank houses owned by terrorists

45.

5 Dec. 78

F. Langer

The destruction of the house of Abd el Rahman Abd el Fath Ahmad Hammad

46.

12 Dec. 78

"

The destruction of a house, on the 4th December 1978, in Kafr Quallil

47.

5 Dec. 78

New York Times

Israel Tears Down West Bank Houses

48.

7 Dec. 78

"

Arabs in West Bank Assail Demolitions

49.

31 Jan. 79

"

Israel, Reviving Anti-Terror Policy Razes 4 Homes

Annex II

ISRAELI DESIGNS TO CONTROL THE WEST BANK

(Explanatory note for maps 1 and 2 obtained from Palestinian sources)

Since 1967 the Israelis have systematically established colonies, using the euphemism "settlement", in the territories captured in the June War. This statement will analyse the strategic objectives and policy implications of the positioning of these colonies on the West Bank, first by the Israeli Labour Government from 1967 to 1977 and subsequently by the Likud Government from 1977 to the present.

 

I. Labour Government designs, 1967-1977:

The Israeli Labour Government concentrated on establishing civilian agricultural colonies in the Jordan Rift and high-rise residential colonies around the 105,000 Palestinians in Arab Jerusalem. In the Jordan Rift, the Israelis set up a series of colonies along the north-south length Of the eastern border of the West Bank, taking the form of two belts:

 

(a) The first belt presently consists of 15 agricultural colonies located in the Jordan Valley plains and extending from the southern part of the Dead Sea to the West Bank's northern border with Israel.

(b) The second belt presently comprises nine industrial and agricultural colonies located on the highlands of the Jordan Rift, starting on the South at the Jerusalem-Jericho road and connecting with the first belt of settlements at the West Bank's northern border with Israel. A new, so-called "Allon Plan Road" was constructed to connect the colonies on the highlands with the ones in the Jordan Valley.

 

Thus, during the Labour Government period, the Jewish Agency and the Zionist Organization formulated several plans, one of which was a Twenty Year Plan (1975-1995) to control the Jordan Rift, whose stated objectives were:

 

(a) to inhabit the area with at least 8,000 Israelis by 1995 and

 

(b) to exploit the natural resources of the area – mainly land, water and climatic conditions – for the benefit of the Israeli colonies.

 

These plans are in an advanced stage of implementation as the Israelis are already in control of an estimated 70 per cent of the cultivatable land in the Jordan Valley and have developed an extensive infrastructure involving drilling deep-bore tube wells, extending the network of irrigation water pipelines, electric lines and underground telephone cables to serve and connect the colonies in these two belts. This is in addition to the permanent houses, vegetable packing plants, hot houses and drip irrigation systems installed for each of these colonies.

The strategic objectives of these two belts are clear:

(a) Cut off the West Bank's populated areas from any physical contact with East Jordan, and

(b) Contain the Palestinian population by surrounding them from the north, west, south and now, from the east, by the two belts of colonies.

Regarding the high-rise residential fortresses that form a ring around the Palestinian population of Jerusalem, the strategic objectives are:

(a) to prevent the physical expansion of the Palestinian population of Jerusalem, and

(b) to create a psychological feeling of living in a ghetto, in order to cause the Palestinians to emigrate and consequently facilitate Israeli control of the city.

The Political implication of the Labour Government colonies:

In any peace negotiations, the Labour government was willing to discuss turning over the administration of the populated areas of the northern West Bank to Jordan, with a corridor through Jericho, but would not consider turning over to Jordan the Jordan Rift, Palestinian Jerusalem, the cluster of colonies in the Beit Umar area on the road to Hebron, or some areas in the western plains of the West Bank near Tulkarm and Qalqilya. These latter areas were to be permanently incorporated into Israel.

II. Likud designs for control, since their rise to power in May 1977:

The Likud Government considered the colonization policies of the Labour Government not enough to meet the Herut party's ideological and strategic objectives on the West Bank. Prime Minister Begin candidly proclaimed that the West Bank was liberated territory and part of "Greater Israel". To attain this objective, the Government embarked on establishing a series of colonies in the form of a third belt extending along the length of the western highlands of the northern part of the West Bank.

The strategic objectives of the third belt of colonies:

(a) Move the Israeli border to the doorstep of the Palestinian populated areas, in order to prevent their physical development to the West.

 

(b) Divide the populated areas of the northern region of the West Bank into two, smaller areas: the containment of the Palestinians would be facilitated by enclosing them from all sides by belts of colonies.

To complete this plan of control, three lateral roads were designed to connect Israel-proper with the three belts of colonies.  One in the southern region of the West Bank, which is already open and asphalted halfway to the Dead Sea.  The second lateral road, the so-called "trans-Samarian highway", bisecting the northern part of the West Bank, is presently under construction.  The third lateral road, further north, is still in the planning stage.

The Likud government appropriated on 18 January 1979, some $40 million mainly for expanding the colonies and also for improving the infrastructure by constructing power, water, sewage and telephone lines in the third belt of colonies.

Political implications of the Likud colonization policies:

The government seeks to cut the West Bank into bits and pieces so that there can be no possibility of any territorial compromise over the West Bank and, at the same time, to complete Israeli containment of the 800,000 Palestinians living in Jerusalem and the West Bank.

Conclusion:  In view of the above, as well as of the recent land seizures of private Palestinian property since October 1978, it is an understatement to conclude that the present Israeli intentions and actions on the West Bank are not only incompatible with the concept of a comprehensive peace but also incompatible with Israeli intentions in their present peace negotiations with Egypt.

February 1979