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Palestine FM Dr. Mahmoud Zahhar Letter To UNSG

Palestinian National Authority
Ministry for Foreign Affairs
Minister's Office

4 April 2006
Your Excellency Kofi-Annan
Secretary-General of the United Nations

At the outset of my first letter to Your Excellency, I have the pleasure to avail myself of this opportunity to express our appreciation for your continuous efforts and work in order to consolidate the values of justice, equality and development and the maintenance of international peace and security. I am also pleased to express through you our appreciation for the role o f the United Nations and its organs and specialized agencies in providing the necessary support to the Palestinian people and the Palestinian National Authority (PNA). In this regard, I would like to affirm the importance of the role of the United Nations and its historical and permanent responsibility towards the question of Palestine until the attainment of a just and comprehensive solution of all the issues are realized. I would also like to affirm your important and constructive role within the Quartet in order to put an end to the Israeli occupation, the conflict and the establishment of a just and comprehensive peace. I address myself through this letter to Your Excellency to work with the Quartet to initiate serious and constructive dialogue with the PNA and its new cabinet.

The new Palestinian cabinet assumed its responsibility and began its work on 30 March 2006 and I was assigned the role of the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the PNA. This new cabinet resulted from the exercise by the Palestinian people of their right to choose their government through free and fair democratic elections to which the United Nations and the entire world witnessed. We expect the international community to respect the democratic choice of the Palestinian people and to work with this new cabinet in order to enhance this democratic course and to protect political pluralism through the achievement of peace and stability in the region.

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It is my hope, Your Excellency, to work with the international community and the Quartet in order to continue its support for the Palestinian people and their institutions, and to enable the Palestinian people to attain their legitimate rights, including their right to establish their fully sovereign independent State, with Jerusalem as its capital, and the right of the Palestine refugees, including their right to return and compensation. We also hope that some countries will reconsider their positions and their hasty decisions, particularly with regard to the withholding of assistance and resorting to the language of threats instead of dialogue. I would also like to assure Your Excellency of the readiness of our cabinet for serious and constructive dialogue and our readiness to work with the United Nations and countries of the world to promote international peace and security through the achievement of peace and stability in our region, based on a just and comprehensive solution.

Your Excellency, Israel, the occupying Power, continues with its illegal colonial policies through the seizure and annexation of our land in its attempts to create a fait accompli on the ground. They have done so through its expansion of colonial settlements, including the actual commencement of implementing the so-called E1 plan, which aims at the total confiscation of East Jerusalem and the division of the West Bank into cantons isolated from each other. This is in addition to the recent Israeli measures to isolate the Palestinian Al-Aghwar (Jordan alley) and prevent its inhabitants from reaching their farms and demolishing their homes with the view of forcing them to leave through these measures and the annexation of this area. This will ultimately diminish any hopes for the achievement of settlement and peace based on a two-State solution.

The Israeli occupying forces also continue with its aggression of our people under occupation by using excessive military force as it has done in the last few days by shelling and destroying infrastructure, including the civil and sport buildings, in which the soccer field in Gaza was targeted on two occasions. This aggression is carried out through its use of using military planes and heavy artillery against densely populated civilian areas. They have continued their policy of extra-judicial executions; the imposition of siege and closure on several areas of the Occupied Palestinian Territory; the withholding of financial dues owed to the Palestinian people; and through the transformation of the military checkpoints at the entrances of cities and towns of the West Bank to what is similar to international crossings. Moreover, the closure and siege in the Gaza Strip has led to the creation of a tragic humanitarian situation. This has caused many international and humanitarian agencies to report and warn against the deterioration of the humanitarian situation stemming from the obstruction of entry by the occupying forces of the most basic humanitarian assistance, such as medicines, food products, including flour and baby formula to the Gaza Strip. Israel is undertaking all these illegal measures as the world watches and listens. Israel continues to commit these grave violations of international law and international humanitarian law without any concern acting as if it is a State above the law.

The international community is called upon today to take urgent and tangible measures to put an end to these grave Israeli violations and to put pressure on the government of Israel to comply with international law, particularly international humanitarian law, implement international agreements and the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice. In addition to this, we call on the international community to reject all unilateral measures and solutions and to undertake its obligations and responsibilities, particularly with regard to respect and assurance of respect for the applicability of international humanitarian law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, as has been reaffirmed in several Security Council resolutions.

Your Excellency, we believe in the justice of our cause and the ability of our people to be steadfast in their struggle against military occupation of our land and against Israel's illegal measures. We also believe that justice and law are the basis of the solution and for security and stability in the region. The logic of might and the imposition of facts on the ground are invalid and void and will only lead to more destruction and lack of stability. Like all other people in the world, we look forward to live in peace and security and for our people to live a dignified life in freedom and independence, side by side wi! th our neighbors in this sacred part of the world.

Please accept, Your Excellency, the assurances of my highest consideration.

Dr. Mahmoud Zahhar
Minister of Foreign Affairs

--- Text provided by Jennifer Loewenstein

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