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Palestinian Rights Committee Gravely Concerned by Violence at Al-Aqsa Mosque, Escalation in Gaza, Calling for Efforts to ‘Salvage Prospects’ for Peace

Following is a statement by the General Assembly Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, issued today:

The Bureau, on behalf of the United Nations Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, expresses its deep alarm at the dramatic deterioration of the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory that includes the escalation of violence and acts of provocation and incitement, particularly by Israeli extremists in occupied East Jerusalem.

The Committee is gravely concerned at the violence today at Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, where over 200 Palestinian worshippers have been injured by the Israeli forces, who fired rubber-coated bullets, stun grenades and tear gas at unarmed civilians.  The Committee condemns such acts against worshippers and all acts of provocation, incitement and inflammatory rhetoric.

The Committee is further alarmed by Israel’s escalation in the Gaza Strip today, where missile strikes are reported to have killed at least nine Palestinians, among them three children.  There is no justification for the taking of innocent lives.  All indiscriminate attacks against civilians must stop.

The Committee is gravely concerned at the prospects of further destabilization and calls for immediate efforts to de-escalate this dangerous situation with the aim of bringing a halt to the violence, protecting innocent civilians lives and restoring calm.  The Security Council bears particular responsibilities in this regard.  The Council must act immediately to uphold its resolutions on the question of Palestine and fulfil its duties under the United Nations Charter.  It cannot remain paralysed in this situation, which constitutes a threat to international peace and security.

The Committee also expresses its deep concern about the imminent evictions of Palestinian families from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan neighbourhoods of occupied East Jerusalem.  In Sheikh Jarrah, 169 people, including 46 children, face the immediate threat of eviction from the homes in which they have lived for generations, and being rendered homeless.  The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has warned that these actions — which constitute flagrant violations of Israel’s obligations as the occupying Power under international law and could lead to a risk of forcible transfer — must cease.

Responsible collective action is urgent for de-escalation and ensuring the necessary accountability for the violations of international law, including humanitarian and human rights law, being perpetrated by Israel for far too long in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.  In this regard, the Committee reiterates its calls for a halt to all illegal Israeli policies and practices, including all settlement activities, home demolitions, evictions and all other acts of collective punishment against the Palestinian civilian population.

The Committee echoes the clear call by the Secretary-General for “Israel to cease demolitions and evictions in line with its obligations under international humanitarian and international human rights law”, as well as his call for the status quo at the holy sites in Jerusalem to be upheld and respected.  This must include respect for the historic and legal status quo at Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and respect for the sanctity of this holy site and for the right of Muslims to peacefully worship there free from threats, intimidation and violence.

The Committee calls on the Secretary-General to continue utilizing his good offices and mediation capacities, as well as on all parties with influence, to act with urgency to de-escalate this volatile situation.  The Committee further urges the Security Council and the Middle East Quartet to revitalize the stalled peace process in view of resuming meaningful negotiations towards the achievement of a just peace.

The international community has an abiding responsibility towards the question of Palestine until it is resolved in all aspects, in accordance with international law and the relevant United Nations resolutions, and must act without delay to salvage the prospects for a just solution to the Israeli‑Palestinian conflict and lasting peace and security.

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