HM the King Condemns in Letter to UNSG Unacceptable Israeli Policies, Urges International Community to Compel Israel to Put an End to Those Practices
HM King Mohammed VI, Chairman of the Al-Quds Committee, strongly condemned, in a letter to UN Secretary General António Guterres, the unacceptable Israeli policies and insisted on the need for resolute action on the part of the international community and the influential powers to compel Israel to put an end to those practices, through which it seeks to impose a fait accompli and decide single-handedly the fate of the City of Jerusalem – an issue which should be addressed within the context of final status negotiations.
Here follows the full text of the royal letter to the UNSG:
His Excellency António Guterres,
Secretary-General of the United Nations Organization
Dear Mr. Secretary-General,
I am writing to you today in my capacity as Chairman of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation's Al-Quds Committee regarding the Israeli authorities’ continued, systematic violations in the city of Al-Quds Al-Sharif and around the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the first of the Two Qiblas and the third Holy Mosque, blatantly breaching international law.
Regrettably, whenever there appear to be signs of a chance to revive the peace process between the Palestinians and Israel, the latter resorts to fabricating events and fomenting tensions to abort those prospects. This is precisely what Israel has done again in respect of the regional and international efforts led by the United States of America. Thanks to those efforts, the international community sensed there was a positive atmosphere that could effectively lead to the resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
Israel has recently taken a number of serious provocative measures, including the following:
1. It staged unprecedented celebrations on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the annexation of Al-Quds; on Sunday 28 May 2017, the Israeli government held a meeting in a tunnel under the Al-Aqsa Mosque, in which it approved development plans for the Old City, including the digging of more tunnels, the installation of elevators and the construction of corridors.
2. The Israeli government introduced a bill at the Knesset requiring Arab schools to teach Israeli curricula and use textbooks to Judaize education in the occupied city of Al Quds.
3. Members of the Knesset submitted a draft bill on Greater Jerusalem, which aims to annex Israeli settlements in the West Bank as well as other areas in East Jerusalem.
4. The Ministerial Committee for Legislation approved the 'unified Jerusalem’ bill, which undermines chances to reach an agreement on the city’s future.
5. The Israeli Knesset approved a preliminary reading of a bill that bans the adhân (call to prayer) in Jerusalem and the surrounding Arab neighborhoods.
The Israeli authorities are launching a comprehensive campaign of escalation against the Old City in Al-Quds Al-Sharif and its surroundings by confiscating Palestinian land, by denying Palestinians the right to build and by carrying out arbitrary evictions.
As if all those illegal practices were not enough, Israel has taken even more serious measures. On Friday 14 July 2017, it proscribed the Friday prayers, closed Al-Aqsa Mosque to worshipers for three days and, for the first time in half a century, banned the call to prayer. It also detained, for several hours, Sheikh Mohammad Hussein, the Mufti of Jerusalem and Palestinian territories.
Israel has increased tension in the region by introducing additional provocative and unacceptable security measures, installing surveillance cameras throughout the Al Aqsa Mosque compound as well as security gates to check the worshipers and assaulting officials and employees of the Islamic endowment department.
These illegal actions undermine the dignity of the inhabitants of Al Quds and constitute a provocation for all Palestinians. They may lead to an outpouring of anger and an overall public reaction that could compound the situation in the Palestinian territories. These provocative practices arouse the feelings of Arabs, Muslims and freedom lovers in the world. They could incite extremist tendencies that may lead to further tension, animosity and violence in the entire region.
Given this alarming situation, I cannot but strongly condemn these unacceptable Israeli policies in my capacity as Chairman of the Al-Quds Committee. I insist on the need for resolute action on the part of the international community and the influential powers to compel Israel to put an end to those practices, through which it seeks to impose a fait accompli and decide singlehandedly the fate of the City of Jerusalem – an issue which should be addressed within the context of final status negotiations.
I therefore call on you, Mr. Secretary-General, to approach the Israeli authorities as soon as possible and compel them to respect the legal and historical status of Al-Quds Al-Sharif and the Holy Places, and to ask them to cancel all illegal measures, including the additional security arrangements, which have prompted suspicion that there might be an Israeli plan for the spatial and temporal division of the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
I must insist on the centrality of the issue of Jerusalem and its special spiritual significance. No infringement on its symbolic character or its time-honored cultural identity can be tolerated. I must also warn against the risk of turning the issue into a religious conflict, and exploiting the cultural heritage to incite hatred, fuel extremism and undermine the ideals of tolerance and affection between the followers of the revealed religions.
The Kingdom of Morocco believes firmly in peace - an ideal endorsed by the international community - and considers that Jerusalem is about roots and identity. It is, therefore, convinced that forcibly imposing the fait accompli will only lead to more tension and violence, particularly in these complex, turbulent times for the region.
Although the above-mentioned Israeli policies and the goals behind them - which I condemn and reject - are alarming, I will remain optimistic and hope the Israeli authorities will make reason and wisdom prevail. I hope they will ask themselves the right questions and opt for peace and integration, rather than isolation, and thus enable the Palestinians to establish their independent State on Palestinian land, along the lines of 4 June 1967, with East Jerusalem as their capital.
Given your political acumen and your vast experience in international affairs, there is no doubt in my mind that you will spare no effort to restore normalcy and thus contribute to setting the peace process back on track in order to achieve a just, comprehensive and lasting solution that guarantees the establishment of an independent Palestinian State, living side by side with the State of Israel, in security, peace and concord.
MAP 26 July 2017