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Palestinian Foreign Minister's Letter to Kofi

TO: Distinguished Recipients
FM: John Whitbeck

Transmitted below is the text of a letter sent to UN Secretary-General
Kofi Annan by the new Palestinian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr.
Mahmoud Zahhar.


*/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.

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 valley)
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
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