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Frustration: 65,000 more houses in West Bank

The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) issued a statement January 16, 2016, with a grim picture of peace and reconciliation in Palestine. It shows more confrontation and new settlements in the West Bank in 2016 and still now fresh double strategy of hawk and dove on both sides. Globalo documents the position of the Palestinians in their own words:

“Dr. Saeb Erekat (picture) the Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organization, strongly condemned the recent Israeli plans to advance its colonization operations throughout the Occupied State of Palestine, which primarily aim to further divide and isolate Occupied East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank. Dr. Erekat stressed that Israel’s illegal policies are based on the continued demolition of Palestinian homes with the intention to forcibly transfer the Palestinian population and replace them with more Israeli settlers.

Dr. Erekat stressed that Israel’s illegal policies violate various fundamental human rights and constitute a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention, including war crimes and crimes against humanity under international criminal law. He also reconfirmed the urgency for “the International community to translate their verbal condemnations by taking decisive actions against the Israeli crimes that continue to undermine the two-state solution and a viable, contiguous Palestinian State.”

Among the various illegal Israeli settlement policies and activities, Peace Now recently exposed plans by the Israeli Ministry of Housing to construct more than 65,000 new illegal settlement units throughout Occupied Palestine. These plans include thousands of units in the Eastern Jerusalem Governorate; in the heart of the area designated to the E1 illegal settlement plan. In addition to the construction of hundreds of units in Givat Eitam illegal settlement, referred to as E2, in the south of Bethlehem.

Furthermore, the Israeli Minister, Moshe Ya’alon, has recently announced the annexation of Beit Al-Baraka Church compound into Gush Etzion illegal settlement, located south to Bethlehem. This comes parallel to recent demolitions targeting Palestinian communities and homes, including Abu Nwar Bedouin Community located in the Eastern Jerusalem Governorate. According to international humanitarian agencies, five Palestinian homes, an animal shelter, and five International donor-funded structures were destroyed. This has resulted in the displacement of five Palestinian families, including 26 people, the overwhelming majority children.

Dr. Erekat added: “We are encouraged by the courageous decision taken by the United Methodist Church to divest from a list of Israeli Banks that are involved in funding Israel’s illegal settlement enterprise in the Occupied State of Palestine. By doing so, the United Methodist Church is divesting from oppression to invest in justice.”

“A new year of Israel’s occupation has begun with continued war crimes by further colonizing Palestine. Israel’s systematic policies of apartheid and ethnic cleansing should be criticized and punished. This is the only way to see an end to the injustice committed against the land and people of Palestine. It is time for the International community to assume its responsibilities; to hold Israel accountable and to divest from all companies and organizations that are complicit in the Israeli occupation and its settlement enterprise,” Dr. Erekat concluded.”

January 18, 2016 he issued another statement about the Israeli campaign against Swedish Foreign Minister, Margot Wallstrom , in response to her calls to open an investigation into Israel’s extrajudicial killing of Palestinian civilians.

“Israeli incitement against Ms. Wallstrom is coming from the Israeli government and political parties, highlighting Israel’s attitude that its partners are only those that allow Israel to be a state above the law.”

He called on the Israeli government to invest its time and effort to peace rather than to criticizing international law and devoting its efforts to prolonging the occupation.

Regarding the upcoming conclusions of the European Union’s Foreign Affairs Council, Dr. Erekat said: “We support all efforts aimed at bringing protection to the Palestinian people and accountability for the crimes committed against them. We also welcome greater engagement from Europe.”

“We call upon the European Union to uphold to its responsibilities in order to protect and promote human rights and international law. Countries that undermine a common policy towards Palestine, by continuing to treat Israel as a state above the law, should abide by their own obligations under this framework.”
Freeing the State of Palestine by ending the Israeli occupation is vital to the security and stability of the whole region and beyond, including Europe.””