PLO Executive Committee Member Dr. Hanan Ashrawi strongly condemned Israel’s escalation of its illegal and inhumane measures in and around Jerusalem and in Area C and said, “Israel has gone too far with its persistent violations and its blatant disregard of international law.
With its systematic efforts to steal more Palestinian land and demolish and ethnically cleanse entire Palestinian villages and communities, expand its illegal settlement enterprise and to destroy homes and olive trees throughout occupied Palestine, among other flagrant violations of international law, Israel has clearly demonstrated its blatant intent of destroying the two-state solution and superimposing “Greater Israel” on all of historic Palestine.
In the past two days, Israel demolished multiple residences and structures (which include EU-funded Palestinian homes) in Sebastia, Umm al-Kheir, Umm al-Hiran, and the Jericho villages of al-Jiftlik and Fasayil. The Israeli government also has expressed its intentions of destroying the villages of Susiya and Umm al-Hiran. It is evident that Israel is bent on fulfilling its official policy of ethnic cleansing and forced displacement at the expense of the indigenous Palestinian population.
The Palestinians of Jerusalem and surrounding areas continue to suffer at the hands of the military occupation. Israel recently announced plans to construct 2,500 units in the illegal settlement of Gilo and to build 5 new police stations in and around the heart of Occupied Jerusalem in Ras al-Amud, Jabal Mukaber, Silwan, al-Issawiya, and Sur Baher. Israel is illegally and unjustly transforming Jerusalem into an exclusively Jewish area and attempting to rid the occupied city of its Palestinian culture, history and narrative.
Illegal settlers continue to terrorize defenseless Palestinian civilians, and their acts of violence and destruction remain unchecked by the Israeli government. Moussa Muhammad Salman, an 85-year-old from the village of Talfit, died today after being run over by a settler riding a motorcycle. Salman was herding his flock of sheep when he was killed. In addition, under the protection of the Israeli army, settlers from the illegal Israeli outpost of Nefih Hanania and the illegal settlement of Rachelim destroyed 35 dunams of land from the village of Iskaka today; this included about 500 olive trees. Clearly, Israel’s culture of hate, racism and lawlessness has enabled its settler population to act as terrorists.”
Dr. Ashrawi concluded, ”Once again, the enormity and comprehensive nature of such existing violations are not only alarming, but they send a strong message to the international community that it needs to intervene immediately.
We call on all members of the international community to undertake concrete measures and hold Israel accountable for its violations of Palestinian rights, lands and resources. Rather than rewarding Israel and providing it with legal, political and economic cover by means of the EU-Israel Association Agreement, the European Neighbourhood Policy and the Horizon 2020 Association Agreement, as well as the increase in the American military aid package amounting to almost $40 billion dollars, respectively, both the European Union and the United States should end their preferential treatment of Israel and adopt serious steps to ensure Israeli compliance with their own laws, as well as with international law and international humanitarian law.”