PLO Department of Culture and Information have published a press release by PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi in which she condemns Israel’s confiscation of 50 dunams in Bethlehem to expand the illegal settlement of Ma’ale Rehavam and its recent plans to annex Palestinian land, including the displacement of about 300 Palestinians from their homes and agricultural lands in the Ein al-Hilweh and Umm al-Jamal villages located in the northern Jordan Valley, the destruction of six buildings inhabited by hundreds of Palestinians in the town of Kufr ‘Aqab, and the demolition of residential buildings in the Occupied Jerusalem neighborhood of al-Issawiya. She said,
“Israeli policies of colonization and ethnic cleansing are based on theft – the theft of Palestinian land, resources and lives. The unlawful acts reinforce Israel’s intent to change the facts on the ground and systematically eradicate the Palestinian presence from the occupied West Bank (including East Jerusalem), thereby distorting the historic, political, cultural, demographic, and geographic realities of Palestine. Undoubtedly, Israel is bent on expelling the indigenous Palestinians from their homeland and superimposing “Greater Israel” on all of historic Palestine.
Such dangerous and disastrous measures should send a direct message to members of the international community, including the United States and European Union, that Israel is willfully sabotaging the chances of peace and the two-state solution; clearly, it is more committed to land theft and mass expulsion than to peacemaking. Without a territoriality viable and contiguous Palestinian state, peace and stability are impossible.
It is time that governments worldwide go beyond statements and verbal condemnations and ensure the protection of the Palestinian people and accountability for Israel. We call on the international community to adopt serious and concrete steps, which include legal, political and economic sanctions, to curb Israel’s flagrant and grave violations of international law and conventions once and for all.”
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