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US official criticises Israel after visit to West Bank

November 8, 2019 at 12:45 pm

Thousands of Palestinians rely on drinking water pipelines [Abed Rahim Khatib/Apa Images]

US Democratic Representative Andy Levin visited the occupied West Bank on Tuesday, during which he observed the Israeli government denying local residents access to water.

The trip included a tour of the Susya village, south of Hebron, which has been repeatedly under threat of demolition for the past 30 years based on Israeli claims that homes in the area were erected without the necessary permits.

This deeply concerned the US representative as he took to Twitter to criticise Israel for repeatedly demolishing the Palestinian buildings in Susya that had to be rebuilt numerous times.

He wrote: “Yesterday, I travelled to the southern West Bank, including the Palestinian village of Susya, which the Israeli government has destroyed twice and currently denies access to water.”

Consisting mostly of tents, and without running water or electricity, the Susya village has risen to international prominence in recent years, according to the New Arab.

Levin watched how Jewish settlers nearby are granted government-supplied amenities, yet the Palestinians remained “resilient”.

He stated: “It was simply incredible. As angry as the situation made me, the resilience of the Palestinian villagers left an even stronger impression.”

The presence of these Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank is illegal under international law.

In August, Levin was among the numerous members of US Congress to condemn Israel’s decision to ban Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib, also a representative from Michigan, and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota from visiting Israel.

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They became the first members of the US Congress to be banned by Israel, with US President Donald Trump, stating the Jewish state would show “great weakness” if it let them in.

The two left-wing Democrats have repeatedly highlighted the injustice suffered by Palestinians at the hands of occupation forces.

Days later, Palestinian Tlaib was granted permission to enter Israel to visit her ailing grandmother on the basis that she would not take part in any political activity during her stay. She rejected the offer.

“This is a completely misguided decision that reeks of political motivation,” Levin said at the time.

“This decision pulls at the seams of our two countries’ important relationship and endangers Israel by attempting to politicise American support for the country. The Israeli government should reject the bigoted, wedge-driving political tactics of President Trump, who recently said that both congresswomen should ‘go back’ to their countries, and grant representatives Tlaib and Omar entry into the country to do their jobs.”