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PA: Israel eviction plans in Masafer Yatta amount to ethnic cleansing

A group of European Union Heads of Mission along with Israeli NGOS Breaking the Silence and B'Tselem visit Palestinian communities in the Masafer Yatta area in the South Hebron Hills on October 19, 2020 [HAZEM BADER/AFP via Getty Images]
A group of European Union Heads of Mission along with Israeli NGOS Breaking the Silence and B'Tselem visit Palestinian communities in the Masafer Yatta area in the South Hebron Hills on October 19, 2020 [HAZEM BADER/AFP via Getty Images]

The Palestinian Authority warned on Friday that Israel's Supreme Court's agreement to demolish more than 12 Palestinian villages in Masafer Yatta amounts to ethnic cleansing.

According to Wafa News Agency, these evictions would lead to the displacement of more than 4,000 Palestinian citizens, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, the spokesperson for PA President Mahmoud Abbas, confirmed.

Abu Rudeineh also condemned Israel's expropriation of 22,000 dunums of Palestinian land in several villages south of Jericho as part of the E1 settlement plan, which aims to isolate the occupied city of Jerusalem from the rest of the occupied West Bank.

"The Israeli decision regarding the villages of Masafer Yatta, which affects thousands of Palestinian citizens, including 500 children, amounts to forced displacement and ethnic cleansing, in violation of international law and relevant UN Security Council resolutions," Abu Rudeineh asserted.

He added: "These measures are dangerous, condemned and rejected. All of the Israeli demolitions, evictions and settlements fall within the framework of the apartheid regime that the occupation applies to the Palestinians and their lands amid international silence."

The PA official stressed that "this will have serious consequences on the ground," attributing full responsibility for the consequences to the Israeli government.

READ: Palestine urges UNSC to stop Israel escalations

Abu Rudeineh said these Israeli measures: "Come at a time when many regional and international parties are exerting efforts to prevent escalation and ease tensions on the ground as a result of the continuous Israeli aggression against our people and our Islamic and Christian holy sites in occupied Jerusalem."

He called on the international community to assume its responsibilities and: "Turn the silent condemnation of settlements into action by putting pressure on the Israeli government to stop its settlements, killing, attempts to change the status quo in Al-Haram Al-Sharif and incursions into Palestinian cities and villages."

At the same time, he urged the US administration to assume its responsibilities to stop the "Israeli recklessness" that fuels escalation and tensions.

"It is time to turn the commitments of President Biden's administration into reality on the ground because the current situation imposed by provocative Israeli decisions and measures can never be allowed to continue," Abu Rudeineh expressed.

According to UN statistics, Israel has demolished or expropriated 217 Palestinian buildings in Masafer Yatta since 2011, leading to the displacement of 608 Palestinians.

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