Cabinet Strongly Condemns Israeli Settlement Plans

RAMALLAH, December 6, 2012 (WAFA) – The Palestinian Cabinet, during its weekly meeting on Thursday, strongly condemned in a statement the Israeli government’s decision to approve the construction of new settlement units in the occupied Palestinian Territory and considered that these steps constitute a flagrant defiance of the international community’s will, which was reflected in its support to grant Palestine the status of Observer State.

Hereby is the full statement:

During its weekly meeting in Ramallah, chaired by Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, the Cabinet affirmed that the General Assembly resolution to accord Palestine the status of Observer State is the fruit of our people’s continued and decades-long struggle to achieve their natural right to self-determination, and a victory for our people’s determination to realize all its national rights. The Cabinet further affirmed that this accomplishment reflected the support of peoples of the world for these rights including, first and foremost, the right to establish the independent State of Palestine, with Jerusalem as its capital, on the 1967 borders.

The Cabinet decided to form a ministerial committee to prepare a vision and proposals on following up on the implementation of the United Nations resolution regarding the status of the State of Palestine; the committee will coordinate with the Higher Committee formed by the Palestinian leadership to address these issues.

The Cabinet also strongly condemned the Israeli government’s decision to approve the construction of new settlement units in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, the most serious of which was the recent decision to build 3,400 settlement units in the area known as “E1”, which completely isolates Jerusalem City from its natural Palestinian surrounding and separates the northern West Bank from its south thus eliminating the possibility of establishing the Palestinian state. The Cabinet considered that these steps constitute a flagrant defiance of the international community’s will, which was reflected in its support to accord Palestine the status of Observer State, and a clear assault on Palestinian land and rights in a manner that threatens the possibility of enshrining the Palestinian state on the land occupied by Israel in 1967, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

The Cabinet further noted that the Palestinian leadership’s decision to engage the UN Security Council to confront settlement construction and compel Israel to stop these activities reaffirms the pivotal role of the international community and its political, legal and moral responsibilities, which requires taking serious steps to end the continued Israeli assaults on our land and our people’s rights, in flagrant violation of international law. In this regard, the Cabinet valued the position of European and other countries that protested the Israeli decision to expand settlements and called upon those states to adopt concrete action in this regard.

To this end, the Cabinet called on the international community to put an end to the Israeli policy of piracy against the Palestinian tax revenues it collects on behalf of the National Authority in accordance with signed agreements, and considered such a policy a form of unacceptable political blackmail. In this context, the Cabinet emphasized the need for the Arab brothers to provide a safety net that would enable the National Authority to confront the repercussions of this kind of Israeli measures and meet its various financial obligations as well as strengthen the steadfastness of our people at this critical juncture. The Cabinet also noted the need to amend the Arab decision regarding the safety net to provide $240 million per month as long as Israel continues to withhold the Authority’s tax revenues and while pledged budget assistance to compensate for the budget deficit is not fulfilled. The Cabinet also called on the international community to reject this blackmail and compel Israel to transfer our tax revenues and transfer of commitments pledged by donors to the National Authority.

The Cabinet also denounced the continued Israeli violation of the ceasefire in the Gaza Strip with the detention of dozens of citizens by the occupation forces off the western and eastern coasts of the Strip as well as incursions into agricultural land in Khan Younis and randomly opening fire at citizens, causing several injuries. In addition, the Cabinet condemned the continued violations of the occupation forces and its settlers in the West Bank, the last of which was the killing of Hatem Shadid from ‘Allar village in Tulkarem, and the demolition of Al-Mafqara Mosque, the bulldozing of 70 dunums, the destruction of three agricultural wells and three agricultural rooms in Hebron as well as the uprooting of 200 olive trees west of Bethlehem, in addition to the arrest of dozens of citizens in the northern governorates.

The Cabinet called on the international community to move effectively to put an end to Israel’s continued disregard for international resolutions concerning prisoners, and to bear the political, legal and ethical responsibilities regarding Israel’s illegal policies and practices towards Palestinian prisoners, including the illegal administrative detention. The Cabinet holds Israel fully responsible for all these violations, including the critical danger to the lives of prisoners on hunger strike by Ayman Al-Sharawneh and Samer Issawi; recalling the relevant international resolutions, which called on Israel to release Palestinian prisoners and to treat them in accordance with international norms and human rights laws. In the same context, the Cabinet praised the upcoming conference to be held in Baghdad on the issue of prisoners, which will seek ways to support prisoners and compel Israel to implement relevant international law and humanitarian law.

The Cabinet approved the draft regulation to prevent the smuggling of produce, which aims to protect Palestinian agricultural products and support the steadfastness of Palestinian farmers, as well as contribute to the advancement of our national economy.

Source: WAFA News