PA: Israel seeks to divert attention from political achievements of Palestinian leadership

Saeb Erekat accuses Israel of “ethnic cleansing.”

Palestinians hold flags and posters depicting PA Mahmoud Abbas during a rally in Bethlehem  (photo credit: REUTERS)
Palestinians hold flags and posters depicting PA Mahmoud Abbas during a rally in Bethlehem
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Palestinian Authority on Thursday strongly condemned Israel for continued building in the settlements and the killing of two Palestinians in the West Bank.
Nabil Abu Rudaineh, spokesman for the PA presidency, said in reference to the killing of two Palestinians by the IDF in the Jenin and Hebron areas this week that Israel was trying to create tensions and instability in the West Bank.
“Israel is seeking, through these practices, to send a message to the international community, which is sympathetic to the Palestinian cause,” Abu Rudaineh said. “Israel wants to divert attention from the political achievements of the Palestinian leadership.”
The spokesman called on Israel to “immediately stop creating a destructive atmosphere.”
The PA also expressed concern over recent reports according to which Israel is planning to build housing units in the settlements and evict the residents of Sussiya village near Hebron.
PLO Secretary-General and chief negotiator Saeb Erekat accused Israel of “ethnic cleansing.”
Israel is “systematically pursuing a policy of forcible transfer of civilian Palestinian populations,” he said. Erekat condemned the policy as a “crime against humanity under international law.”
This policy has in particular affected Jerusalem, the Jordan Valley and the southern Hebron region, he said.
“The forcible transfer of Palestinians continues as Israel is preparing to announce further settlement construction in the illegal settlements of Bet El, Ma’aleh Adumim, Givat Ze’ev, Psagot, Beit Aryeh and Giv’on,” Erekat charged. “In total, these illegal settlements will amount to 906 new housing units, to accommodate approximately 4,500 new settlers in Occupied Palestine at the expense of the Palestinian community whose land these settlers will occupy.”
The PA leadership will continue taking the necessary steps within international forums, including cooperating with the International Criminal Court, in order to “end Israeli crimes and achieve the long overdue inalienable rights of the Palestinian people,” he said.
PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi also made a scathing attack on Israel, accusing it of “land theft” and “ethnic cleansing.”
The PA government in the West Bank claimed that the killing of two Palestinians by the IDF over the past 48 hours was an Israeli attempt to plunge the region into another cycle of violence, avoid fulfilling Israel’s obligations under the terms of the peace process and undermine international efforts to achieve peace in the Middle East.