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PLO chief slams 'extremist' Israeli state over treatment of Palestinians citizens

Feb. 4, 2017 8:43 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 5, 2017 7:30 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Secretary-General of the Palestine Liberation Organization(PLO) Saeb Erekat denounced the ongoing escalation by the Israeli government against its Palestinian citizens as “fascist” and “extremist,” in the wake of a demolition campaign targeting homes belonging to Palestinian citizens of Israel.

"This escalation, characterized by home demolitions and other restrictions against Palestinians in Israel, as well as in the West Bank, and Jerusalem, is a result of fascist alliances between (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu and extremist forces in Israel," Erekat said Saturday at a gathering held at the Palestinian Red Crescent Building in the occupied West Bank city of al-Bireh.

The gathering was held to show support for the Palestinian citizens of Israel, and was attended by members of the PLO’s Executive Committee, members of the Central Committee of the Fatah, the ruling party of the Palestinian Authority (PA), and a delegation representing Palestinian citizens of Israel headed by Muhammad Baraka, the head of the High Follow-up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel.

The meeting came in the wake of widespread uproar following a demolition campaign targeting Palestinian citizens of Israel, after Palestinian homes were razed to the ground last month in the Bedouin community of Umm al-Hiran and the central Israeli city of Qalansawe.

Meanwhile, demolitions of Palestinian homes in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem reached a record high over the course of 2016.

Right groups have argued that the aim of home demolitions is to forcibly displace Palestinians from the region, regardless of their status as residents of the occupied West Bank or East Jerusalem, or as citizens of Israel -- despite the varying legal justifications used by Israel in each instance.

Erekat stressed in his remarks that the Palestinian people are "proud to fight the ethnic cleansing in Umm al-Hiran, Qalansawe, Nablus, and Hebron alike."

For his part, Muhammad Baraka said similar gatherings would be organized in the future in Gaza City, Qalansawe, the Lebanese capital of Beirut, as well as the Israeli city of Tel Aviv.

He said that celebrating the International Day of Solidarity with Palestinian Citizens of Israel, which is held on Jan. 30 every year, was “a way to unite the Palestinian people who have been suffering from occupation and displacement" since the creation of the state of Israel in 1948.

"Discrimination and violence is no longer a local issue, and an occupying state cannot just do whatever it wants to the people it occupies. Thus, the world must know the details about what Israel is doing to our people," Barakat said.

All Palestinians, Barakat added, were suffering from the same reality that he said “emerged from the Zionist ideology, which is enacting various policies of racial discrimination against our people."
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