Gaza – Ma'an – Israel's latest military orders facilitating the illegal expulsion of Palestinians from their homeland are simply the latest in a string of Zionist attempts to ethnically cleanse the Palestinians, Islamic Jihad officials stated Sunday.
The statement was issued only hours after Israeli media and human rights organization HaMoked made public two Israeli military orders amending a 1969 act - itself amended in 1980 - allowing the detention and deportation of those described as "infiltrators."
At the same time, chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat and Fatah Central Committee leader Nabil Sha'ath issued their own condemnations of the orders, with Erekat calling them "an assault on ordinary Palestinians, and an affront to the most fundamental principles of human rights," and the tools of an "apartheid state."
For his part, Sha'ath accused Israel of throwing out the Oslo agreements and challenging the power of the Palestinian Authority to govern its citizens in Palestinian controlled areas.
"What the occupying power is doing is punishing Palestinians for existing. Under this new Apartheid law, a Palestinian from the West Bank found in the Jordan Valley, a Gaza ID holder living in the West Bank, a Jerusalemite married to a Palestinian ID holder or a foreigner married to a Palestinian who lives in the West Bank can all be considered criminal offenders, meaning they can be imprisoned for up to three years or deported," a statement from Sha'ath's office said.
According to analysts, the new definition is so broad it could be applied to tens of thousands of Palestinians in the West Bank. Most likely, a HaMoked statement explained, the order would target Palestinians born in Gaza and foreign nationals married to Palestinians residing in the West Bank. An report in Israel's Haaretz said the order was set to be used against Palestinians protesting land confiscation.
Palestinian Legislative Council members in Gaza denounced the order, describing it as "an attempt to void the West Bank gradually from its residents [and] to impose Zionist expansionist plans."
"The Israeli occupation has gone far with its procedures and plans with no one to stop them. These moves require a serious Palestinian, Arab and Muslim stance to fight back the Zionist entity and prevent it from continue its policy at the expense of the Palestinians and their national rights."
The PLC said to confront "these racist procedures," the leadership should undertake all possible legal avenues.
Islamic Jihad called the reports an "announcement to Palestinians" that they must "rearrange the situation."
Nafeth Azzam, member of the Islamic Jihad politburo, said the policy was the result of a world content to stand back, thereby "encouraging the Zionist entity to continue with its racist procedures...this is the same path taken against the Palestinians from the start, it is happening now like it happened to Gaza in 2008-9," he wrote.
Erekat was no less damning of the orders, saying, "These orders have the effect of turning Palestinians into criminals in their own homes, while directly undermining the efforts of Palestinians to run their own internal affairs.
"They also open the flood gate for Israel to target foreign-born spouses, foreign workers, and even Israeli citizens as ‘infiltrators’, as well as anyone participating in demonstrations in support of Palestinian rights and against Israel’s occupation,' he said.
Under the new orders, anyone found without a designated permit, including Palestinians living in areas governed by the Palestinian Authority, can be imprisoned for up to seven years as well as expelled from the West Bank.
"Most of all, they reveal the invidious design behind Israel’s settlement policy. The fewer Palestinians there are in the West Bank, including in occupied East Jerusalem, the more settlers there will be. Israel’s endgame is not peace. It is the colonization of the West Bank," Erekat explained.
"By systematically violating past agreements, as for example in its refusal to freeze settlements, and undermining international efforts to resume negotiations, Israel is turning the Palestinian-Israeli conflict into a zero sum game. At a time when the international community is trying to create an environment conducive to negotiations, these military orders achieve the exact opposite result."