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Fatah wing vows response to settlement activity

Sept. 26, 2010 4:09 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 28, 2010 9:44 A.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Fatah's armed wing vowed to respond to renewed settlement expansion in the West Bank on Sunday.

The Al-Aqsa Brigades urged the Palestinian Authority to maintain its resolve to walk out of recently relaunched peace talks if full-scale settlement expansion resumed.

As the 10-month partial moratorium on settlement construction expired on Sunday, Israeli settlers laid the foundation for a new school in the illegal Rommanim outpost in the southern Hebron district. Near Bethlehem, Israelis residing on the illegal Noqedim settlement were seen installing mobile homes on land belonging to Palestinian Khirbet Jub Ath-Theib. On Saturday, settlers installed 20 caravans on a hilltop outside the Revava settlement in the northern West Bank.

In a statement, the brigades said settler attacks against Palestinian people and their land had gone too far without intervention. The resumption of settlement expansion, which the group noted had never actually stopped, was evidence of the Israeli government's intention to deny Palestinian rights, the brigades said.

The group cited the release of a settler security guard who shot dead two Palestinians on Wednesday as further proof that the Israeli government supported extremist right-wing settler groups. The killing of Samer Abu Sarhan, a 28-year-old father of five, in Silwan was one incident in an endless cycle of attacks against Palestinians and their land, the brigades said.

The military wing of the Fatah party said its fighters would teach settler groups "unforgettable lessons."

President Mahmoud Abbas told world leaders at the UN General Assembly on Saturday that Israel would have to choose between settlement expansion and peace.

Despite pressure from the UN, the EU and the US, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has so far refused to extend the freeze on settlement construction.

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