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PA: Israel imposing 'collective punishment' on Palestinian people

June 15, 2014 2:28 P.M. (Updated: June 15, 2014 8:45 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- The Palestinian Authority on Sunday condemned the Israeli arrest campaign across the West Bank and airstrikes against the Gaza Strip, denouncing the "collective punishment of the Palestinian people" by Israeli forces.

Spokesman for the Palestinian national consensus government Ehab Bessaiso on Sunday also reiterated Palestinian insistence that they have no responsibility for security in the settlements, as Israel continued assaults against Palestinians that began after the disappearance of three Israeli teenagers from the Gush Etzion settlement between Bethlehem and Hebron on Thursday.

"The Israeli government cannot hold the Palestinians responsible for security in occupied territories which are not under Palestinian sovereignty and which house dozens of settlements and outposts," Bessaiso said in a statement.

Bessaiso highlighted that the three youths went missing in the approximately 62 percent of the West Bank that is considered Area C and is under full Israeli control.

Bessaiso also said that the detention of 80 people across the West Bank and the bombing of Gaza overnight constitute "collective punishment against the entire Palestinian people," and called upon the "international community and all international human rights organizations to protect the Palestinian people against the Israeli escalation."

Bessaiso highlighted that even Palestinian prisoners in Israeli custody were being punished by Israel, through the banning of family visits and "other oppressive procedures," even as around 125 administrative detainees entered their 53rd day of a collective hunger strike.

Bessaiso also said that Israel had imposed a general closure on the Hebron area in the southern West Bank, leaving thousands of Palestinians under siege.

Earlier Sunday, Hamas denied Israeli allegations that their members were involved in the kidnapping of the three Jewish youths, calling the claims "stupid."

Overnight Sunday Israeli forces detained 80 Palestinians including a number of former ministers and top lawmakers and carried out airstrikes across the Gaza Strip, injuring a woman and a 15-year-old girl.

On Saturday, Netanyahu had said he held the Palestinian Authority responsible for the disappearance of the youths, while the PA has insisted it has no authority over the territory in which the youths disappeared.
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