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Erekat: There is no difference between IS and Israeli terrorism

Jan. 7, 2015 5:09 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 10, 2015 4:31 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Top PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat has called the ongoing expansion of Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank "terrorism," even making comparisons between Israel and the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria.

"There is no difference between the terrorism practiced by the group led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and Israel's terrorism," he said, referencing the leader of the IS group during a speech at a festival celebrating the Prophet Muhammad's birthday in Jericho on Monday.

He added that "ending settlement activities is a prerequisite for eliminating terrorism."

Erekat also slammed Israel's decision to withhold Palestinian tax revenues, confirming that Israeli threats would not deter the Palestinian leadership and the Palestinian people from holding firm to their inalienable rights including the establishment of an independent state whose capital is Jerusalem.

In recent months numerous critics and activists have also suggested similarities between Israel and the IS group, referring to the first as "the Jewish State in Israel and the Levant" i.e. JSIL, a play on the abbreviation "Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant" i.e. ISIL frequently used for IS.

Those who make the comparison argue that the ethnic cleansing practiced by IS and Israel as well as the drive to create an ethnically and religiously "pure" state hint at the shared assumptions that underlie both projects.

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