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PLO slams Israel's 'collective punishment' of Palestinians

Oct. 4, 2015 11:33 P.M. (Updated: March 21, 2016 5:12 P.M.)
A Palestinian youth is arrested by Israeli soldiers for throwing stones during a protest. (AFP/Hazem Bader/File)
By: Killian Redden

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Senior PLO official Hanan Ashrawi on Sunday slammed the Israeli government for its "collective punishment" of Palestinians in the wake of two deadly attacks on Israelis.

Ashrawi said that settler and military violence was proof "that the Israeli government is deliberately creating a situation of violence and instability that threatens to spiral out of control."

She condemned violent attacks carried out by Palestinians in recent days, including a shooting on Thursday that killed two Israeli settlers in the West Bank, and a stabbing that also claimed two Israeli lives in Jerusalem's Old City on Saturday night.

However, she said that since then, Palestinians have been "subject to the systematic and escalating violence of the occupation, whether in the form of settler-terrorism or at the hands of the Israeli military using live ammunition."

The Palestinian Red Crescent told Ma'an late Sunday that 96 Palestinians had been shot by Israeli forces and settlers since Saturday evening, including 28 with live rounds and 68 with rubber-coated steel bullets.

Ashrawi said that the recent escalation resembled Israeli actions during Israel's 2002 "Defensive Shield" operation, when she said Israel sealed Jerusalem and imposed hundreds of checkpoints across the occupied territory, "while giving free reign to the settlers to continue their attacks."

The senior PLO official also condemned Israel's "alarming and deliberate escalation" at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem's Old City.

Israeli forces have repeatedly stormed the holy site to clear way for groups of Israelis celebrating a series of Jewish holidays in recent weeks.

During the most recent of these, the eight-day Sukkot festival that began last Sunday, Israeli forces have reportedly denied all Palestinians under 50 entry to the site.

Ashrawi said that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's "right-wing extremist government continues to deny Palestinian rights and incite violence, clearly indicating that ending this system of occupation and apartheid is not an option."

She said that the Palestinian leadership "has warned the international community for decades that Israel’s culture of impunity is destroying any prospects of peace and has created an unsustainable situation of instability, racism and violence."

She urged the international community "to undertake its responsibility and to engage positively to put an end to this lethal situation."
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