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Palestinian PM condemns ongoing displacement of Bedouin communities

Jan. 20, 2016 7:01 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 21, 2016 11:34 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah slammed the displacement of Palestinian Bedouin communities near Jerusalem in a press release on Wednesday.

The statement said Prime Minister Dr. Rami Hamdallah "deplore(s) the illegal transfer" of the Palestinian Bedouin community, highlighting the issue in the Jerusalem area specifically.

"Israel's systematic violation of international laws is no longer acceptable by the international community," Hamdallah was quoted as saying.

Hamdallah’s condemnation comes after Israeli forces destroyed five Bedouin dwellings in the Abu Nuwwar community east of Jerusalem on Jan. 6, leaving 25 people homeless.

Abu Nuwwar is one of several Bedouin villages facing forced relocation due to plans by Israeli authorities to build thousands of homes for Jewish-only settlements in the E1 corridor.

On Tuesday, the Coordinator for Humanitarian and United Nations Development Activities for the occupied Palestinian territories, Robert Piper, and UNRWA’s West Bank operations director Felipe Sanchez called for “an immediate end” to Israeli plans to displace Bedouin communities in the Jerusalem area.

“Under international law, Israel is responsible for meeting the needs of Palestinians living under its occupation and for facilitating humanitarian assistance, not for obstructing aid and pressuring residents to leave so that Israeli settlements can expand,” Piper said in a statement.

“The international community must ensure that plans to transfer these communities are revoked, if the two-state solution is to be protected.”

Sanchez said he was “once again deeply alarmed to witness Israel’s relentless push towards removing Bedouin Palestine refugees from their homes, destroying their livelihoods and their distinct culture.”

Although Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was forced to suspend work on the housing units in 2013, settlement watchdog Peace Now reported in December that the Ministry of Housing has "quietly" continued planning 8,372 homes in the corridor.

Settlement construction in E1 would effectively divide the West Bank and make the creation of a contiguous Palestinian state -- as envisaged by the internationally backed two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict -- almost impossible.

Israeli activity in E1 has attracted widespread international condemnation, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has in the past said that "E1 is a red line that cannot be crossed."
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