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DFLP condemns US statements on settlements, urges PA to withdraw recognition of Israel

Feb. 3, 2017 10:12 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 5, 2017 8:01 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) -- The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) released a statement on Friday in response to comments by US President Donald Trump's administration earlier in the day that Israeli settlement construction on occupied Palestinian land was “not an impediment to peace,” and encouraged the Palestinian Authority (PA) to withdraw recognition of the Israeli state, while escalating the boycott of Israeli goods.

The statement said that Palestinian leadership should “stop hesitating” and begin conducting actions in response to Netanyahu's settlement policies which are supported by the US.

The White House said in a statement on Friday that “while we don’t believe the existence of settlements is an impediment to peace, the construction of new settlements or the expansion of existing settlements beyond their current borders may not be helpful in achieving [peace]."

The DFLP has threatened to withdraw recognition of the state of Israel and to focus energy on the decisions of the Palestinian Central Council to internationalize the rights of Palestinians, adding that the latest US statement on Israeli settlements is “foreshadowing new dangers and a new escalation in the region and especially in the occupied Palestinian territories.”

The statement also highlighted that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has dramatically increased settlement expansion plans in the two weeks following the inauguration of right-wing Trump to the position of US President.

In January, Netanyahu pledged to lift all restrictions on settlement construction in occupied East Jerusalem and to advance settlement expansion in the West Bank.

More than 6,000 housing units have been approved for construction in East Jerusalem and the West Bank by the Israeli government since the beginning of 2017.

Netanyahu also said on Wednesday evening that he had taken preliminary steps to establish a new illegal settlement in the West Bank to house Amona settlers amid resistance from the outpost’s residents as Israeli authorities evacuated the outpost -- considered illegal under both Israeli and international law.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the Israeli government gave its approval for the construction of more than 3,000 new illegal settlement homes across the occupied West Bank just hours after the widely condemned “Legalization bill” -- which would retroactively legalize dozens of illegal Israeli outposts -- passed its final committee vote.

The statement also added that amid US support of Israeli settlements and the election of Trump who has publicly expressed his support for illegal settlement building, any planned decisions expected to be carried out by the Palestinian Authority (PA) in order to combat settlement expansion would be too late to challenge Netanyahu’s commitment to pushing through Israeli settlement plans.

The DFLP urged the PA to withdraw recognition of the state of Israel, cancel the Israeli-Palestinian security coordination, publicly support and practice the boycotting of the Israeli economy, and to support the Palestinian popular resistance.

The statement also highlighted the importance of internationalizing the Palestinian struggle at the UNSC and demanded that countries conduct themselves in accordance with UNSC resolution 2334. The DFLP also encouraged Palestinian leaders to appeal to the International Criminal Court, a move that the US government has said would result in the cutting of aid to the PA and the relabeling of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) as a terrorist organization.

The goal of Palestinian leaders should be to isolate the Israeli state, the statement continued, which practices “ethnic cleansing, sieges, ethnic separation, and collective punishment against the Palestinian people.”

The statement concluded by demanding the PA to continue organizing at the UN to obtain complete membership for Palestine and for the UN to provide protection to Palestinians. However, the statement added, the PA would need to end the national conflict and unite all political parties, while defending Palestinian lands.

Secretary-General of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Saeb Erekat released a statement on Tuesday describing Israel’s continued settlement expansion as an “immoral situation,” as he called on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to “open an immediate investigation into the Israeli settlement enterprise.”

“The commitment of Netanyahu's government to colonization and segregation and its determination to defy international law and resolutions continues to destroy the prospects of an independent and sovereign State of Palestine,” Erekat said, adding that the Palestinian leadership “will pursue all necessary political, legal and diplomatic steps in order to hold Israel accountable and to bring justice to our people.”
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