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PLO: 'Israel accentuates West Bank-Gaza separation in all means'

Nov. 7, 2018 11:01 A.M. (Updated: Nov. 7, 2018 1:03 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organization's (PLO) Executive Committee Saeb Erekat said that "the Israeli decision to deduct part of the Palestinian Authority's (PA) tax revenues, in order to transfer the money to the besieged Gaza Strip comes within the framework of the so-called 'Deal of the Century,'" which is based on the Nationality law and the plan to separate Gaza from the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Erekat spoke to the Voice of Palestine radio, on Tuesday, saying that what Israel and the United States Trump administration are currently doing is "accentuating the separation in all possible means."

He said that this is "indicative of their determination to maintain the separation in order to destroy the Palestinian national project embodied in the creation of the independent and sovereign Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital."

Erekat added that Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, spoke with his Egyptian counterpart Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, who confirmed his strong support for the comprehensive and gradual implementation of the December 2017 reconciliation agreement between the PA and the Hamas movement, the de facto leading party in Gaza.

He questioned why would Hamas refuse to implement this agreement and why would it insist on the separation while pursuing a truce with Israel.

Erekat stressed that "Hamas thinks now that its highest goal is preserving itself and the de facto rule it has imposed in Gaza."

"No one is seeking to isolate Hamas," Erekat added that "the Gaza Strip cannot be an independent entity and no Palestinian state can exist without Gaza."

Erekat explained that Israel and the US Trump administration are "practicing blackmail and bullying against the Palestinians," noting that the "US cut over $844 million from the Palestinians in 2018, including $304 million from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), $230 million in USAID assistance, $175 million in additional aid and $90 million that were directed to the Palestinian civil society."

Erekat reiterated that "Peace will not be at any price, not a single penny will be cut from the allocations of the prisoners and wounded and that there will be no peace without East Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Palestine."

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