09:04 GMT +308 December 2019
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    Palestinians and foreigners march towards Israel's controversial separation wall between the West Bank village of Bilin near Ramallah and the Israeli settlement of Modiin Ilit during a demonstration against settlements in the area, on February 17, 2017

    ‘A Day of Rage’: Palestinians to Protest US Decision on Israeli Settlements

    © AFP 2019 / ABBAS MOMANI
    Middle East
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    Palestinians across the West Bank and Gaza Strip will gather Tuesday to protest the US’ recent announcement that it will no longer consider Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem as violating international law, a Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) official announced Monday.

    Last week, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared that “the establishment of Israeli civilian settlements in the West Bank is not per se inconsistent with international law.” The declaration was met with censure from the international community. Both the United Nations and the EU consider Israeli settlements on Palestinian land a blatant violation of international law.

    According to UN Security Council resolution 2334, “Israel’s establishment of settlements in Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, had no legal validity, constituting a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the vision of two States living side-by-side in peace and security, within internationally recognized borders.”

    In addition, Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 reads: “The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies."

    Israel claims that it is not violating the Fourth Geneva Convention because the West Bank is not occupied but rather disputed territory.

    “We declared a day of rage to reject this statement by the American secretary of state,” PLO Executive Committee member Wasel Abu Yousef told AP. “We totally condemn this American effort to legitimize the settlements.”

    Abu Yousef also told AP that the protests will also condemn Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s vow in September to annex parts of the occupied West Bank if he remains in power. In addition, Abu Yousef noted that large numbers of Palestinians are expected to participate in the protest.

    “We expect a very significant turnout,” he said

    Protesters will move through the city centers starting late Tuesday morning. In addition, speeches will be given by leaders of Palestinian factions. According to Abu Yousef, the protesters are not planning to go to “friction points” with Iraeli security forces, which usually end up killing and injuring many young Palestinians.

    However, Palestinian activist Isam Bakr implied that protesters may go to the so-called “friction points.” 

    “There are voices calling on people to go to the friction points, so it is possible people could go there,” Bakr told AP. “They will go where they need to go to protest this illegal American decision.”

    In a statement Sunday, the Palestinian Authority Education Ministry announced that schools will be closed between 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Tuesday so that students can participate in the protests.


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