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Palestinians should resist Israeli threat: Arab League
Wednesday, April 14, 2010 11:50:26 AM, Agencies
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Cairo: The 22-member Arab League called on the Palestinians on Tuesday to refuse to heed amended orders from the Israeli military that could trigger deportations from the occupied West Bank.
The pan-Arab organization pledged its “full support for Palestinian steps in the occupied territories to resist this decision.” Its statement called on Palestinians “to reject and not cooperate and acquiesce in it.”
It mandated the Arab bloc at the UN General Assembly to set up an emergency session on the mounting dispute. Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said on the sidelines of a donors’ meeting in Madrid that the potential expulsion threat was “in every way illegal.”
An Israeli newspaper said amendments to an existing order on preventing infiltration could apply to Palestinians living in the West Bank without official ID cards issued by Israel, as well as to Israelis and foreigners working in areas under limited Palestinian control.
The Israeli military insisted that the new orders merely formalize existing procedures and said there would be no new wave of deportations.
Meanwhile, Palestinian protests, backed by the Arab League, escalated on Tuesday against the Israeli threat.
The Palestinians’ chief negotiator Saeb Erekat said the effect of Israel’s new military orders would be to turn West Bank Palestinians into “criminals in their own homes.”
Hundreds of Palestinians, meanwhile, held a sit-in. “Smash Israeli apartheid, free Palestine,” chanted more than 200 demonstrators in the center of the West Bank city of Ramallah, political capital of the Palestinian Authority.
Erekat argued that the new orders make it infinitely easier for Israel to imprison and expel Palestinians from the West Bank.
The orders define an “infiltrator” in a way that could describe anyone in the West Bank who “does not hold a permit.”
The vast majority of Palestinians have never been required to hold an Israeli permit to reside in the West Bank. The amendments were signed on October 13, 2009 and came into effect on Tuesday, but they were not publicized by military authorities and only revealed by human rights groups in the past days.
They are “worded so broadly, such as theoretically allowing the military to empty the West Bank of almost all its Palestinian inhabitants,” seven Israeli human rights group said in a joint statement.
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