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PM Hamdallah briefs EU diplomats on latest political developments

Nov. 2, 2018 12:17 P.M. (Updated: Nov. 2, 2018 4:31 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Palestinian Prime Minister, Rami Hamdallah, briefed European Union (EU) diplomats, on Thursday, on the latest political developments, including the decisions of the Palestinian Central Council (PCC), which met in the central occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, and decided to sever ties with Israel for failing to implement the signed agreements.

Hamdallah briefed the EU diplomats on several issues, starting with the Palestinian government's measures towards the besieged Gaza Strip, especially in terms of its commitment to provide services and spending of $96 million per month on Gaza and continued efforts to achieve reconciliation and end the division.

Hamdallah also briefed them on the ongoing Israeli violations against the Palestinian people and settlement expansion in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, the last of which was the approval of the construction of thousands of illegal Israeli settlement units in the Maale Adumim settlement and the construction of new housing units in the center of the southern West Bank city of Hebron, in addition to its measures against Khan al-Ahmar, in attempt to displace its resident.

He called on the EU to immediately intervene to stop these violations, through which "Israel seeks to undermine the two-state solution and chances of peace."

He also called on the EU member states to support projects in "Area C" of the occupied West Bank and pressure Israel to enable Palestinians to invest in these areas, in order to enhance the Palestinian economy.

The 1995 Oslo Accords between the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and Israeli authorities divided the West Bank into Area A, B, and C. Area A, comprising the populated Palestinian cities and making up 18 percent of the West Bank, would be controlled by the newly formed PA, while Area B remained under Israeli army control with the PA controlling civil affairs.

Area C, the majority of the West Bank, however, was placed under full Israeli military control and contains the majority of natural resources and open spaces in the Palestinian territory.

The Israeli-controlled land was expected to be gradually transferred to the PA over a five-year period, according to the Oslo agreements. Yet, two decades later, the land has remained under Israeli control.

Area C, along with East Jerusalem, has been the site of rapid Israeli settlement expansions in contravention of international law, while Israel’s separation wall has further divided Palestinian communities and has restricted Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza from even visiting what was intended to be their capital.

Hamdallah discussed the efforts and achievements of the Palestinian government despite the suffocating financial crisis it is facing due to the decline in foreign aid by 71%, in addition to the efforts of the government to provide the necessary support for hospitals in East Jerusalem, especially after the United States Trump administration's decision to stop providing financial aid to these hospitals.

He called on the EU to support hospitals in East Jerusalem and to pressure Israel to reverse its decision to deduct the financial allocations to the Palestinian government pays for families of prisoners and those killed by Israel from the Palestinian tax funds.

Hamdallah renewed his demand that the European Union recognize Palestine as a practical step to save the two-state solution, praising the European support for the Palestinians at all levels and praising the European Parliament's vote against the proposal to cut European aid to the education sector in Palestine in addition to providing €22 million in aid to UNRWA.

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