Assaf: Israel is conducting an organized campaign of displacement of Palestinians in the West Bank in favor of settlement expansion

Israel is launching an organized campaign of displacement of Palestinians in the West Bank in favor of settlement expansion, the head of the Palestinian Authority's Wall and Settlement Authority said on Sunday. "Israel is carrying out an organized campaign to expel the Palestinians in the West Bank and control large areas of them, to divide them into cantons and to form the settlement blocs," Assaf told the official Voice of Palestine radio. Assaf said that what was happening in Bethlehem in the south of the West Bank was "an attempt to falsify documents and agencies to force the settlers into Palestinian land to link the Gush Etzion bloc with West Jerusalem." He added that "intensive demolitions are taking place in the villages of Bethlehem (Walaja, Shoshla and Khallet al-Nahla) in order to empty the land in favor of expanding the settlements, considering what is happening is not spontaneous actions, but deliberate and planned steps." "The same plan is going on in the northern West Bank to link the settlements surrounding a single settlement bloc to completely encircle the city of Nablus and divide the cities from each other to divide the north into more than 6 cantons," Assaf said. He pointed out that there is a "consistency between the settlers' almost daily attacks on agricultural land and farmers in the West Bank and the political escalation carried out by the Israeli government with the support of the American administration." Assaf stressed the need to support the Palestinians in "confronting the gangs of settlers by activating the PRC and guard committees and forming joint committees in the villages that are under attack, calling on the Palestinians to solidarity with each other in the face of the settlement threat." He called on the Palestinian government to strengthen agricultural projects in the targeted areas and to open agricultural roads between the settlements built on Palestinian land to enhance farmers' access to their land and prevent settlers from controlling them. Assaf announced the organization of several popular events on Tuesday "in response to what the Israeli authorities are planning to try to uproot thousands of olive trees in the areas of Seir and to divide between Bethlehem and Hebron under the pretext of security." The settlement is the most important file of the dispute between the Palestinians and Israel in light of the stalled peace negotiations between them since the end of March 2014 after nine months of talks sponsored by the United States without progress.

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