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15.01.2021 14:42 News >> 'Israeli Curbs On Peaceful Protests Cause Of Concern'

'Israeli Curbs On Peaceful Protests Cause Of Concern'

Palestine officials, activists say Tel Aviv is silencing peaceful Palestinian voices to turn away international attention.

Palestinian officials and activists have alleged that Israel is suppressing peaceful protests by arresting and charging participants.
Over time, weekly anti-settlement rallies in several villages and towns across the West Bank are ending in brutal response from the Israeli army.
On Jan. 6, an Israeli military court charged Issa Amr, a Hebron-based Palestinian anti-settlement activist on six counts including participation in demonstrations.
Last week, at least seven Palestinians were injured and dozens of others suffered suffocation in the occupied West Bank as the Israeli army used rubber bullets and tear gas shells to disperse protesters, eyewitnesses said.
Amr, who is also the founder of the Youth Association Against Settlements believes that Israel's violent suppression of protests is a "real attack on the popular resistance".
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Amr described the court charges filed against him as "the beginning of a condemnation of all peaceful action in Palestine".
"The occupation does not want any kind of resistance, and that is why it pursues activists and increases the cost of working against the occupation," he said, adding that Israel's increased crackdown on peaceful protests is aimed at preventing them from attracting the attention of the international community.
Amr believes that Israel is concerned that the international community will be more supportive of the anti-settlement protests after the end of US President Donald Trump's term which explains Tel Aviv's keenness "to silence all voices that address the international community".
On Jan. 5, Amnesty International released a statement urging Israel's Military Court in Ofer located in the occupied West Bank to drop "politically motivated charges" against Issa Amr "for his peaceful activism against Israel's military occupation and illegal settlements".
"The Israeli authorities must end their campaign of persecution against Palestinian activist Issa Amro, who is a prominent voice highlighting discrimination and systematic human rights violations against Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), particularly in Hebron," the statement said.
-Human rights groups raise a concern
The human rights organization also urged the Israeli authorities to end their systematic attacks against Palestinian activists who speak up and peacefully against Israel's long-standing military occupation. They described the Israeli crackdown as an assault on the right to freedom of expression.
The general secretaries of the Palestinian factions agreed in September last year to form a unified national leadership of popular resistance to steering a more comprehensive popular resistance with the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) providing all the support needed until national independence is achieved.
Wasel Abu Yousef, member of the PLO's Executive Committee and Secretary-General of the Palestine Liberation Front, told Anadolu Agency the escalation of the occupation campaign is linked to the widening of confrontations between protesters and the Israeli occupation.
"There is an increase in villages that witness popular resistance which is no longer limited to Fridays leading to a higher number of confrontations in multiple places across the week," he said.
He noted that, at 15 sites, the Israeli army is resorting to arbitrary arrests and other forms of suppression to curb the spread of peaceful protest.
Every week, Palestinians organize anti-settlement rallies in several villages and towns across the West Bank. More than 650,000 Jewish settlers currently live in more than 164 illegal settlements and 116 outposts in the occupied West Bank.
International law views both the West Bank and East Jerusalem as "occupied territories" and considers all Jewish settlement-building activities there as illegal.
According to Israeli Peace Now -- a rights group that advocates for peace -- illegal construction of settlements has quadrupled during the Trump era.
UN General Assembly Resolution 2649 of 1970 explicitly "affirms the legitimacy of the struggle of peoples under colonial and alien domination recognized as entitled to the right of self-determination to restore to themselves that right by any means at their disposal".
*Ibrahim Mukhtar contributed to this report from Ankara -



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