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Palestinian PM Warns Against Turning Ukrainian Refugees Into New Settlers

Palestinian PM Warns Against Turning Ukrainian Refugees Into New Settlers

Tuesday, 22 March, 2022 - 09:00
Israeli soldiers fire tear gas at Palestinian demonstrators against settlements Dajan near Nablus (EPA)

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh warned against promoting Israeli settlements in the West Bank with Ukrainian Jews.

Speaking at the weekly cabinet meeting, Shtayyeh said Israel exploited the Ukraine crisis to transfer Ukrainian refugees into new settlers in Palestine.

Shtayyeh was commenting on reports about the arrival of Ukrainians to settlements in the West Bank.

In the past few weeks, Ukrainian families who fled the war have resided in settlements in the West Bank, including Yitzhar, a stronghold for extremists who usually attack Palestinians and their property.

Since the beginning of the Ukraine war, Israel welcomed refugees, and the head of the Regional Council of Settlements in the northern West Bank, Yossi Dagan, said that the council "opens doors and hearts for Ukrainian Jews."

Shtayyeh called for ending international double standards in dealing with the situation in Ukraine and Palestine.

He said: "Israel, the power occupying our land, stealing our capabilities, killing, arresting and intimidating our people, is not qualified to talk about peace in the world while it occupies our land by force."

The PM touched on other Israeli violations on Palestinian land and strongly criticized Israeli restrictions on Palestinian travel.

In 2021, Israeli forces banned over 10,000 Palestinians from traveling under arbitrary measures, which Shtayyeh condemned, saying it is a "collective punishment" pursued by the Israeli authorities against Palestinians.

He urged the international community to help end Israeli violations, calling on the EU and the UN to intervene to stop the conditions imposed on the entry of international scholars to Palestinian universities.

Shtayyeh welcomed the US State Department's support for the two-state solution and the US administration's decision to allocate new aid to the Palestinian people.

He stressed that the political track is the base, noting that economic peace without a political cover will yield results and solve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, stressing that US statements need to be linked with actions.

The premier also addressed the elections, saying that Palestinians will elect on Mar 26 their municipal councils in a crucial democratic event that reflects the voters' aim to exercise their rights.

He asserted the government's support to Palestinian prisoners in their protest against the Israeli Prison Service, saying: "We fully support them to achieve their just demands, and we hold the occupation government fully responsible for any escalation against them."

Addressing the issue of Jericho, Shtayyeh affirmed that the government was following up on the recent attacks and citizens' lands and formed a special committee headed by the Minister of Interior and the competent authorities.

He asserted that no one is above the law.

Shtayyeh was implicitly responding to statements of member of Fatah Central Committee Major General Tawfiq al-Tirawi who strongly criticized the PM for meeting several businessmen allegedly accused of seizing thousands of dunams of the land with false allegations and illegal documents.

Shtayyeh had vowed to take all necessary measures to facilitate investment in Jericho through a specialized ministerial committee.

Tirawi responded, saying he had informed Shtayyeh and President Mahmoud Abbas of the corrupt business of some of these people.

He recalled that the President asked the PM to form an inquiry committee, which the latter disregarded.

He urged Shtayyeh to stop honoring the corrupt, noting, "you do not represent me, and you do not represent (Fatah) in the government.

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