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Saeb Erekat demonizes Israel with lies about Israeli terror, ethnic cleansing and the destruction of Christianity and Islam in Israel

Excerpt of an op-ed by PLO Executive Committee Secretary Saeb Erekat 

Headline: “The Arab options between Al-Faluja and Kiryat Gat” 

 

“One wonders, what is the UAE’s interest in taking a step such as this (refers to Israel-UAE peace agreement; see note below –Ed.)? Especially in light of the fact that Israel’s leaders are not hiding their aspirations to take control of the Arab resources through so-called ‘normalization.’ Their position regarding the question of selling advanced American weapons to the UAE indicates that what they [Israel] truly wants is to take control of the region, control its resources, and expand their influence beyond the borders of Palestine to the wider Arab region. 

Therefore, when the Palestinian people demands to implement the Arab Summit conference decisions, it is not only defending its rights and cause, but also the interests and future of the Arab nation, and it is defending it against the Israeli aspirations of expansion. We are defending Jerusalem because Jerusalem is the eternal capital of Palestine, but also because it is the treasure house of the holy sites for  Arabs and Muslims, the first of the two directions for [Muslim] prayer, and the third holiest site [in Islam]. The American lie, according to which the normalization agreement will open the door to Muslims for prayer in Jerusalem, is exposed by the statements of [Senior US Presidential Advisor Jared] Kushner, which support the malicious Israeli plan to change the legal and historical status quo, to divide the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque according to times and areas, and to Judaize it on the pretext that all  religions have the freedom to worship there (sic., PMW found no records of such a statement by Kushner; for the apparent source of the misquote see note below), as has happened and is still happening at the Ibrahimi Mosque (i.e., Cave of the Patriarchs). 

This is part of the frantic escalation of the Israeli assault, whose goal is to Judaize the Old City [of Jerusalem], erase its Arab, Islamic, and Christian identity, and negate the Palestinian presence within it, as the government of [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu is not making do with leaving the annexation plan on its agenda, but rather is also continuing to work intensely to execute it by determining facts of expansion on the ground. It is specifically targeting the area of Jerusalem… by building thousands of settler housing units in the ‘Greater Jerusalem’ area, and especially in the E1 settlement project (i.e., refers to a strategic area east of Jerusalem), which is a candidate for official annexation and the application of Israeli sovereignty to it, even before other areas, which will eliminate any chance of establishing an independent and sovereign Palestinian state. This is in addition to the expropriation of land; incessant excavations in order to undermine the foundations of the Al-Aqsa Mosque (sic., Israel does not carry out excavations under the Temple Mount); forcing [Jerusalem’s Arab residents] to emigrate; demolishing [homes] and forcing Jerusalem[’s Arab] residents to demolish their homes with their own hands; removing residents from the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the city; summoning [for interrogation] and arresting state and religious figures, such as sheikhs and priests; incessant attacks against the sites that are holy to Islam and Christianity and against the education and health sectors; harming the residents’ property and seizing it, in conjunction with increasing the terror attacks by the settlers and intimidating peaceful Palestinian residents… 

We do not want  our Arab brothers to support that which is beyond their ability. We only want them to adhere to the [Arab Peace] Initiative, to which they unanimously agreed, and to implement the decisions that were made at the Arab Summit conferences throughout history, including the decisions regarding the financial security net for the State of Palestine. Since the beginning of 2020, the Palestinian people’s economic and humanitarian situation has been  deteriorating and worsening, especially in the Gaza Strip… 

This is at a time when most of the Arab states have stopped paying the money that they promised to pay in order to support the Palestinian budget… and in the shadow of a financial situation that is out of our control, in which Israel is implementing cheap blackmail regarding tax money (refers to Israel’s Anti “Pay-for-Slay” Law to deduct PA terrorist salaries; see note below –Ed.), and states – and foremost among them the US – have stopped their aid to UNRWA (UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East; see note below –Ed.)… 

We emphasize to Netanyahu that the Arab people will not allow normalization. Likewise, there is no force on earth that can convince the Palestinian people that it is wrong when it insists on holding on and continuing to struggle for their  rights: self-determination, independence, freedom, and the return of the refugees… 

It personally pained me to see the Israeli plane landing at the airport in Abu Dhabi [on Aug. 31, 2020], when alongside the false slogan about peace, the settler and colonialist name ‘Kiryat Gat’ appeared on it (refers to El-Al plane carrying an Israeli and American delegation; the word “Peace” was painted on the plane in Arabic, English, and Hebrew, as was the name “Kiryat Gat” in English, after the Israeli city east of Ashkelon after which the plane was named –Ed.). Kiryat Gat is a settlement that was established on the ruins of Iraq Al-Manshiyya and Al-Faluja (i.e., two Palestinian villages abandoned in the 1948 war after the Egyptian army withdrew from them according to the 1949 Armistice Agreement)… 

It pained me, because I, like all the Palestinian refugee members of my people, experience to this very day the tragedy of the Nakba (i.e., “the catastrophe,” the Palestinian term for the establishment of the State of Israel) and its political and humanitarian consequences. I say to you clearly: You will not find one Palestinian who will relinquish these fundamental rights – self-determination, independence, and [the right of] return.” 

Saeb Erekat also serves as Fatah Central Committee member and PLO Chief Negotiator

Israel-UAE peace agreement (Abraham Accords) – an agreement normalizing diplomatic ties between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which was announced on Aug. 13, 2020, under the mediation of US President Donald Trump. Pursuant to the agreement, the countries will discuss bilateral cooperation on a number of topics. In exchange for the agreement, Israel agreed to suspend its previously announced plans to apply Israel's civilian law to parts of Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley as per the Trump peace plan. The US announced that “Muslims throughout the world who wish to come in peace to pray at the Al Aqsa Mosque, will now be able to fly to Tel Aviv through Abu Dhabi to do so and will be welcomed.”

"Division according to areas and times" refers to a proposed law (May 2013) being reviewed in Israeli Parliament that would allow for both Jews and Muslims to pray on the Temple Mount, what the Palestinians call the Al-Aqsa Mosque plaza. The law seeks to designate separate prayer times and areas of the site for Muslims and Jews. However, Israeli PM Netanyahu has stated on many occasions that the Israeli government has no intention of ‎changing the status quo on the Temple Mount, which means Jews are allowed to enter the Temple Mount, but cannot pray there or engage in any type of worship.

Excavations under the Temple Mount - The Israeli daily Haaretz has stated that the excavations do not reach beneath the mosque: "Despite complaints from the Islamic Movement and Palestinian groups, not a single dig penetrates beneath the [Temple] Mount." [Haaretz, May 24, 2016]

Israel's Anti "Pay-for-Slay" Law - Israeli law stating that the PA payments to terrorists and the families of dead terrorists is a financial incentive to terror. The law instructs the state to deduct and freeze the amount of money the PA pays in salaries to imprisoned terrorists and families of "Martyrs" from the tax money Israel collects for the PA. Should the PA stop these payments for a full year, the Israeli government would have the option of giving all or part of the frozen money to the PA. The law was enacted by the Israeli Parliament on July 2, 2018, and its first implementation was approved by Israel's Security Cabinet on Feb. 17, 2019, when it decided to withhold 502,697,000 Israeli shekels (approximately $138 million) from the PA. In response, the PA announced it would not accept any of the tax money collected by Israel unless it also included the frozen amount. During the initial parliamentary vote in 2018, the law's sponsor Avi Dichter said: “The Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee received much help in its deliberations... from Palestinian Media Watch who provided us with authentic data that enabled productive and professional deliberations, nuances that are very difficult to achieve without precise data.” [Israeli Parliament website, July 2, 2018]