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The New Arab

Hebron Palestinians hold strike to protest Israeli settlement expansion

Israel has occupied the West Bank since 1967 [Getty]

Date of publication: 9 December, 2019

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A general strike is taking place in Hebron to protest Israel's illegal settlement expansion.
Palestinians in the occupied city of Hebron are staging a general strike to protest Israeli plans to expand illegal settlements in the city.

Israel is planning to create a large settlement bloc in the old town of Hebron where a number of Israeli settlers have already occupied buildings. The planned bloc will be placed in Hebron’s wholesale market in the old section of the city.

The move caused anger amongst Palestinians who have protest against the settlement expansion, along with Israel's targeting of Hebron's infamous Ibrahimi Mosque.

Palestian President Mahmoud Abbas, whose presidency expired in 2009, called on a general strike in the occupied city.

Read also: Israel's Netanyahu pushes Jordan Valley, West Bank settlements annexation plan as third election looms

Despite his visible anger at the Israeli expansion, critics of Abbas say he is doing little to end the Israeli occupation beyond his rhetoric despite more than 25 years of peace talks between Israeli and Palestinian factions.

His silencing of critics of the Palestinian Authority has been widely condemned as a form of prioritising his political power over respect for political plurality – a move that compromises Palestinian unity to the benefit of Israel.

Half-a-century of illegal occupation

Israel has occupied the West Bank illegally since 1967, and commits various abuses against Palestinian civilians, human rights groups say.

More than 600,000 Israeli Jews live in settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, in constructions considered illegal under international law.

The Oslo agreement of 1995 divided the occupied West Bank into three: Area A, Area B and Area C.

Area A is under the administrative and security control of the Palestinian Authority (PA). Area B's administration is controlled by the Palestinian Authority, with Israel controlling security. Area C is under full administrative and security control of Israel.

Along with stealing land, Israeli soldiers and settlers routinely harass Palestinians in the occupied territories in various ways.

Israeli forces and settlers routinely harass Palestinians in the occupied territories through harming and killing civilians, demolishing homes, poisoning livestock, vandalising property and other forms of violence.

Israel often forces Palestinians to demolish their own homes under the pretext of not having a building permits.

Applications for building permits often take years to be processed, giving Israeli courts a loophole to increase Palestinian home demolitions by branding structures as "illegal".

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