Ramallah – The Palestinian Fatah movement condemned on Saturday the Israeli authorities’ granting of Israeli settlers administrative power to manage their own affairs in the al-Khalil area in the southern West Bank.
Spokesman for Fatah’s Shura council Oussam al-Qawasimi said described during a press conference Israel’s decision as “very dangerous.”
“This is a violation of all international agreements and an application of a discriminatory system,” he declared.
He said that the measure is aimed at separating al-Khalil city from its old town in an attempt to “Judaize” the old town.
He therefore demanded immediate and urgent official, popular, legal and diplomatic action against this move, “which paves the way for a real catastrophe against al-Khalil city, its residents and history,” reported the German Press Agency (dpa).
Qawasimi also urged the international community to “act immediately to thwart the discriminatory and destructive measures that violate international law and agreements.”
Some 800 settlers alongside 250,000 Palestinians reside in al-Khalil. Israeli authorities granted the settlers the rights to manage their municipal affairs.
The Israeli army explained in a statement that the settlers were managing their daily affairs through a local council that did not have legal status.
Through the latest decree, the settlers will be able to form a council that represents the Jewish settler quarter in al-Khalil.
International law bars settlement building in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
A Palestinian official deemed the latest Israeli measure as the “most dangerous one since 1967.”
Al-Khalil governor Kamil Hamid said that the procedure paves the way for establishing Israeli sovereignty in the area, which will ultimately hinder any settlement in the region.
“This violates everything that the peace process stands for and attempts to establish a Palestinian state,” he added.
He warned that the new power granted to the settlers will destabilize all districts in Palestinian territories.