PLO Urges Arab-Israelis To Unite With Palestinians
A Palestinian protester waves a knife and his national flag during a West Bank demonstration (Photo: Mahmud Hams/AFP/Getty Images)

PLO Urges Arab-Israelis To Unite With Palestinians

Palestinian leaders call on Arab citizens of Israel to protest against President Trump’s Jerusalem declaration

The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) is urging Arab-Israelis to march in their villages, cities and at nearest checkpoints against the Trump administration’s positions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The PLO issued the call to action in a press release urging a united Palestinian voice against the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital; the rumored rejection by the White House of Palestinian refugees’ right to return to Israel as part of any future peace deal; and the cut-off of American aid for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency.

There will also be concurrent events at Al-Najah University in the West Bank city of Nablus, in the Gaza Strip and Lebanon. At the same time, the PLO declared this coming Friday a major “day of rage” in the Palestinian territories and regional Arab and Islamic capitals.

Speaking to the Media Line, Muwafaq Suhwail, a Fatah official in Ramallah, explained that the invitation to the “Palestinians who live in Israel” to protest comes within the context not only of U.S. President Donald Trump’s Jerusalem declaration but also Vice President Mike Pence’s recent visit to Israel.

“The latter gave Israel the green light to keep moving forward in violating the international resolutions,” Suhwail said. “Palestinians inside Israel and the West Bank side-by-side must boost the popular resistance against the unfair.”

Suhwail urged the international community to take responsibility for the Palestinian people and their rights in addition to denouncing the White House, which “threw the international laws against the wall.” In this respect, he contended that the United States had effectively sided with Israel, a move that means “there will be no return to negotiations, unless through the resolutions of international legitimacy.”

Eran Singer, an Israeli political analyst believes the Palestinian leadership’s call for civil unrest in Israel would only serve the Israeli government’s agenda. “Inciting to violence will only prove the Israeli point of view,” he explained to The Media Line, adding it will not benefit the Palestinians as Israel has made clear the only way to achieve peace is through negotiations.

“The Arabs in Israel are citizens. Their lives and interests are in Israel,” Singer asserted, while noting that “even if they [Arab-Israelis] protest, at the end of the day, they will go back to their houses in Israel and sleep right next to their Jewish neighbors.

“Up until today we have seen Arabs peacefully protest in Israel,” Singer continued, “because they refuse to be a tool in the hand of Ramallah and create violence in the country.”

Earlier this month, the Palestinian Central Council, a high-ranking arm of the PLO, voted to suspend recognition of Israel. The order remains valid unless Israel “recognizes the state of Palestine,” cancels its annexation of east Jerusalem and stops building homes in Jewish communities across the 1967 borders.

In 2015, the council voted to cancel the security coordination with Israel, but it was never implemented.

The latest move came after Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas called President Trump’s peace efforts the “slap of the century.”

The Joint List, a coalition of Arab-Israeli parties, staged a walkout of Pence’s speech at the Israeli parliament last week. In a statement, it claimed that the “U.S. was never a fair moderator in the Middle East, and became a supporter of the Israeli right-wing and [Jewish] settlers [who live in the West Bank].”

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