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Hamas rejects UAE claim of ‘israeli’ halt to annexation plan

The Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, has strongly rejected a senior UAE official's claim that Israel had stopped settlement annexation following a full normalization of diplomatic relations between Tel Aviv and two Arab sides.

Hamas spokesman Hazem Qasem, in a statement, said the constant expansion of the Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank has exposed the false claims of the Arab states.

These [UAE] claims [that normalization with Israel has stopped settlement construction] are meant to mislead the Arab public opinion and to cover up the normalization crime, he said. 

UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan had claimed his country’s deal with Israel forced Tel Aviv to scrap its annexation plan.

Pinpointing to recent reports by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the Hamas spokesman said Israel has demolished more than 506 Palestinian buildings in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem al-Quds since the beginning of this year.

The OCHA has said there has been a sharp increase in the number of Palestinian houses being demolished by Israel in the occupied West Bank during the coronavirus pandemic.

Israel approved the construction of hundreds of settler units in the occupied West Bank after Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu returned from Washington following the signing of normalization agreements. 

Last month, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain signed deals with the US mediation to normalize relations with Israel.

Palestinians, who seek an independent state in the occupied West Bank and Gaza with East Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital, view the deals as betrayal of their cause.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has also protested the normalization deals with Israel, saying they will be fruitless as long as the United States and the Israeli regime do not recognize the rights of the Palestinian nation and refuse to resolve the issue of Palestinian refugees.

More than 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds.

Emboldened by Trump, Israel has stepped up its settlement construction activities in defiance of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334, which pronounced settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds “a flagrant violation under international law.”

Palestinian leaders, who severed all ties with Washington in late 2017 after US President Donald Trump controversially recognized Jerusalem al-Quds as the “capital” of the Israeli regime, immediately rejected the plan, with President Abbas saying it “belongs to the dustbin of history.”

Israeli forces shoot Palestinian teenager 

Israeli forces on Wednesday critically injured a 16-year-old Palestinian when they opened fired at a group of local residents in the town of Surif, northwest of al-Khalil (Hebron).

The child was rushed to Ahli Hospital in the area and was being treated for gunshot wounds.  

Separately, Israeli troops stormed an area in Beit Ummar town near the settlement of Karmei Tzur and clashed with Palestinian youths.

The Israeli forces fired tear gas canisters during the clashes, leaving dozens of citizens exposed to fumes and suffocation inside their homes. 

Opening fatal fire on Palestinians is not uncommon among Israeli forces. The shooting takes place on accusation that the targets attempt stabbing attacks.

Human rights groups have repeatedly criticized Tel Aviv for its shoot-to-kill policy as a large number of the Palestinians killed at the scene of the alleged attacks did not pose serious threats to Israelis.

Israeli troops have on numerous occasions been caught on camera brutally killing Palestinians, with the videos going viral online and sparking international condemnation.

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