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Palestinians Protest Tel Aviv's Settlements

By Brian Taylor, The Militant,
Vol.60/No.46, 23 December 1996

In a provocative move, an Israeli planning commission announced December 10 that it had approved the construction of a housing development for Jews in Ras el- Amud, a Palestinian neighborhood in East Jerusalem. This is a clear invitation to conflict, friction, and violence, and it is entirely irresponsible, declared Hanan Ashrawi, the Palestinian minister of higher education and a representative of Jerusalem in the Palestinian legislative council.

The regime of President Benjamin Netanyahu has stepped up the expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank as well, where the Palestine Authority has limited control. In mid-November, Israeli defense minister Yitzhak Mordechai approved the construction of 1,100 new housing units for Israeli settlers in Immanuel, eight miles southwest of the Palestinian city of Nablus.

Talks have deadlocked over the withdrawal of Israeli troops from Hebron, West Bank. Under the accords between Tel Aviv and the Palestine Liberation Organization, Israeli forces were supposed to have pulled out of that city last March. Now Netanyahu is insisting that the Israeli Army have the right to re-enter Palestinian- controlled areas of Hebron at will.

Reflecting the resistance mounting in that region, 300 Palestinian students occupied Hebron University December 9, saying they would not leave until it was reopened. The Israeli government shut the school down in March as part of a crackdown against Palestian resistance. We're not terrorists, said Issa Jaradat, We didn't kill Yitzhak Rabin, Yigal Amir [an Israeli rightist] did, but they didn't shut down Bar-Illan University, where Amir attended. Students held strong while Israeli armed soldiers surrounded the campus. After over seven hours, Tel Aviv agreed to reopen a Polytechnical College, while entering talks with the students on reopening Hebron University.