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Palestinian officials warn Israeli occupation ‘no longer tolerable’ as US signs multi-billion deal with Tel Aviv

PALESTINIAN officials sent a warning to the United States, the European Union and other Western countries on Saturday, saying that the continued occupation of Palestinian land by Israel was no longer tolerable.

Fatah deputy chairman Mahmoud Aloul condemned the increased number of “martyrs and wounded as a result of the intensification of the Israeli occupier and settler attacks on our people, and on the funerals and mourners.”

He said Israel had committed criminal acts, highlighting the escalation of hostilities in occupied East Jerusalem and the siege of Silwan and Sheikh Jarrar neighbourhoods.

These districts have been targeted by Israeli authorities in an ethnic-cleansing operation, though attempts at the forced removal of Palestinian families from their homes has met with determined resistance and global condemnation.

On Saturday, a Palestinian protester was injured by rubber-coated steel bullets fired by Israeli forces in the Tubas district of the occupied West Bank. 

The demonstration had been called in opposition to Israel’s illegal settlement expansion and plans to annex parts of the Jordan Valley.

Mr Aloul said that protests would increase in these areas, despite the occupying forces’ attempts to suppress them, warning that the Palestinian leadership “cannot any more tolerate these acts.”

Israel has the continued backing of the US in its oppression of the Palestinian people, as was underlined by the latest sale of military hardware to Tel Aviv on Friday: a $3.4 billion (£2.5bn) deal for 18 helicopters made by Lockheed Martin.

Hawkish US Secretary of State Antony Blinken reiterated Washington’s steadfast support in a message welcoming the deal.

“The United States is committed to the security of Israel, and it is vital to US national interests to assist Israel to develop and maintain a string and ready self-defence capacity,” he said.

The deal, enabling the Israeli forces to transport armoured vehicles and military personnel, also includes navigation systems, communication equipment and machine guns, along with technical and military support.

The deal will trigger a congressional review, but is unlikely to be blocked. It comes soon after Washington sold $743 million (£534m) of precision-guided weapons to Israel, details of which became publicly known during the 11-day bombing of Gaza.

More than 250 Palestinians were killed during that onslaught, 66 of them children. 

Last week the US-based non-governmental organisation Human Rights Watch, usually an ardent supporter of Washington foreign policy, said in a report that Israel “apparently” committed war crimes during its attack on Gaza.

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