Palestinians accuse Israel of using US Mideast policy to speed up settlement

Posted January 12, 2018

U.S. President Donald Trump announced December 6 the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and the transfer of his country's embassy to it, which stirred angry Palestinian, Arab and global reactions.

Around 400,000 Israeli settlers live in the West Bank among some 2.6 million Palestinians.

This is a developing story.

It was unclear whether the gun attack on the Israeli or Thursday's shooting death of the Palestinian near Nablus were related to Trump's declaration.

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On Tuesday, the Israeli Ministry of Defence said the Palestinian Authority had paid out 1.2 billion shekels ($350 million) previous year in such payments. "Hamas praises the killers and PA [Palestinian Authority] laws will provide them financial rewards", Friedman wrote on his Twitter account.

It occurred as Israeli forces continue to search the area around Nablus after Israeli rabbi Raziel Shevah was shot dead near the city on Tuesday by unknown assailants.

Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett tweeted that the terrorists that killed Raziel "knew how much money they would receive for the murder".

WAFA reported, according to Ma'an, that while speaking to the Voice of Palestine Radio, Maliki said that Israel's announcement of its plans to build 1285 new settlement units in the West Bank was "one outcome of US President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital".

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In the first direct US reaction to the operation, US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman attacked the Palestinian Authority and appeared to be holding it responsible for the killing of the settler, by accusing it of encouraging such operations by "paying salaries to Palestinian prisoners and their families".

The Israeli military set up roadblocks, cordoned off Palestinian villages and deployed reinforcements to the West Bank on Wednesday, a day after an Israeli settler was killed in a drive-by shooting by suspected Palestinian gunmen.

Furthermore the hypocrisy of the Israeli government and its lobby groups who talk of "mediating and talking" when they ban and blacklist peaceful human rights organisations has been exposed.

The Palestinians also see them as symbolically important after decades of yearning for elusive statehood and struggle against Israel's occupation. Those who committed more severe crimes and are sentenced to 20 or more years in prison are paid five times that every month for the rest of their lives.

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