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Palestinians Blast West Bank Clear-Out

Israel’s plan to evict Palestinians from their West Bank homes to make way for army training zones aims at “evacuating the Palestinians from their land,” Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said Wednesday.

“There is no other explanation,” he insisted, while visiting a partially demolished mosque in Mufaqara, where some 1,500 people live without running water or electricity.

Fayyad told European Union diplomats who were also visiting Mufakara that Israeli settlement expansion and forced evictions of Palestinians had undermined the viability of reaching a peaceful solution with Israel and the establishment of a Palestinian state.

“As a matter of principle, this is not Israeli land. If they want to practice military training, they should go elsewhere,” he said.

Israel has asked for Supreme Court approval to move the residents to the nearby village of Yatta, where the Defense Ministry argues many of them have permanent homes.

Palestinian villagers say Israel wants to remove them so that nearby Jewish settlements can be expanded. “We are one kilometer away from one settlement, and 700 meters from an outpost. Why aren’t they being evacuated?” asked one resident.

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