Arab League chief Ahmed Aboul Gheit
The League of Arab States (LAS) has warned against underway attempts by the Israeli government to annex more Palestinian land and expand its Jewish-only settlements on the occupied territories at a time when the world is striving to combat the life-threatening coronavirus pandemic.
In a telephone conversation with Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Saeb Erekat on Tuesday, Arab League chief Ahmed Aboul Gheit said Israel is taking advantage of the international community’s preoccupation with the epidemic to expand settlement in the occupied territories.
Aboul Gheit warned Israel against implementing its annexation plans for the occupied Palestinian territories, whether in the Jordan Valley, the northern West Bank or elsewhere.
“This is tantamount to playing with fire and an open call to ignite the situation, at a time when the world needs to focus all its efforts on confronting the epidemic,” he said.
The Tel Aviv regime has stepped up its settlement construction activities in defiance of UN Security Council Resolution 2334, which pronounces settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem “a flagrant violation under international law.”
The Arab league head further raised concerns about Israel’s mistreatment of around 5,000 Palestinian prisoners and its inhumane behavior toward Palestinian workers.
Earlier in the week, Aboul Gheit wrote to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), calling on the humanitarian organization to help secure the release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli detention centers amid rising cases of infection with the new coronavirus in the occupied territories.
So far, COVID-19 has claimed the lives of dozens of Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied territories and infected nearly 9,000 others.