JERICHO, February 10, 2016 (WAFA) – The Palestine Liberation Organization Secretary-General Saeb Erekat Wednesday decried Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s remarks praising the construction of a border fence with Jordan likening his statements to South Africa’s Bantustan system.
Addressing a delegation of the European Parliament, PLO Secretary-General Saeb Erekat stated that Netanyahu’s remarks are similar to statements expressed by Apartheid leaders who founded the Bantustan system in South Africa.
“Those who support building walls are similar to those who live by the law of the jungle,” Erekat stated.
Erekat reiterated that Israel, the occupying power, is rapidly sabotaging the two-state solution and entrenching an apartheid system that is far worse than the South African apartheid.
The PLO official called on the delegation to oblige Israel to release hunger-striking detainee Mohammad al-Qiq and Palestinian Legislative Council members being held in Israeli detention, including Marwan al-Barghouthi, Ahmad Sa‘dat, Khalida Jarrar and Ahmad ‘Atwan.
He also called on the European delegation to oblige Israeli government to release the bodies of Palestinians who were killed following being allegedly or actually carrying attacks against Israeli forces and settlers.
Erekat’s remarks came a day after Netanyahu supported a plan to surround “the entire State of Israel with a fence” to keep out refugees, drawing the analogy that the people of neighboring countries are like “predators”.
Speaking during a tour to a construction site of the border fence with Jordan, Netanyahu reportedly said that he wishes to surround “the country” with fences and barriers “to defend ourselves against wild beasts” that surround Israel.
“At the end, in the State of Israel, as I see it, there will be a fence that spans it all," said Netanyahu. "I‘ll be told, ‘this is what you want, to protect the villa?’ The answer is yes. Will we surround all of the State of Israel with fences and barriers? The answer is yes. In the area that we live in, we must defend ourselves against the wild beasts."
Netanyahu added that his government is preparing a multi-year plan to surround “all of Israel” with “security barriers” as well as a plan to close the breaches in the “separation barrier” between Israel and the West Bank.
“This thing costs many billions, and we‘re working on a multi-year plan of prioritization so it would be spread out over years in order to gradually build it, but to complete it to defend the State of Israel,” Netanyahu added.
Israel began constructing the wall with concrete walls, fences and barbed-wire inside the occupied West Bank in June 2002 at the height of the second Palestinian intifada, claiming that the wall was crucial for security purposes.
In July 2004 the International Criminal Court of Justice (ICJ) issued an advisory opinion ruling that the wall constitutes a “de facto annexation” of Palestinians land and that it is not justified on security grounds.
ICJ ruled that the wall was illegal and demanded that it be dismantled and that Israel pay reparations for Palestinians. It also ruled that states are obliged to act against the wall and that the UN should take action.
When completed, 85% of the wall will have been built inside the West Bank and will have effectively annexed around 13% of the West Bank, according to the Applied Research Institute of Jerusalem (ARIJ).