AMMAN: Ibrahim Milhem, a spokesman for the Palestinian government, praised Saudi Arabia’s King Salman’s “strong Saudi patriotic” position at this difficult time for the Palestinian cause and said his stance is “a reflection of the dangers that this national cause is facing.”
Milhem told Arab News on Friday that Saudi Arabia’s leading role in “Arab, Islamic and international efforts gives Palestinians hope,” and added that the Kingdom’s quick response to Israel’s plan to expand settlements in East Jerusalem shows “that the Saudis are making a strong statement of concern about the need to (respect) international law.”
Milhem said that King Salman’s phone call with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas demonstrated to the world the “Arab support to Palestinians and provides a political cover to all that is needed to stand up to the ‘deal of the century’ and the attempts of Netanyahu to end the two-state solution by his annexation efforts.”
The expansion of the settlements in East Jerusalem, which Israel seized along with the West Bank and Gaza in the 1967 Mideast war, threatens to further complicate one of the thorniest issues in the conflict.
There is a strong evidence of decades of systematic discrimination, illustrated by a huge gap in the number of construction permits granted to Jewish and Palestinian residents, according to official data obtained by The Associated Press.
The refusal to grant permits to Palestinian residents has confined them to crowded, poorly served neighborhoods, with around half the population believed to be at risk of having their homes demolished.
The data was acquired and analyzed by the Israeli settlement watchdog Peace Now, which says it only obtained the figures after a two-year battle with the municipality.
Milhem added in his interview with Arab News that the government of Palestine will “always remember the Saudi position, which has always given financial and political (support) to the people of Palestine.”
It says the numbers show that while Palestinians make up more than 60 percent of the population in East Jerusalem, they have received only 30 percent of the building permits issued since 1991.