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Palestinians will breach West Bank settlement fences, Arab MK predicts

Ahmed Tibi says non-violent mass protest will happen in the West Bank, the only question is when

Sue Surkes is The Times of Israel's environment reporter.

Joint List MK Ahmad Tibi attends a discussion on the 'Jewish State' bill in the Knesset, on October 23, 2017. (Miriam Alster/FLASH90)
Joint List MK Ahmad Tibi attends a discussion on the 'Jewish State' bill in the Knesset, on October 23, 2017. (Miriam Alster/FLASH90)

Palestinians will breach the fences of West Bank Jewish settlements in the future, as part of non-violent mass protests, an Arab Israeli lawmaker predicted on Monday.

Asked about preparations by Palestinians in Gaza for a mass march on the border fence between the enclave and Israel on Passover Eve, Ahmed Tibi of the Joint (Arab) List told Army Radio, “Not only in Gaza, also in the West Bank, there’s no doubt that there will be popular opposition. People without weapons, in a peaceful way, will breach the settlements.”

He said he did not know when this might happen.

The interview was held after a Knesset committee heard how Palestinians had achieved demographic parity with Israeli Jews across Israel, the West Bank and Gaza.

Palestinian men evacuate an injured protester during clashes with Israeli troops along the border fence near Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip, on March 16, 2018. (AFP Photo/Said Khatib)

The deputy head of the office of Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, Uri Mendes, told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee earlier in the day that according to the Palestinian population registry, which registers births and deaths, around three million Palestinians were currently living in the West Bank — up from one million 25 years ago — on top of more than two million in the Gaza Strip.

This did not include Arab Israelis or Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem, he added.

Committee members were quick to add the five million Palestinians to the 1.5 million Arabs living in Israel to grasp the implication that the Jewish and Arab/Palestinian populations had now reached parity and that there was no longer a Jewish majority between the river and the sea.

According to the Central Bureau of Statistics report for 2017, Jews in the same area currently number 6.5 million.

Tibi told Army Radio that there was “nothing new” in the figures and slammed as “racist” attempts to relate to the Palestinian people as a demographic threat and a “ticking bomb.”

He said that while he still supported the two-state solution, Prime Minister Netanyahu had trashed it to pieces.

If he, Tibi, were prime minister of a single-state of Jews and Palestinians stretching from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, the country would be “equal and democratic,” rather than Jewish and democratic — along the lines of the United States, he said.

On Saturday night, a group of Palestinians from Gaza infiltrated into Israel and tried to damage machinery being used to construct a new anti-tunnel barrier around the coastal enclave.

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