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March 23, 2022 8:26 am

Palestinian Authority Premier: Israel ‘Exploiting’ Ukraine Crisis to Boost Settlements

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Senior Fatah official Mohammed Shtayyeh gestures during a Palestinian leadership meeting in Ramallah, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank February 20, 2019. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman. – Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said on Monday that Israeli was “exploiting” the Ukraine crisis by transferring Ukrainian refugees to Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria, the UK-based Asharq Al-Awsat reported on Tuesday.

Shtayyeh made the remarks during the weekly PA Cabinet meeting, according to the report.

Earlier this month, Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan met with Ukrainian refugees at the Ukraine-Romanian border, inviting them to immigrate to Samaria or alternatively to shelter there until they could safely return to Ukraine, according to Israeli media reports.

“The heart of Samaria is with you; we’re all hurting with you—but we’ve decided not to be satisfied with words, but to take action,” said Dagan, according to Israel’s Channel 14.  “We came here to personally invite you to make aliyah to Samaria, and to give you a home.”

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His words were met with applause, according to the report.

Prior to Dagan’s visit to the war-torn area, Israeli Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked announced that Israel would host some 25,000 Ukrainian citizens, including 20,000 who were already in the country, until they could safely return home. Under the plan, those Ukrainians already in the country were to be granted temporary protection from repatriation. In addition, Israel expects to absorb as many as 100,000 Ukrainian refugees in the coming weeks and months within the framework of the country’s Law of Return, said Shaked.

In anticipation of the massive wave of immigration, the Jewish Agency for Israel has launched an “Aliyah Express” program to expedite the immigration process. According to the JAI, the program will significantly reduce the timeline for aliyah-eligibility checks. The JAI will also assist in absorbing immigrants when they arrive in Israel.

On Tuesday, the Israeli Education Ministry announced the creation of a two-stage working plan for the integration of some 2,000 students from Ukraine into the Israeli school system. The plan includes “educational, emotional and social aspects” and is designed to assist not only the students but also their parents, according to a statement from the Education Ministry. The ministry has also established a dedicated “situation room” to handle the influx of refugees, according to the statement.

In his Cabinet address on Monday, Shtayyeh called for an end to the “international double standards” regarding the situations in Ukraine and “Palestine,” according to Asharq Al-Awsat. Israel, he said, “is not qualified to talk about peace in the world.”

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