Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 July 2019

Palestinian official sacked after Israeli settlers attend son’s wedding

Four settlers filmed dancing at an Arab wedding have caused outrage on Palestinian social media

Small West Bank communities in the Judean desert
Small West Bank communities in the Judean desert

The political party of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has expelled a mayor after Israeli settlers were filmed dancing at the wedding of his son.

Radi Nasser lost his membership of the Fatah Party and was removed from his job at the Education Ministry of the Palestinian Authority, the body that has limited self rule in the occupied West Bank.

He was the council chief of the West Bank village of Deir Kadis, which is located near the Palestinian city of Ramallah and six miles northeast of the Israeli settlement of Modiin.

Video footage posted on social media showed four settlers dancing at a wedding and getting on the shoulders of those in attendance.

 The four settlers dancing at an Arab wedding that prompted outrage among Palestinians. YouTube screengrab.
The four settlers dancing at an Arab wedding that prompted outrage among Palestinians. YouTube screengrab.

The footage prompted outrage on Palestinian social media, with some accusing the official and his son of treason. The uproar promptly spread to Palestinian diplomatic circles.

Fatah spokesperson Osama Qawassmeh said that the participation of “terrorist settlers in Palestinian social events is a cowardly, condemnable, despicable and reprehensible act”.

The Fatah leadership expressed its opposition to any form of normalisation with Israel and the damage that such acts have on Palestinian national customs.

Most Palestinians are vehemently anti-settler because of the network of illegal settlements built across the West Bank that are the core of Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land. Settlers have also been responsible for murders of Palestinians, attacks against Palestinian farmland and other crimes under the protection of Israeli soldiers, according to rights groups.

Around 600,000 settlers live in occupied East Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank, cutting through swathes of Palestinian territory and on track to prevent any hope of a contiguous Palestinian sovereign state.

The majority of the international community considers Israel’s settlement enterprise to be illegal under international law. The US administration of President Donald Trump has changed decades of American policy and appeared to tacitly allow Israeli settlement building to continue unopposed.

Both he and his Middle East team, two of whom have supported Israeli settlements financially, plan to roll out part of their peace plan at a conference in Bahrain later this month. But the Palestinians have rejected the plan before it has been unveiled, saying that it will be one-sided in favour of Israel.

Updated: June 16, 2019 03:05 PM

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