Gaza's Ministry of Awqaf (religious endowments) condemned Israel's decision to annul residence permits for thousands of Jerusalem's Palestinian residents. "Israel has abruptly canceled residence permits for 14,595 Palestinians in Jerusalem," the Hamas-run ministry said in a statement released late Wednesday.
"The Israeli authorities continue to escalate their Judaization campaign in the city, while carrying out settlement projects [in the occupied West Bank] and adopting brutal security measures against Palestinians there," the statement read.
It went on to note that, last month alone, Israeli forces had demolished dozens of Palestinian structures in and around Jerusalem.
"The Israeli authorities are pursuing a massive settlement project with a view to bringing some 150,000 Jewish settlers into Jerusalem while driving 100,000 Palestinians from the city," the ministry said.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) said earlier this week that Israel was pushing Jerusalem's Palestinian residents to leave their homes via a systematic transfer policy - in violation of international law.
More than 600,000 Israelis live in settlements in the West Bank, including annexed East Jerusalem, which is seen as a major obstacle to peace between Israel and Palestinians. They live alongside some 3 million Palestinians.
Israel first occupied the Palestinian West Bank, including East Jerusalem, during the 1967 Middle East War. It annexed the entire city in 1980, claiming it as the capital of the Jewish state, a move never recognized by the international community. International law continues to view the West Bank and East Jerusalem as "occupied territories" and considers all Jewish settlement-building activity on the land as illegal. Palestinians have long accused Israel of waging an aggressive campaign to "Judaize" the city with the aim of effacing its historical Arab and Islamic identity and ultimately driving out its Palestinian inhabitants.
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