Democratic US Representative Hank Johnson says Israeli settlers living in illegal settlements are destroying Palestinian homes like “termites.”
“There has been a steady [stream], almost like termites can get into a residence and eat before you know that you’ve been eaten up and you fall in on yourself,” the Georgia lawmaker said Monday, according to The Washington Free Beacon.
He made the remarks during an event in Philadelphia, sponsored by the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation.
Johnson criticized the Tel Aviv regime’s continuation of building new settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, saying the issue has reached an “alarming” stage.
The ongoing occupation, he noted, undermines the notion of a sovereign Palestinian country, the congressman said. “We’ve gotten to the point where the thought of a Palestinian homeland gets further and further removed from reality.”
“The home their [Palestinian] ancestors lived in for generations becomes an Israeli home and a flag goes up. The Palestinians are barred from flying flags in their own neighborhoods,” said Johnson, a member of the House Armed Services Committee.
The lawmaker was forced to apologize later in the day, after becoming under fire from various pro-Israeli figures and organizations.
“Poor choice of words – apologies for offense. Point is settlement activity continues slowly undermine 2-state solution,” he wrote in a tweet.
More than half a million Israelis live in over 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds.
Washington has slammed Israel’s plans to build new illegal settler units in the occupied Palestinian territories as part of a “systematic” land expropriation policy.
The units would “be the latest step in what seems to be a systematic process of land seizures, settlement expansions and legalization of outposts that is fundamentally undermining the prospects for a two-state solution,” US State Department spokesman John Kirby said earlier this month.
The presence and continued expansion of Israeli settlements in occupied Palestine has created a major obstacle for the efforts to establish peace in the Middle East.
Palestinians regularly fall prey to hate attacks by Israeli settlers, who either subject them to injurious or fatal assaults or vandalize and set fire to their properties.
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