EU criticizes Israel for destroying Palestinian homes in West Bank
Menahem Kahana (AFP)
The European Union has strongly criticized Israel for destroying Palestinian homes in the West Bank after a report suggested that the Jewish state has destroyed more Palestinian homes in the first half of 2016 than the annual average for the past decade except for 2013.
EU ambassador to Israel Lars Faaborg-Andersen said during a conference at the Knesset around 70 percent of Area C, which is under full Israeli control, has been taken exclusively for Israeli use and that the remaining land is effectively off limits for Palestinian development.
Faaborg-Andersen pointed out that between 2009 and 2013 Israel had provided only 44 building permits to Palestinians in response to about 2,000 requests.
"EU assistance is provided in situations where Israel is not fulfilling its duty as the occupying power," he told the conference. "That is according to the international law, universal norms and the Oslo accords."
According to Israeli human rights group B'Tselem, who presented data at the conference, Israel has razed 168 Palestinian houses in Area C built against the law.
Meanwhile, the United States on Wednesday slammed as "provocative" Israeli plans to build hundreds of new settlement homes in East Jerusalem, saying they seriously undermined the prospect of peace with Palestinians.
"We are deeply concerned by reports today that the government of Israel has published tenders for 323 units in East Jerusalem settlements," State Department spokesman John Kirby said in a statement.
"This follows Monday's announcement of plans for 770 units in the settlement of Gilo."
"These steps by Israeli authorities are the latest examples of what appears to be a steady acceleration of settlement activity that is systematically undermining the prospects for a two-state solution," Kirby said.
"We remain troubled that Israel continues this pattern of provocative and counterproductive action, which raises serious questions about Israel's ultimate commitment to a peaceful, negotiated settlement with the Palestinians."
Palestinian leaders and the United Nations joined in condemning plans advanced this week for 770 new homes that would expand the Gilo settlement on the southern perimeter of East Jerusalem.
They are part of a larger Israeli plan for around 1,200 units approved some three years ago, according to Ir Amim, an NGO that monitors Israeli settlement activity.
Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank are viewed as illegal under international law.
They are also considered major stumbling blocks to peace efforts as they are on land that is internationally recognised as belonging to the Palestinians.
A recent report by the diplomatic Quartet - the United States, European Union, Russia and the UN - said settlement expansion was eroding the possibility of a two-state solution to the conflict.
Staff with agencies
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"Meanwhile, the United States on Wednesday slammed as "provocative" Israeli plans to build hundreds of new settlement homes in East Jerusalem, saying they seriously undermined the prospect of peace with Palestinians." Yeah, yeah. America talks whilst appeasing Israel's flouting of laws and also provides it with $billions of weaponry to test on its virtually unarmed neighbours ... if only it were a 'Christian' country. p.s. Never mentioned Phalangists ... or Sharon! Whoops.
Virtually unarmed?? 15000 rockets fired into Israel is virtually unarmed? You're seriously delusional. It's also not illegal to build on existing settlements...which are in themselves, not illegal. "Provocative" doesn't mean it's illegal. Just because you don't like something doesn't make it illegal.
"15000 rockets fired into Israel is virtually unarmed? You're seriously delusional. " I would describe the damage caused by these rockets in comparison to the destruction wreaked on Gazan infrastructure and civilians as virtually none. Convince me I'm mistaken ... or at least attempt to. Borny, Israel now tests its donated weapons on the Gazans. Compared to Israel's arsenal they are virtually unarmed. I'm glad that you disagree with my comments. My sanity is confirmed!
That Israel makes the utmost effort to protect its citizens is the sole reason there weren't thousands of Israeli casualties owing to Hamas purposely aiming rockets at civilians. If you start a conflict then be prepared to pay the price. Your argument is rather mediocre
Borny, Israel only now wreaks havock on the virtually unarmed Gazans BECAUSE the others now have the capacity to do to Israeli citizens what the IDF does every few years to the Gazan citizens! Neil, Israel does far more to punish the citizens of those that attack it than it does to protect its own citizens. It encourages 'Israeli citizens' to set up communities outside of Israel under its military protection instead of completing its wall, bringing its citizens within that wall and introducing a wide no-man's land on ITS side of that wall. It is seeking to expand not protect! "If you start a conflict then be prepared to pay the price." ... and if you continue to occupy and take their land then also be prepared to pay the price. Borny, true the nuclear was not donated ... not by the US anyway ... it was acquired dishonestly yet Israelis bleat about others having Nuclear. What use are shelters against US mighty weapons?