Middle East Monitor / November 9, 2020
Belgium on Friday condemned Israel’s destruction of Belgian-funded homes in the occupied West Bank, urged Tel Aviv to refrain from destroying Palestinian schools and demanding compensation for Palestinians affected by the demolitions.
The Belgian Foreign Affairs Ministry said in a statement that a number of homes in the village of Al-Rakeez, in the occupied West Bank district of Hebron, have been demolished by Israeli authorities in violation of international humanitarian laws.
“This essential infrastructure was built with Belgian funding, as part of humanitarian aid implemented by the West Bank Protection Consortium. Our country asks Israel for compensation or restitution for these destructions,” the ministry said in the statement.
Belgium called on the Israeli occupation authorities “not to execute the demolition orders for the schools in Ras al-Tin, Jinba and Khirbet al-Fakheit, and to safeguard all 52 schools in the West Bank at risk of demolition.”
“As a member of the UN Security Council, Belgium has on several occasions expressed great concern about the alarming increase in the number of demolitions and seizures of structures and humanitarian projects in Area C in the West Bank,” it added.
“We reiterate that the demolition of infrastructure and housing in the occupied West Bank is contrary to international humanitarian law, in particular the Fourth Geneva Convention, Israel’s obligations as an occupying power and UN Security Council resolutions.”
Belgium said it was also appalled by the demolition on 3 November of more than 80 structures in the village of Khirbet Hamsa al-Foqa in the Jordan Valley.
“This has an enormous impact on the local population and on the assistance provided by humanitarian partners. Belgium calls on the Israeli authorities to stop the demolition of humanitarian aid in line with international humanitarian law.”
“Finally, Belgium is particularly concerned about the demolition of schools. Palestinian children, like all children in the world, have a right to education. A right guaranteed under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.”