Middle East Monitor / May 27, 2023
European Diplomatic missions in Jerusalem on Friday called on the Israeli occupation to halt all confiscations and demolitions in the occupied West Bank.
In a press statement, the consortium of missions urged: “Israel, as the occupying power, to halt all confiscations and demolitions and to give unimpeded access to humanitarian organizations in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem.”
Members of the consortium include the Consulates General of Belgium, France, Italy, Spain, Sweden and the UK, and the Representative Offices of Denmark, Finland, Germany and Ireland, as well as the Office of the European Union (EU) Representative to the West Bank and Gaza.
The diplomatic missions called on Israel to: “Return or compensate for all humanitarian items funded by the consortium of donors. The total value of donor-funded items, which have been demolished, dismantled or confiscated since 2015, is estimated at €1,291 million.”
According to the statement, the missions have: “Strongly condemned the recent demolition of the donor-funded school in Jubbet Adh Dhib and expressed their grave concern about the threatened demolition of another 57 schools in the West Bank.”
They stated that the threatened schools: “Include the Khasem al-Karem School in Hebron and Ein Samiya School in Ramallah, the latter in a community forced to abandon their lands due to [Jewish] settler violence and harsh restrictions.”
At the same time, the missions indicated that they raised with the Israeli authorities the issue of: “The planned forcible transfer of more than 1,100 affected Palestinians currently residing in Masafer Yatta,” highlighting “the prohibition of forcible transfers in International Humanitarian Law.”
In the statement, they also shared: “Similar concern was expressed about the pending demolition of Khan al-Ahmar and the potential forcible transfer of the 48 Palestinian families living there.”
The missions condemned: “The settler violence in the strongest terms and Israel’s failure to protect Palestinians and prosecute violent Jewish supremacist settlers.”
It added: “Alarmed by recent incidents in Huwara, Burqa and elsewhere, the missions underlined their concern about continued and dangerous statements, which can incite further violence, and stressed that partners on the ground consider that settlement expansion has resulted in increased settler violence.”
Concluding the statement, the missions urged: “Settlements are illegal under International Law,” calling on Israel to “cease the policy of settlement expansion and of denying Palestinian development in the occupied West Bank.”