Israel: foreign ministry furious at diplomats’ Sheikh Jarrah visit

EU Representative in Palestine Sven Kuhn von Burgsdorff pays a visit to Sheikh Jarrah - December 2021 (Mostafa Alkharouf - Anadolu Agency)

Middle East Monitor  /  January 18, 2022

The Israeli Foreign Ministry criticized European diplomats harshly on Monday for visiting Sheikh Jarrah in solidarity with a Palestinian family under threat of forced eviction, The Jerusalem Post has reported.

“The ambassadors that attacked Israel today were confused,” claimed a senior ministry official. “Instead of protecting the residents, they’re protecting criminals.”

A delegation of European officials, led by EU Representative Sven Kühn von Burgsdorff, visited the home of a Palestinian family that the Israeli occupation forces intended to demolish yesterday.

“It is imperative to de-escalate the situation and seek a peaceful resolution,” his office tweeted. “Evictions/demolitions are illegal under international law and significantly undermine the prospects for peace as well as fuel tensions on the ground.”

The Dutch Ambassador to Israel, Hans Docter, also took to Twitter to voice concerns: “Ongoing attempt to evict a Palestinian family from their East Jerusalem home is contrary to international law and risks further escalation.” He called on the Israeli authorities “to stop the eviction immediately.”

The Irish Embassy to the Palestinians also pointed out that such evictions and demolitions are illegal under international humanitarian law and “threaten to escalate tensions and conflict” in the occupied Palestinian territories.

“Evictions in Occupied Territory are against international humanitarian law in all but the most exceptional circumstances,” added the British Consulate in Jerusalem, also on Twitter. “The UK urges the Government of Israel to cease such practices which only serve to increase tensions on the ground.”

The Israeli official said that the diplomats have a “Pavlovian instinct to attack Israel without knowing the facts.” The foreign ministry, it was pointed out, regards the reactions of the diplomats “as detached from reality and showing a lack of understanding.”