Rights group reports escalation of Israel demolition of EU-funded Palestine projects

The Ras al-Tenneen school in Ramallah threatenend by demolition (Abbas Momani - AFP)

Middle East Monitor  /  October 19, 2020

Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor has documented a sharp increase in Israeli demolition of European Union (EU)-funded Palestinian projects built in occupied territories, a report issued over the weekend revealed.

According to the report, which was circulated by world news agencies, in 2019 the Euro-Med monitor documented a record high of 204 Palestinian structures that Israel had demolished in East Jerusalem alone, representing a spike when compared with previous years.

Israel further demolished or seized 127 structures funded by international donors, mainly the EU and its member states, in East Jerusalem and Area C, twice as much as in 2018.

“Despite the coronavirus pandemic and the accompanying economic crisis, Netanyahu’s government has significantly stepped up the demolition of Palestinian structures further,” the report explained.

“For instance, the number of house demolitions in East Jerusalem between January and August 2020 was 89, compared to 104 for all of 2019 and 72 in 2018. This is putting Israel’s government on track for a record year in the number of razings of Palestinian structures in East Jerusalem.”

The report confirmed that Belgium, Estonia, France, Germany, Ireland and Norway delivered a joint stake-out on the Middle East at the United Nations in late September, in which the European states reaffirmed their deep concerns about Israel’s settlement activities and demolitions of Palestinian structures.

According to the Euro-Med report, the statement of the EU countries noted: “The period from March to August 2020 saw the highest average destruction rate in four years.”

Meanwhile, the report found that the number of EU-funded projects implemented in the occupied territories decreased to 12 in 2019, compared with 75 in 2015.

The report reiterated that the EU countries should stand up against Israel in order to stop its demolitions. Instead, the report divulged, the EU used to hide the size of damage Israel caused the EU-funded projects, calling for MEPs to investigate the Israeli demolition and issue a report on it.

Chairman of the Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor Dr Ramy Abdu communicated that the EU adopts a strong rhetoric against Israeli settlements in the occupied territories, but its members are calling for taking a similar stance against the Israeli targeting of the Palestinians in the areas subject to danger.

“It is impossible and it is intolerable to remain silent over this worrying escalation of the Israeli demolition and the retreat of EU funding for projects in the Palestinian territories,” Abdu expressed.