Israeli security forces continued its demolition of structures illegally built and sponsored by the European Union throughout Yehuda and Shomron this past week, prompting strong criticism from the EU.
“The regrettable trend of confiscations and demolitions since the beginning of the year, including of EU-funded humanitarian assistance, was confirmed once again this week by demolitions of temporary shelters in Jabal al-Baba, a Bedouin community in the so-called E1 area,” an EU spokesperson said shortly before the weekend.
The “so-called E1 area” referenced by the EU spokesperson is a region located east of Jerusalem within the municipality of the Israeli community of Maale Adumim. The EU wants to settle Arabs in the E1 area.
“The EU is strongly opposed to Israel’s settlement policy and actions taken in this context, including demolitions and confiscations, building the separation barrier beyond the 1967 line, evictions and forced transfers,” the EU spokesperson continued.
The illegal EU structures are built in areas recognized by the Oslo Accords, to which the EU is a party, as being under custodial control of Israel – the parts of Judea and Samaria known as Area C. The EU maintains that it is permitted to build in the Israeli-controlled territory because Israel does not sufficiently “care for the needs of the occupied population.”
“Israel’s role as the occupying power under international law is to care for the needs of the occupied population,” explained EU Ambassador to Israel Lars Faaborg-Andersen in an open Facebook chat with Israelis earlier this month. “Since, in some cases, Israel does not fulfill that responsibility, the EU has extended vital humanitarian aid such as shelters and water cisterns to people where they live.”
Israel has rejected this claim and has informed the European Union that it considers such construction illegal.
“They’re building without authorization, against the accepted rules, and there’s a clear attempt to create political realities there,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in January. “And when we take down this illegal construction we’re then, again, condemned, so it’s a catch-22 here. I think we have to reset our relationship with the EU.”
By Jonathan Benedek/TPS – Tazpit News Agency