Jerusalem accuses the E.U. for being ‘obsessed’ with Israel’s court sanctioned demolitions of illegal structures, instead of focusing on any of the 32 humanitarian crises around the world.
In a sharp criticism of the European Union on Tuesday, Israel’s Foreign Ministry accused Europe of focusing more time and energy on Israel’s West Bank demolition plans, than the mass of humanitarian crises happening all around the world, reported Haaretz.
“There are 32 humanitarian crises around the world, but the EU chooses to disproportionately focus only on what is done in Area C of the West Bank, which are most definitely not suffering a humanitarian crisis,” the Foreign Ministry’s EU department director Avivit Bar-Ilan reportedly said, adding that she was “astounded” at the EU’s obsession with the demolitions in Area C, which is the part of the West Bank wholly under Israel’s control.
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The comment came in response to the EU’s protest against a planned demolition of Palestinian buildings in the West Bank, where the ministry summoned the deputy ambassador to Israel to demanded an official explanation, according to Haaretz.
“The practice of enforcement measures such as forced transfers, evictions, demolitions and confiscations of homes and humanitarian assets and the obstruction of delivery of humanitarian assistance are contrary to Israel’s obligations under international law,” an EU envoy Lars Faaborg-Andersen said, according to Reuters.
“We therefore call on Israel, as the occupying power, to meet its obligations vis-a-vis the Palestinian population…completely stop these demolitions and confiscations and allow full access of humanitarian assistance.”
The buildings in the West Bank village Khan al-Ahmar, were partially financed by the EU and considered illegal by Israel, Bar-Ilan reportedly said during the meeting.
“In Israel, illegal construction is dealt with according to the law,” she said, according to ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon, reported Haaretz.
The Israeli-controlled Area C makes up of 60 percent of the West Bank.
Khan al-Ahmar is considered to be built illegally. It is one of the poorest villages in the West Bank and Israel’s Civil Administration has long refrained from demolishing its buildings.
42 demolitions were ordered in the village last month, igniting the latest protest from EU member-states.
Both the US and EU have criticized Israel’s demolition of Palestinian structures in the West Bank.
The UN said that as of December 28, 2016 Israeli demolitions had displaced 1,593 Palestinians and impacted the livelihoods of over 7,000 more.
The UN says that the figures are the highest since OCHA began recording such data in 2009.
Israel says the demolitions are carried out in cases of unlicensed construction, invoking treaties with the Palestinians that give it full control over 60 percent of the West Bank land area designated as “Area C”, which is under Israeli administration, and asserting sovereignty over all of Jerusalem.
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