he European Union has lashed out at Israel for pursuing the policy of razing and seizing Palestinian homes in the occupied West Bank, calling on the Tel Aviv regime to end its practice.
EU’s ambassador to the occupied territories, Lars Faaborg-Andersen, made the criticism in a message delivered to Israeli Foreign Ministry’s Director General Yuval Rotem during a meeting last week, with envoys from all EU member states present.
“The practice of enforcement measures such as forced transfers, evictions, demolitions and confiscations of homes and humanitarian assets (including EU-funded) and the obstruction of delivery of humanitarian assistance are contrary to Israel’s obligations under international law,” Faaborg-Andersen said.
He further urged “Israel, as the occupying power, to meet its obligations vis-à-vis the Palestinian population … [and] completely stop these demolitions and confiscations and allow full access of humanitarian assistance.”
In February, Israeli forces distributed 42 demolition orders in the Palestinian Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar in Area C of the occupied West Bank.
Tents, huts and a school, many of them funded by the EU, are among the structures that will be destroyed.
Delegations from EU embassies have regularly visited the village, hoping to secure an Israeli Supreme Court injunction against the demolitions.
“We’re not giving up,” said an EU diplomat, whose name was not mentioned in the report.
International bodies and human rights groups say Israel’s sustained demolitions of Palestinian homes are aimed at uprooting Palestinians from their native territories and expropriating more land for the expansion of settlements.
Tel Aviv has accelerated its land grab and settlement construction activities in the occupied Palestinian lands after pro-Israel US President Donald Trump took office earlier this year.
Latest figures provided by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs show a sharp rise in Area C demolitions by Israeli forces over the past year.
Between 450 and 560 Palestinian structures were torn down each year from 2012-2015, compared to 876 recorded in 2016 and 121 in January 2017, according to the available figures.