European diplomatic representatives in Jerusalem and Ramallah on Monday slammed Israel’s settlement policy as “forced transfers, evictions, demolitions and confiscations of homes” that will “only lead to further violence and human suffering.”
In a joint statement, the EU Representative and EU Heads of Mission in Jerusalem and Ramallah said that on June 29, Israeli authorities demolished a Palestinian shop in Bustan, a neighborhood in Silwan area of occupied East Jerusalem.
“Several buildings in the neighborhood have recently been receiving new demolition orders. Currently 20 houses are at imminent risk of demolition, while in Bustan more than 1,000 Palestinians are facing the threat of having their homes demolished.”
In the neighboring Batan al Hawa, 86 families are in various stages of eviction proceedings spearheaded by an Israeli settler organization, the statement said, adding that on Aug. 2, the Israeli Supreme Court is expected to announce whether it will allow the appeal request by four of the total 28 families at risk of eviction from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, where a previous ruling to evict Palestinian families had sparked fresh tensions earlier this year.
“Israeli domestic laws, creating the basis for the claims to evict the families, do not exempt Israel, as the occupying power, from meeting its obligations to administer the occupied territory in a manner that provides for and protects the local population,” the statement added.
“Israel’s settlement policy is illegal under international law,” the statement added. “Unilateral actions taken in that context, such as forced transfers, evictions, demolitions and confiscations of homes will only escalate an already tense environment and lead to further violence and human suffering.”
“The Israeli authorities should immediately cease these activities and provide adequate permits for legal construction and development of Palestinian communities,” the statement read.
The statement reiterated that the EU “remains committed to achieving a two-state solution — based on parameters set out in the Council Conclusions of July 2014 — that meets Israeli and Palestinian security needs and Palestinian aspirations for statehood and sovereignty, ends the occupation that began in 1967, and resolves all permanent status issues in order to end the conflict.”
“It strongly opposes all actions that undermine the viability of the two state solution and urges both sides to demonstrate, through policies and actions, a genuine commitment to a two-state solution in order to rebuild trust and create a path back to meaningful negotiations,” it added.
Palestinians accuse Israel of pursuing a policy of home demolitions in the Silwan neighborhood, south of the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex, in a bid to oust Arab residents and replace them with Israeli settlers.
In a recent interview with Anadolu Agency, Jawad Siam, the director of the Wadi Hilweh Center, warned that “around 8,000 people are at risk of direct or indirect deportation from Silwan either through the demolition of their homes or through settlement projects.”
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