EU urges Israel to end demolition of Palestinian housing | News | DW | 06.02.2016
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EU urges Israel to end demolition of Palestinian housing

The EU has said "EU-funded structures" providing humanitarian support in the West Bank have been destroyed. The UN, rights organizations and civil society groups have slammed Israel's demolition of Palestinian housing.

EU diplomats with the European External Action Service (EEAS) on Saturday called for Israel to halt the demolition of Palestinian houses in the occupied West Bank after more than 100 Palestinians were left homeless by demolitions on February 2.

"In the past weeks there have been a number of developments in Area C of the West Bank, which risk undermining the viability of a future Palestinian state and driving the parties yet further apart," the EEAS said in a statement.

"This is particularly concerning both because of the extent of the demolitions and also the number of vulnerable individuals affected, including children who need support," the statement noted.

The EEAS reported that "EU-funded structures" were also targeted by demolitions conducted by Israeli forces, saying they were built to provide "humanitarian support to most vulnerable people."

The diplomatic service reiterated the "EU's firm opposition to Israel's settlement policy" and actions taken in this context, including demolitions and confiscation, evictions, forced transfers or restrictions of movement and access, in line with conclusions made by EU foreign ministers on January 18.

"We call on the Israeli authorities to reserve the decision taken and to halt further demolitions," the statement added.

The EU said children made homeless by the demolitions are vulnerable

The EU said children made homeless by the demolitions are "vulnerable"

Calls for accountability

Israel's controversial policy of demolishing Palestinian houses in the occupied West Bank has also been criticized by the United Nations, civil society groups and human rights organizations.

In January, the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) said demolishing residential structures "exacerbates an already coercive environment."

The Jerusalem-based Israeli Committee against House Demolitions (ICAHD) described Israel's demolitions policy as a "refusal to recognize the national rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination."

"Israel's destruction of 23 Palestinian/Bedouin homes in the South Hebron Hills brings the total number of demolitions in the Occupied Palestinian Territories to around 41,894 since the beginning of the Israeli occupation in 1967," said Israeli anthropologist Jeff Halper, who heads the ICAHD, in a statement referring to the February 2 demolitions.

"We must begin holding our government - and our politicians - accountable for their crimes," he added.

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