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Israel Destroys EU-Funded West Bank Shelter for Palestinians While Expanding Settlements

World  (tags: middle-east, israel, palestine, shelter for homeless, destroyed, illegal settlements )

- 1318 days ago -
With politicians around the globe calling on Israel to take action against illegal settlements in the West Bank, the Jewish state has finally taken action. Not against its own communities, but against an EU-funded building for Palestinians.


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Evelyn B (61)
Saturday March 14, 2015, 1:09 pm
Israel destroys EU-funded West Bank shelter for Palestinians while expanding settlements
Published time: March 12, 2015

With politicians around the globe calling on Israel to take action against illegal settlements in the West Bank, the Jewish state has finally taken action. Not against its own communities, but against an EU-funded building for Palestinians.

On Tuesday, the Israeli government demolished an EU settlement on Mount Scopus in northeast Jerusalem. The city's municipality said it undertook the measures because the structure was constructed on land, which had been designated for a national park.

According to the EU it was not even a building, but a temporary shelter, which the pan-European organization has continued to fund to help displaced people.

"We condemn today's demolition of temporary shelters funded by the European Union... as part of its response to the needs of the affected communities," an EU statement said, according AFP.

The EU has helped to fund around 200 temporary structures, which are used as shelters mainly for the Bedouin communities, which are traditionally semi-nomadic tribes that stretch from North Africa to the Middle East. The Israeli government has often tried to move the Bedouin people into housing planned by the state. Israeli activists say this is taking place so the government can build its own settlements in the area.

This would effectively carve out an Israeli enclave running through the middle of the West Bank, thereby making it almost impossible to create a contiguous Palestinian state.

The charity Oxfam made a statement just days before the demolition, saying the EU needed to take a tougher line against the Israeli destruction of Palestinian homes, many of which were funded by EU taxpayer money.

"To see positive change on the ground, Europe needs to step up and take a leadership role. EU governments must match their words with urgent and concrete measures to push for an immediate end to settlement construction and the unlawful demolition of Palestinian civilian infrastructure," Oxfam mentioned on its website.

Regavim, an Israeli conservative non-governmental organization counters the EU's claims, saying the body has built 500 structures in Israel, without the consent of the national government.

"After years of researching this new phenomenon of illegal European settlements in and around Jerusalem, we praise the Jerusalem municipality for beginning to enforce the rule of law," said Ari Briggs, director of Regavim, cited by the Jerusalem Post.

A recent report by the right wing lobby group found that the EU's policy of continuing to illegally build settlements of the Palestinians in Jerusalem and parts of the West Bank is an ongoing problem and they want the Israeli government to continue to take measures against this.

"We see this action as a direct consequence of the recent Regavim expose on the subject and call on the government of Israel to find an immediate solution for the other 499 structures that we have identified as illegal EU settlements," Briggs, a co-author of the study, said.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem in 1967 and later annexed it. This is a move that's never been recognized by the international community, while Israel's continued policy to build settlements has brought condemnation from all over the world, including from the country's staunch ally, the United States.

In late January, the US and the EU advised Israel against a plan to drop its plans to construct an additional 450 settlement homes in the West Bank, warning that failure to do so would further destabilize the situation in the region and diminish prospects for peace.

Washington voiced concern, warning that building new settlements would not help to improve Israeli security; rather it would have the opposite effect.

"I can tell you that issuing tenders like this does nothing to bolster Israel's security, does not increase its prosperity and it does not further the cause for peace. In fact it does precisely the opposite," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.

The US believes Israeli settlement activity is "illegitimate and counterproductive" to achieving a two-state solution, Earnest told reporters.

Some 500,000 Israelis have settled in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, among 2.4 million Palestinians. The Israeli occupied territories have been seeking full Palestinian statehood and independence from Israel for decades. However, despite international criticism, the Israeli government encourages the Jewish population in the West Bank to build new settlements.

Rather than listening to the US and the EU, Israeli seems as though it is determined to plough a lone furrow and in 2014, set a new 10-year record for the number of settlements built.

According to Peace Now, an anti-settlement watchdog, 4,485 tenders were issued in 2014, a 20 percent increase from the previous year (3,710). In 2007, only 858 were handed out. The watchdog also stated that there had been a 40 percent rise in construction in 2014.

Peace Now claims the increase in settlement building is an election ploy by incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to win votes ahead of the Israeli elections on March 17. The group adds that the in seeking a fourth term in office, Netanyahu is sacrificing good relations with the US, to secure the settlers' votes.

"Once again, Palestinian lives, rights and lands are being violated in the service of Israeli election campaigns," said Hanan Ashrawi, a senior official from the Palestinian Liberation Organization, as cited by Reuters.

Evelyn B (61)
Saturday March 14, 2015, 1:21 pm
With typical inconsistency - or in consistency with their denial of Palestinian rights - that right-wing groups refers to "national government" .... meaning Israeli government, the Occupying Authority not the "national" authority for the Occupied Palestinian Territories ..... as not having authorised the shelters ...

The same Authority as has caused Palestinian families to be turned out of their homes in winter conditions ..... Obviously, EU-funded shelters don't suit the purpose of the Occupiers, who really rather hope that General Winter will kill off more Palestinians .....

And the irony of objections to EU shelters - and use of the term "European Settlements" for such shelters ..... by people who support illegal settlements in the occupied territories.

They don't want peace - they want to grind the Palestinians under their heels - and will claim "this is the only way to protect ourselves against these terrorists" ... But the real terrorists today are the extremist settlers and the (undertrained) IDF forces .... (thanks, Stephen B for pointing out this human resource challenge of IDF) ... and they hope that some Palestinians will crack, will lose their tempers - & give more excuse to the crushing of Palestinians

Anna Neusüss (127)
Saturday March 14, 2015, 1:37 pm
If only that would bring the international community to attention and set the Human Rights Commission into motion. As far as I know, Israel has agreed on a 2-state-policy. They hide it very well, if they still follow that path.

Thank you for sharing, Evelyn.

Anna Neusüss (127)
Saturday March 14, 2015, 1:54 pm
A very accurate analysis of the situation. Thank you Evelyn.


Kathleen M (211)
Saturday March 14, 2015, 2:53 pm
Wish the entire International community would hold Israel accountable for its crimes against humanity! Excellent article and a very astute analysis of the situation. Thanks for sharing, Evelyn.

Carol R (11)
Sunday March 15, 2015, 1:29 am
Thanks Evelyn. And couldn't have said it better per your comment.

Darren Woolsey (218)
Sunday March 15, 2015, 3:30 am
Are we so very good at destroying what's taken ages to create. . .

Past Member (0)
Sunday March 15, 2015, 11:41 am
The city’s municipality said it undertook the measures because the structure was constructed on land, which had been designated for a national park.

it is a very bad idea to squatter government lands anywhere. Don't try anything like that in Canada, in US or even in EU - your structure will be demolished as well.

Another Palestinian Arab provocation making headlines...

Evelyn B (61)
Sunday March 15, 2015, 12:02 pm
With typical casualness - I reiterate that the Occupiers are overlooking that this is not Israeli government land, the national government of the West Bank is the PA ..... And the PA had planned no park here

Furthermore, the shelters are temporary structures ......

Israel certainly knows a lot about squatters .... many "settlements" start as "outposts" (which in other conditions would be called squatter communities) .... but if the squatters are Israelis, that's fine ... they'll get essential water, electricity, drainage .... and when there are enough squatters ... why, the location can be reclassified as a settlement instead of an "outpost". And the squatters become full-blooded "settlers" ... many of them extremist. (It was this category of "squatters" who attacked a US Embassy vehicle not long ago ....)

What a classsic example of Animal Farm democracy, equality logic !

Humanitarian temporary shelters labelled as "squatter" ... while real squatters - who are not homeless left in the cold by soldiers driving them out of their homes - are perceived as heros, opening up areas for Israeli-government-supported (illegal) settlements ...

I don't know if I'll even be able to understand how people can see themselves as moral human beings when they can spew such injustice as correct behaviour. I try to understand - to help try to have some dialogue .... but I just can't grasp such "values" ....


Past Member (0)
Sunday March 15, 2015, 12:53 pm
Document by what law they're illegal!! The West Bank is very sparsely populated; there's more than plenty land available....
Would you build shelters in the middle of the Grand Canyon?

evie, it's in the 60's in Ramallah. No one's going to freeze to death.

Evelyn B (61)
Sunday March 15, 2015, 1:31 pm
Ignorance or lies - who knows ? But this winter has seen at least two waves of freezing weather in the Middle East - from Cairo up to Turkey ... and the last I heard, Israel and the Occupied Territories fall in the zone that was afftected - in January then again in Februrary. It may be 60°F in Ramallah today .... should actually be getting warmer by mid-March so if today's temp is being cited, that is rather low temps ....

And one should only be concerned if people would freeze to death without shelter? What great humanity is shown here .... No Jew would be left without shelter .... why should Palestinians not have right to shelter? In their own (occupied) land?

International law is clear on the illegality of the settlements in occupied territories. But you know that, and you deny it because you can't afford to admit to the wrongs being done .....

"Denial has become, in fact, a constant and almost instinctual official reaction to any accusation of wrongdoing. This is not only an offence against truth, but also enables the ongoing perpetration of crimes."

Past Member (0)
Sunday March 15, 2015, 1:48 pm
Because it was on reserved government land. And WHY is the West Bank *occupied*? You have 10 minutes to state the obvious reasons ~ and your nasty lies don't count because they are just lies. The obvious reasons will take actual brain power.

Evelyn B (61)
Sunday March 15, 2015, 2:52 pm
"Reserved government land" = reserved for further land-grabbing and (illegal) settlement-related development ... half way to being honest here? Without, of course, admitting the illegality ....

Past Member (0)
Sunday March 15, 2015, 3:13 pm
Now it's time for me to say read your own story. Oh, but of course, being a hard-left Westerner you're so indoctrinated you wouldn't see the truth if it was standing in front of you in a clown suit.
The West Bank is *occupied* for only one reason: plo/pa/hamas. Place the blame where it logically belongs.

Evelyn B (61)
Sunday March 15, 2015, 3:26 pm
It is occupied because Israel has chosen not to return to the 1967 borders (let along the formal 1948 borders assigned to it)
The Occupation is a driver of continued friction & conflict, but it suits those profiting from the occupation to claim that PLO/PA/ Hamas are sole causes of the occupation. Rather than a product of the occupation and the dispossession of Palestinians ... the vicious circle of occupation/ reaction/ oppression / further destructive reaction is caused by people on BOTH sides ..... pretending total innocence & "right to defend" only feeds continued oppression - and continued oppression feeds occasional outbreaks by individuals and small groups who can't cope with the destructive impact of oppressive occupation. There are perpetrators of violence ON BOTH SIDES, and there are victims on both sides. Place the blame where in belongs - on both sides .....

Roslyn McBride (32)
Sunday March 15, 2015, 6:31 pm
The Israelis are making themselves look worse by the minute.

Janet B (0)
Sunday March 15, 2015, 7:54 pm

Past Member (0)
Sunday March 15, 2015, 10:43 pm
Evelyn, in this case Arabs occupied Israeli land, and got rightfully evicted.


Past Member (0)
Monday March 16, 2015, 4:12 am
evie, darlin', you can put the blame for Israel's presence in the West Bank solely on the pa for their indecisiveness and inability to control hamas.

Bryan S (105)
Monday March 16, 2015, 7:40 pm
There could always be a logical argument for a military presence in an area as a way to counter a threat (be it involving any nations or land in the world). But the argument that Israel has a right to grab Palestinian land in the West Bank for settlements because of the actions of Hamas is completely nonsensical and dishonest.

Lois Jordan (63)
Tuesday March 17, 2015, 2:03 pm
Noted. Thanks for posting, Evelyn.
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