19 February 2018
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  • » 02/01/2018, 17.12


    European diplomats slam 'the economic, political and social marginalisation of the Palestinians'

    Chefs de mission of EU member countries criticise Israeli policies in East Jerusalem, such as physical isolation, excessive use of force, settlements, and acts of violence by settlers. The European Union must respect the "international consensus on Jerusalem". Some 42.5 million euros are to be set aside to help Palestinians build their state. For UN agency, 206 companies are involved in the settlements.

    Jerusalem (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Israel has been pursuing a campaign of “economic, political, and social marginalisation of the Palestinians in Jerusalem,” say European Union chefs de mission, French daily Le Monde wrote today, citing a EU report to be released today.

    The detailed, precise and often blunt document looks at the daily life of Palestinians under the burden of Israeli policies in terms of transportation, construction, education, economy, and violence.

    “Because of the physical isolation and Israel’s restrictive permit policy, the city has ceased to be the centre of Palestinian economic, urban and commercial life as it once used to be,” the EU diplomats write.

    The charge is backed by figures. East Jerusalem’s part of the Palestinian GDP has dropped from 15 per cent in 1993 when the Oslo Accords were signed to 7 per cent today.

    The EU representatives urge EU member states to take a political stand. They slam the decision of US President Donald Trump to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem, noting the need to respect the "international consensus on Jerusalem".

    They encourage support for "human rights defenders in East Jerusalem", claiming that Israel maintains "a constant repression on the organisation of Palestinian political life" in the city.

    The report also criticises the "excessive use of force" by Israeli police and the killing of Palestinian attackers when "they no longer pose a threat".

    The diplomats also mention the settlements, denouncing the construction of 3,000 new housing units in 2017.

    They urge the EU to establish "a more effective mechanism" to ensure that the products from the settlements do not benefit from "preferential treatment" on the basis of EU-Israel agreements.

    Furthermore, they suggest targeted sanctions to exclude "violent settlers" and those who praise violence from entering EU territory.

    The diplomats insist that the EU should oppose all legislative initiatives by the Knesset to unilaterally change the boundaries of the city. This refers to a bill that would allow Israel to annex Palestinian neighbourhoods in Jerusalem that are located beyond the wall in order to incorporate adjacent Jewish settlements to the municipality.

    The report also condemns the "silent deportation" of Palestinians from Jerusalem, noting that 14,595 Palestinian residents lost their residence permits between 1967 and 2016. A practice that the authors see as aimed at maintaining a substantial "Jewish majority" in the city.

    In its conclusion, the document highlights "the unprecedented mobilisation of the Palestinians" characterised by "unity, non-violence and a strong sense of solidarity".

    The report comes at a time when the EU has announced a new funding package of 42.5 million euros (nearly m) to help the Palestinians build their new state.

    In parallel, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has released a report that drew fire from Israel and its US ally.

    The document looks at companies doing business with Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, which the international community considers illegal.

    The UN agency says it has identified 206 business entities operating in the settlements that “enable and support the establishment, expansion and maintenance of Israeli residential communities beyond the Green Line.”

    Of those identified, 143 were based in Israel and 22 were in the United States. The remaining were located in 19 other countries.

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    See also

    11/01/2018 19:53:00 ISRAEL – PALESTINE
    Expanded West Bank settlements drive the “last stake” in the heart of the two-state solution

    Israel approved 1,122 housing units and published tenders for an additional 651 today. In 2017, 420 Palestinian structures were demolished. Violence also continues with one Jewish settler from an illegal outpost killed.

    06/04/2011 ISRAEL – PALESTINE
    Mild criticism for new Jewish housing in Jerusalem and West Bank
    EU foreign policy chief Ashton and UN envoy mildly rebuke Israel’s decision. Under international law, settlements are illegal and could compromise the creation of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

    05/08/2011 ISRAEL - PALESTINE
    900 more homes for Israeli settlers in East Jerusalem
    Already 9 000 settlers in Har Homa. With its development, the area of Bethlehem will be cut off from East Jerusalem, making the creation of a Palestinian state even more difficult. There is also environmental damage: Har Homa (Abu Ghnaim) was a wooded area, now destroyed by building development.

    06/02/2014 ISRAEL - PALESTINE
    Israel approves 500 new homes in West Bank
    The apartment blocks slated for in Har Homa , Neve Yaakov and Pisgat Zeev settlements in East Jerusalem . Since August 2013, the government has granted more than 4 thousand permits for housing lots.

    11/10/2017 15:24:00 EU - ISRAEL - PALESTINE
    Demolitions in the West Bank: since 2009, more than one million euros of European funds lost

    In 2017, 330 have been dismantled or seized, 72 of which fund by the European Union. 60% in East Jerusalem. Over 500 Palestinian displaced, 290 of whom children. Only  1% of requested building permits are approved.

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