Apr 08

UN calls for more EU pressure on Israel over West Bank demolitions:

The United Nations has called on the European Union to ratchet up the pressure on Israel over the regime’s continued land confiscations and demolitions of structures in the occupied West Bank.

“We have entered a new and fairly disturbing phase in terms of the confrontation between international humanitarian law and the Israeli occupation of the West Bank,” UN envoy for Palestinian territories Robert Piper said on Friday.

He called on EU officials in Brussels to respond to ever-increasing destruction of properties by Israel in the occupied enclave.

Israel has carried out more than 540 demolitions and confiscations in the occupied West Bank so far this year, exceeding the total for the year 2015.

“The pace of demolitions has exceeded any previous records and we are only in the fourth month of the year. We are very worried about what the rest of the year holds,” Piper said, adding that more than 200,000 euros worth of EU investments and 140 aid projects in the West Bank have been destroyed by Israel.

He said the demolitions and confiscations have deprived some 2,000 Palestinians of their livelihoods while around 600 people have also lost their homes.

Israeli settlers have been illegally settled across the west Bank since the enclave was occupied after the 1967 Middle East war.

The regime in Tel Aviv says the demolitions are carried out on structures that are illegal and built on areas defined by the regime as restricted or needing a permit.

Piper challenged the claims, saying Palestinians living in the area have never been given a chance to obtain building permits.

The UN official called on the EU to step up pressure on Israel by issuing more public statements on the matter, saying the body could also deploy diplomats to the affected sites.

“We also need to talk about forms of seeking financial compensation or restitution by the occupying power,” Piper said, adding, “The EU needs to reflect on its strategy and how it’s going to respond … This can’t be left unaddressed. It’s a provocation.”

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