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.
Jerusalem (AsiaNews) – Between 2009 and 2017, the European Union has lost 1,2 million euros invested in West Bank structures, which have been demolished or seized by Israel, according to a six-month report published by the Office of the European Union Representative in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
The report states that from March to August 2017, over 150 Palestinian owned structures were impacted by demolition, seizure, sealing off, or eviction throughout the occupied West Bank; 60% of which in East Jerusalem. The total number of affected structures since the beginning of 2017 has therefore gone up to 330, resulting in the displacement of over 500 Palestinians including 290 children.
Of the structures, 72 were funded by the EU or EU Member States (EUMS), with a valuable loss of 240.000 €. For the six-month reporting period concerns about 19 structures for a value of nearly 130,000 €. A further 100 EU funded structures worth over 700,000€ were also placed under threat of demolition since the beginning of year.
Demolitions, confiscations and seizures are executed by the Israeli authorities on the grounds that the structures have been erected without building permits. But as stated in July by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), it is “virtually impossible” to obtain such permits: for the past years approximately only 1% of the building permits requested by Palestinians in Area C (under Israeli control, close to settlements and military outposts) were granted; meaning 16 from 1,253 applications.
In August, The EU missions in Jerusalem and Ramallah expressed “strong concern” in a statement for the demolition and seizure of education facilities, like the Jubbet al-Dibh school (Bethlehem district), later “illegally” re-built by activists.
The letter, signed by eight countries, is an unprecedented move in relations with Israel. Israel's coercive measures on schools and against international assistance cause suffering to Palestinians. More than one million euros in European funding lost.
Israeli NGO Peace Now reports that 674 new units have been approved so far this year. For the NGO’s spokesperson Hagit Ofran, the government is promoting construction “quietly and behind the scenes”. Mahmoud Abbas appeals to the UN and stresses the "urgent" need for a resolution.