Urgent action needed to save Palestinian village threatened by demolition
GUE/NGL appeals to EU leaders for immediate intervention to stop the imminent demolition by the Israeli army of the Palestinian village of Khan Al-Ahmar in the occupied West Bank.
Khan Al-Ahmar, a Bedouin community of about 140 people, received a demolition order from the Israeli army that may see it raised to the ground within days, a move widely interpreted as intended to make way for the expansion of illegal Israeli settlements in the area.
GUE/NGL Vice-President Neoklis Sylikiotis, Chair of the European Parliament Delegation for Relations with Palestine, wrote to the EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini urging her to take urgent steps to prevent Israel’s threats from materialising.
The Cypriot MEP commented: “It’s unconscionable for ordinary people to have to live their lives in constant fear that their homes might be demolished at any moment. The residents of Khan Al-Ahmar have lived in precarious conditions for years because Israel has denied them building permits. Palestinians struggle daily to remain in their land and it is our duty to offer them solidarity. The EU must force Israel to comply with international law.”
Sylikiotis visited the community and witnessed first-hand the precarious living condition of residents during the last visit of the Delegation on 20-24 February.
“This demolition order and other moves by the Israeli authorities have the sole objective of expanding the settlements and dividing the West Bank. We strongly oppose all actions that are part of the annexation policy of Israel,” Sylikiotis said.
GUE/NGL had strongly criticised Israel when it passed the so-called Regulation Bill last month, which saw the retroactive take-over of private Palestinian land for illegal settlements. Sylikiotis linked the latest developments with the passing of the Bill:
“The so-called Regulation Bill legalises illegal settlements on Palestinian private property and gives the green light to Israel's illegal land grab. It is in breach of international law and a major obstacle to the vision of two-states living side-by-side in peace and security. The law implies a new violation of the rights of Palestinians to self-determination and property and should be considered as yet another threat to the two-state solution.”
“The international community has repeatedly condemned the settlements as illegal under international law. This position is clearly reiterated in the UN Security Council resolution 2334 which states that Israel’s settlements have no legal validity and violate international law.”
“The EU and the International community must exert pressure on Israel in order to put an end to the settlements, to end the occupation, to commit to a roadmap for peace and recognise an independent, viable and sovereign Palestinian state.”
The Cypriot MEP called once again the High Representative Federica Mogherini to halt preparations for the Association Council with Israel in line with her announcement after the last Foreign Affairs Council. The Chair of the Delegation for Relations with Palestine had opposed the scheduling of the meeting, which was planned to take place last month.
“Holding the EU-Israel Association Council in the current context will send a message that Israel’s blatant violations of international law are tolerated. The EU must suspend the EU-Israel Association Agreement for as long as Israel violates Article 2 that calls for respect of human rights” Sylikiotis concluded.