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Israel Slams EU: 32 Humanitarian Crises in the World and Europe's Obsessed With Palestinians
The criticism comes after the European Union demanded that Israel stop demolishing Palestinian homes in Area C of the West Bank.

The Foreign Ministry lambasted the European Union on Tuesday for protesting a planned demolition of Palestinian buildings in the West Bank, saying Europe spends more time and energy on such demolitions than on genuine humanitarian crises worldwide.
The ministry summoned the EU’s deputy ambassador to Israel, Mark Gallagher, to demand an official explanation for its letter of protest. As first reported by Haaretz on Tuesday, EU Ambassador Lars Faaborg-Andersen delivered the letter to Foreign Ministry Director General Yuval Rotem last week.
At the meeting with Gallagher, the director of the Foreign Ministry’s EU department, Avivit Bar-Ilan, said that Israel views the buildings in the West Bank village of Khan al-Ahmar – most of which are financed by the EU – as illegal. “In Israel, illegal construction is dealt with according to the law,” she said, according to ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon.
Bar-Ilan also said Israel was astounded at the EU’s obsession with demolitions in Area C, the part of the West Bank under full Israeli control. “There are 32 humanitarian crises around the world, but the European Union opts to deal disproportionately only with what happens in Area C, which undoubtedly isn’t in a humanitarian crisis,” Nahshon quoted her as saying.
The EU and its member states have long voiced concern over Israel’s policies in Area C. But the latest protest was specifically sparked by the issuance of 42 demolition orders against buildings in Khan al-Ahmar a month ago. The village is located in the strategic corridor known as E1, which links the settlement of Ma’aleh Adumim to Jerusalem. The EU fears the village’s demolition is a prelude to construction of a new settlement there.
Faaborg-Andersen’s letter to Rotem was delivered on behalf of all 28 EU countries. It demanded that Israel stop demolishing Palestinian homes in Area C, and especially in the Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar, charging that demolition would amount to the forcible transfer of village residents - a violation of the Geneva Conventions.
“The practice of enforcement measures such as forced transfers, evictions, demolitions and confiscations of homes and humanitarian assets (including EU-funded) and the obstruction of delivery of humanitarian assistance are contrary to Israel’s obligations under international law, including in particular provisions of the 4th Geneva Convention … and cause suffering to ordinary Palestinians,” said the document, which Faaborg-Andersen read out loud at his meeting with Rotem.
“We therefore call on Israel, as the occupying power, to meet its obligations vis-à-vis the Palestinian population in Area C, completely stop these demolitions and confiscations and allow full access of humanitarian assistance. We urge Israel to accelerate approvals of Palestinian master plans, halt forced transfers of population and demolitions of Palestinian housing and infrastructure; simplify administrative procedures to obtain building permits, ensure access to water and address humanitarian needs.”
Khan al-Ahmar is home to a few hundred people living in temporary structures. It has no infrastructure and its residents are among the poorest in the West Bank. Though its buildings were built illegally, Israel’s Civil Administration in the West Bank refrained from demolishing them for a long time.
One of the village’s illegal buildings is a school built of used tires that serves hundreds of students from several illegal Bedouin villages in the area. The school, whose construction was financed by Italy, is considered a symbol of the Bedouin struggle to preserve the village and a source of tension between Israel and Italy.
Two weeks ago, when Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano was in Israel, he asked Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to reconsider the planned demolitions in Khan al-Ahmar, but Netanyahu refused. “Just as we didn’t approve illegal building by Jews in Amona, I won’t allow illegal building by Palestinians,” Netanyahu said, referring to the illegal West Bank outpost razed in February.

Barak Ravid
Haaretz Correspondent

read more: http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.781562

Schermata 2017 04 05 alle 09.14.12

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Temple Mount temporarily closed to Jewish visitors after clashes with police

The Temple Mount was temporarily closed to Jewish visitors on Wednesday at the order of Jerusalem District Commander Yoram Halevy after Jews broke visitation rules at the holy site, police said. The Jewish visitors were expelled from the compound for bringing sacred books to the Mount and trying to pray there. After one of the individuals was cautioned, another took out a holy book, and the group was expelled. Meanwhile, renewed clashes erupted between protesters and Israeli security forces near the Lion's Gate in the Old City, where police used stun grenades against the demonstrators. A regular dynamic has developed involving clashes between Palestinians and Israel Police over the past several days near the Lion's Gate. Dozens of Palestinians are present at the site on a regular basis, urging devotion to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount and condemning Israel. During Muslim prayer times, particularly the midday and nighttime prayers, hundreds and sometimes even thousands have been gathering there.

There have been outbreaks of violence during these periods, including stone-throwing or physical confrontations with the police. In most of these incidents, the police have been using stun grenades and sponge-tipped bullets to disperse the crowds. In a number of cases, journalists in the area have also suffered violence at the hands of the police. On Tuesday, Hassan Shaalan, a reporter for the Ynet news website, was struck by a policeman even after he identified himself as a member of the press. A group of Jerusalem-based journalists released a statement of condemnation over the incident and called on the police to permit reporters to do their jobs. The Jerusalem Police responded: "This involved an incident that took place in the course of violent disturbances of the peace that occurred in Jerusalem while the police were acting to remove the demonstrators from the street after some of them refused to vacate. The forces working on the scene are under constant threat to their lives. http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.802141

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