IDF de­mol­ishes 7 EU-funded West Bank Be­duin struc­tures

Jerusalem Post - - NEWS - • By TOVAH LAZAROFF

In a move likely to fur­ther anger the Euro­pean Union, the IDF on Sun­day de­mol­ished seven pre­fab build­ings in the West Bank Be­duin en­camp­ment of Sateh al-Bahr that the EU had funded.

Two weeks ago, EU Am­bas­sador Lars Faaborg An­der­sen warned the co­or­di­na­tor of govern­ment ac­tiv­i­ties in the ter­ri­to­ries that such de­mo­li­tions would harm EU-Is­rael ties.

COGAT ex­plained on Sun­day that “the su­per­vi­sion unit of the civil ad­min­is­tra­tion has con­fis­cated seven car­a­vans which il­le­gally erected next to Mitzpe Jeri­cho last week.”

The com­mu­nity of 70 Ja­halin Be­duin live near the city of Ma’aleh Adu­mim, along Route 1 in the cor­ri­dor lead­ing down from Jerusalem to the Dead Sea.

The non­govern­men­tal groups Re­gavim and the Jerusalem Pe­riph­ery Fo­rum, which mon­i­tor il­le­gal Be­duin and Pales­tinian build­ing in that area, wel­comed the IDF’s quick re­sponse.

The fo­rum’s land co­or­di­na­tor, Yaniv Aha­roni, ac­cused the EU of “bullish be­hav­ior,” and of harm­ing Is­raeli rule of law in the area by con­tin­u­ally pro­mot­ing il­le­gal con­struc­tion.

His group and Re­gavim have long ar­gued that the EU is help­ing the Pales­tinian cre­ate facts on the ground to so­lid­ify the Arab pres­ence in Area C of the West Bank.

Of the EU, Aha­roni said, there is no end to their “chutz­pah.”

Sun­day’s de­mo­li­tions, he said, “send a clear mes­sage that the EU that their game play­ing is over.”

The EU’s Em­bassy in Tel Aviv could not be reached for com­ment. In the past it has said that it is pro­vid­ing mod­u­lar hous­ing to the Pales­tinian and Be­duin com­mu­ni­ties in that area as a form of hu­man­i­tar­ian as­sis­tance al­lowed un­der in­ter­na­tional law.

It has fur­ther ex­plained that if Is­rael would grant these com­mu­ni­ties build­ing per­mits they would not have build il­le­gally. Is­rael wishes to re­lo­cate the en­camp­ments to per­ma­nent hous­ing near Jeri­cho, but has not se­cured the Ja­halin Be­duin’s agree­ment to do so.

The EU sup­ports the Ja­halin Be­duin in their quest to re­main where they are.

Re­gavim and the Jerusalem Pe­riph­ery Fo­rum have ar­gued that many of the en­camp­ments are new, and present an at­tempt by the PA to gain con­trol of the area, and pre­vent it from be­ing in­cluded in a fu­ture draw­ing of Is­rael’s per­ma­nent bor­ders.

In Paris on Satur­day, US Sec­re­tary of State John Kerry called for the Pales­tinian de­vel­op­ment of Area C of the West Bank.

“Area C needs to open up to greater de­vel­op­ment and com­merce [and] more move­ment [for the Pales­tini­ans],” Kerry said.

Un­der the 1995 Oslo II In­terim Agree­ments, the West Bank was di­vided into: the PA-con­trolled Area A, which in­cludes all the Pales­tinian cities and most of the Arab pop­u­la­tion of the West Bank; Area B, where Is­rael re­tains security con­trol while civil af­fairs are han­dled by the PA; and Area C, in which Is­rael is re­spon­si­ble for both security and all land-re­lated civil mat­ters. While the PA is re­spon­si­ble for ed­u­ca­tion and med­i­cal ser­vices to the Pales­tinian pop­u­la­tion in Area C, con­struc­tion and in­fra­struc­ture nec­es­sary for these ser­vices re­mains in the hands of Is­rael’s Civil Ad­min­is­tra­tion for Judea and Sa­maria.

(Jerusalem Pe­riph­ery Fo­rum)

THE IDF DE­MOL­ISHES seven pre­fab struc­tures Sun­day near Mitzpeh Jeri­cho. The build­ings, paid for by the EU, were meant to house Ja­halin Be­duin.

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