EU recommendation to ask Israel to pay for demolished EU-funded West Bank facilities

PNN/ Bethlehem/

The European Union forum that deals with Middle East affairs is recommending that the EU’s 28 member states ask Israel to reimburse them for the demolition of buildings and infrastructure projects in Area C of the West Bank that they helped finance, European and Israeli diplomats told Haaretz.

European diplomats attributed the new non-binding resolution to the lack of progress in negotiations between Israel and EU over the situation in Area C.

The negotiations involved, among other issues, the European demand to stop the demolition of Palestinian structures Israel claims were built illegally, including many built with European funding.

The committee comprises Middle East experts from all 28 member states. The committee’s resolution are not binding but can be used as the basis for binding resolutions that may be adopted later by the EU’s Political and Security Committee.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry was outraged by the resolution and has lodged protests with the EU and several member states.

The European diplomats said that Germany categorically objected to the move and managed to soften the resolution so that it only recommends requesting compensation, saying member states could do so if they chose.

In the European Parliament, pressure in the opposite direction is being brought to bear on EU Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini by EU Parliament members who are demanding tough action against Israel for demolishing projects built by the EU or by member states.

In addition to the EU itself, several EU states help build Palestinian structures or infrastructures in Area C directly, among them several key allies of Israel such as Germany, Italy, Britain, France and Poland. Demolishing these structures or even just issuing demolition orders puts stress on Israel’s ties to these countries. Demands for compensation by these countries could lead to serious diplomatic crises.

Source: The Palestinian Information Center