“The significance of this development is not only the creation of a greater Jerusalem that controls the center of the West Bank” says ICAHD Director Dr. Jeff Halper “but the emergence of Israeli Occupation territorial contiguity, that effectively eliminates the two state solution.”
European Union Ambassador to Israel, Andrew Standley, submitted a formal protest to the Israeli Foreign Ministry over plans to displace Bedouin, and demolition of Palestinian homes in the E1 area near the West Bank settlement of Ma’aleh Adumim, reported Haaretz on Friday.
The EU Ambassador also expressed profound concern over the deterioration in the Palestinian residents situation in the West Bank Area C, under Israeli control. He cited the rise in the number of houses demolished by Israel, an excess of 500 in 2011, resulting in more than 1,000 Palestinians displaced.
Following a briefing and field visit lead by ICAHD Co-Director Itay Epshtain, and Advocates Michael Sfard and Emily Schaeffer, European foreign ministers received a report compiled by the European consuls in Ramallah and East Jerusalem on the situation of the Palestinians in Area C of the West Bank. The report cited a rise in the number of Palestinian houses demolished by Israel, and the growing distress of the Palestinians living in Area C. “ICAHD has long cautioned about the emergence of a greater Jerusalem” said Epshtain “linking the Judaization of East Jerusalem and displacement of Bedouin in E1, with the development of Ma’aleh Adumim, all the way to the Jordan Valley.”
According to the Israeli daily, Haaretz, EU foreign ministers have also received information from human rights organizations, referring to ICAHD’s publication ‘Nowhere left to Go: Arab al-Jahalin Bedouin Ethnic Displacement’, saying Israel is planning to forcefully transfer some 3,000 Bedouins of the Arab al-Jahalin tribe from their residence in the E1 area, to allow for the expansion of illegal settlement Ma’aleh Adumim.
The European Union report on Area C and Palestinian State Building of July 2011 reads: “The Palestinian presence in Area C has continually been undermined through different administrative measures, planning regulations and other means adopted by Israel as occupying power. The increasing integration of Area C into Israel proper has left Palestinian communities in the same area ever more isolated. During the past year there have been a further deterioration of the overall situation in Area C. If current trends are not stopped and reversed, the establishment of a viable Palestinian state within the pre-1967 borders seems more remote than ever. The window for a two-state solution is rapidly closing with the continued expansion of Israeli settlements and access restrictions for Palestinians in Area C, the only contiguous area in the West Bank surrounding Area A and B.”
Halper referred to the EU protest saying: “The EU is picking up on ICAHD’s long standing analysis which connects seemingly unrelated developments on the ground to the larger political picture.”