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EU committee recommends Israel pays for Area C demolitions

A European Union (EU) committee has recommended that member states ask Israel to pay compensation for the demolition of donor-funded buildings in Area C of the Occupied West Bank.

According to a report in Haaretz, the recommendation by the EU's Mashreq/Maghreb Working Party, or MaMa committee, "outraged" Israel's Foreign Ministry, which "lodged protests".

Diplomats say the resolution was approved at a MaMa committee meeting two weeks ago. The committee is made up of experts from all 28 member states.

Unnamed European diplomats cited by Haaretz "attributed the resolution to the lack of progress in negotiations between Israel and the EU over the situation in Area C, in which Israel has both military and civilian control." A few rounds of talks held a few months ago "ended without results".

Some states sought a harder resolution that would demand compensation, but "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 response, a "furious" Israeli Foreign Ministry "held difficult talks with EU envoy to Israel Lars Faaborg-Andersen as well as the ambassadors of some leading members of the EU."

European diplomats also told Haaretz that, over the past two weeks, European ambassadors had "warned Israel and asked it to change its policy of demolitions in Area C, but that Israel had refused." One European envoy told senior Foreign Ministry officials: "You can only blame yourselves."

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