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France condemns Israel’s demolition of Palestinian schools

French President Emmanuel Macron (L) welcomes Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) in Paris, France on 16 July 2017 [Mustafa Yalçın/Anadolu Agency]
French President Emmanuel Macron (L) welcomes Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) in Paris, France on 16 July 2017 [Mustafa Yalçın/Anadolu Agency]

France condemned yesterday Israel’s demolitions carried out last week to a number of Palestinian school structures in the occupied Jerusalem and the West Bank few days before the start of the new school year.

In an official statement, the French foreign ministry denounced the Israeli demolitions, including a European Union (EU)-funded school in Bethlehem’s eastern village of Jubbet ad-Dib, the destruction of a kindergarten in Jerusalem’s eastern Bedouin village of Jabal Al-Baba, and the confiscation of solar panels that feed a France-funded primary school in the Abu Nuwar area, east of Al-Eizariya town.

“This destruction, which is contrary to international law, is all the more disturbing since it has notably taken place in the area known as E1 (between East Jerusalem and the settlement of the Ma’ale Adumim),”the ministry noted.

Such an area, the ministry stressed, “is of strategic importance for the viability of a future Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as capital and for the two-state solution, to which France reaffirms its support.”

The French ministry statement pointed out that most of the confiscated facilities were funded by European and French donors.

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The EU donors have approached the Israeli authorities in an attempt to secure restore=ing the confiscated properties. These confiscations have also been repeatedly condemned by the EU, the ministry added.

‘We call on the Israeli authorities to return the confiscated property and to put an end to this destruction that forms part of their settlement policy in the West Bank and East Jerusalem,’ the statement read.

Early 2017, the Israeli forces demolished 259 buildings located in the so-called Area C and in East Jerusalem, at a time when the Israeli government has approved plans to construct some 10,000 new settlement housing units, which amounts to one third of the total Israeli-built housing units in 2016.

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