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EU countries demand compensation for Israel demolitions in West Bank

After Israeli forces demolishes the school in Bethlehem district of West Bank, the school was re-opened by the Palestinian Ministry of Education following reconstruction work done by activists [Mamoun Wazwaz/Anadolu Agency]

Eight European Union member states have demanded €30,000 ($35,400) in compensation from Israel for the confiscation and demolition of structures in the occupied West Bank.

The official protest letter, described by Israeli paper Haaretz as “the first of its kind”, is reportedly set to be delivered to senior Israeli Foreign Ministry officials within a few days. The existence of the letter was first reported by French newspaper Le Monde.

The Belgian government is said to be leading the way, joined by France, Spain, Sweden, Luxembourg, Italy, Ireland and Denmark.

All eight countries are members of the “West Bank Protection Consortium”, which coordinates humanitarian assistance to Area C – around 60 per cent – of the West Bank.

Palestinians living in Area C face systematic discrimination when it comes to planning and housing, and a number of NGOs and European governments have been providing support to communities targeted by the Israeli authorities for demolitions.

Read: $800m lost annually due to occupation of Jordan Valley

In this particular instance, the eight European governments are protesting the confiscation of solar panels, as well as the demolition of mobile structures that were financed in various Palestinian communities to serve as classrooms.

The letter stresses that if Israel does not unconditionally return the equipment it seized, then compensation will be demanded. The letter also notes that the demolition and seizure of humanitarian equipment contravenes Israel’s obligations under international law.

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