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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 18 June 2018

EU countries demand compensation from Israel over West Bank demolitions

Israel confiscated solar panels and destroyed mobile structures provided by the European nations to Palestinian communities

Eight European nations have demanded Israel return items it confiscated from Palestinian communities in the West Bank. Photo by: Ilan Mizrahi
Eight European nations have demanded Israel return items it confiscated from Palestinian communities in the West Bank. Photo by: Ilan Mizrahi

Israel is facing compensation demands from eight European Union countries after it confiscated and destroyed structures funded by the states in an area of the occupied West Bank.

A letter signed by the European nations, which was first reported by French newspaper Le Monde, demands €30,000 (Dh130,000) to compensate for Israel’s actions.

Israeli newspaper Haaretz, citing a senior European diplomat, said the protest letter, which is “the first of its kind”, is set to be delivered to senior Israeli foreign ministry officials within a few days.

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Belgium is thought to be leading the protest, with France, Spain, Sweden, Luxembourg, Italy, Ireland and Denmark also involved in putting together the letter.

The eight countries provide humanitarian assistance to Area C in the West Bank and had installed solar panels, which were confiscated, and built mobile structures to serve as classrooms in Palestinian communities, which were destroyed by Israeli authorities.

The letter states that if Israel does not return the confiscated items then it will demand the €30,000 compensation, arguing the country has contravened international law in its actions.

Diplomats from the eight countries had previously met with an Israeli foreign ministry official to protest the confiscation and the treatment of Palestinian communities.

Belgium’s ambassador to Israel Olivier Belle is believed to have led the latest calls for compensation and persuaded the other seven European nations that such an approach was necessary.

Israel rejects the demand, as it argues that European activity in the area does not constitute humanitarian assistance instead illegal development done without Israel’s consent. Whereas the European countries argue they are acting under the Geneva Convention by providing humanitarian aid to the area.