Demolished West Bank buildings trigger EU compensation claim


Eight European Union countries are demanding thousands of euros in compensation from Israel for demolishing buildings and equipment built for Palestinian communities in the West Bank.

The EU-funded project in the Jordan Valley included mobile homes and solar panels erected for a Bedouin community, located in Area C of the West Bank, a portion where Israel has full military and civil control.

But Israel claimed that the non-governmental organisation which built the structures did not seek planning permission in advance.

The EU group of countries — led by Belgium and including Italy, France, Spain, Sweden, Luxembourg, Denmark and Ireland — have demanded €30,000 from the Israeli government in what has been termed a “symbolic” protest.

Separate objections were raised by the Netherlands in June after a number of solar panels it funded where removed by the Israeli military from Jib a-Dib, a small village that is not connected to the electricity grid.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte complained directly to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the solar panels were returned three weeks ago.

The development came as Likud ministers risked diplomatic upset through proposals to change the municipal borders of Jerusalem to cover a number of settlements in the West Bank.

Transport Minister Yisrael Katz has proposed extending the jurisdiction to the nearby West Bank settlements of Ma’ale Adumim, Gush Etzyon, Givat Ze’ev and Beitar Illit.

The practical effects were unclear because each settlement’s local council will remain. Sources told the JC that the move was designed to appease right wing calls for an annexation.

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