Published: Wed, July 24, 2019
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

France Condemns Israeli Demolitions of Palestinian Homes

France Condemns Israeli Demolitions of Palestinian Homes

Israeli forces began demolishing a number of Palestinian homes on the outskirts of East Jerusalem on Monday despite protests and worldwide criticism.

Bulldozers and hundreds of soldiers started tearing down buildings in Sur Baher after forcing residents out.

The Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Ishtaye addressed reporters at the opening of the weekly cabinet meeting in the West Bank city of Ramallah that most of the demolished and threatened buildings fall within the areas designated "A" and "B", and by doing this, accusing Israel of violating worldwide law and agreements.

Its political geography is complicated by the fact that parts of it lie outside the municipal boundaries of Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem but on the Israeli side of the barrier, cutting it off from the rest of the West Bank.

The International Court of Justice ruled in 2004 that the barrier, which cuts deep into the occupied Palestinian territories, violates international law.

The demolitions would see 17 people displaced and another 350 affected, the United Nations says. The move could leave the Palestinians who live in them homeless.

"I built this house stone by stone. Now I am losing everything", Tareq al-Wahash, 37, told Reuters.

Erektat said in a press statement that he has sent identical communications to world governments over Israeli violation in East Jerusalem, asking them to cooperate with the ICC in order to launch an immediate investigation into "the crimes of war criminals and Israeli officials".

It said it had "the aim of exposing the journalists - some of whom come from countries that do not have diplomatic relations with Israel - to Israeli positions on diplomatic and geopolitical issues". Israel officials have considered the settlements as a threat to regional security.

"Among other things, the destruction of private property in occupied territory is only permissible where rendered absolutely necessary for military operations, which is not applicable".

The Israeli military declared this area - outside Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem, bordering the West Bank - a buffer zone, closed to construction.

"The continuation of this policy undermines the viability of the two-state solution and the prospect for a lasting peace", the European Union said in a statement.

Israel has come under fire from the Palestinians and the worldwide community over the demolition of 12 residential buildings in an area known as Wadi al-Hummus, which is part of the southern Jerusalem neighborhood of Sur Baher.

An Israeli watchdog group says Israeli settlers have established dozens of unauthorized settlement outposts in the West Bank, a lot of them founded since President Donald Trump entered office.

Israel says the barrier's goal is to prevent infiltrations from the West Bank by Palestinian attackers, but Palestinians say it is a tool to take over occupied land.

Israel plans to demolish 16 residential buildings in Wadi al-Hummus under the pretext that they were close to the Israeli security fence.

Sur Baher is one of those places.

The barrier route was subsequently changed, but the PA continued to have authority over civil affairs in Wadi Hummus, including planning and zoning.

The Palestinian Authority had granted permits for the structures to be built around 10 years ago, according to media reports.

However, the buildings are close to the separation barrier, which Israel credits with reducing terrorist attacks.

Global and local activists were mobilized to the area and documented the demolitions.

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