EU demands compensation from Israel for demolished West-Bank facilities
Over the past two days, Israeli forces have demolished dozens of residential tents and livestock pens in Khirbet Hamsa Al-Fawqa, a Palestinian village that has been repeatedly targeted by Israel as part of plans to annex the Jordan Valley area.
The head of the European Union’s mission to the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Sven Kuhn von Burgsdorff, visited the site to view the destruction first hand, accompanied by Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh.
Burgsdorff met with families who were forced to spend Thursday night in the open air and denounced the destruction, noting that he had previously visited the site in November, when a similar demolition operation was conducted.
“Although we contacted the Israeli authorities and urged them to respect international law, this did not work,” said Burgsdorff in a press statement.
“We returned today to Hamsa to hear the residents and understand what can be done to help them, and to affirm the need to respect international law,” he added.
During his visit to the site, Shtayyeh highlighted the importance of the Jordan Valley and the steadfastness of its Palestinian inhabitants, as he helped to rebuild one of the tents destroyed by Israeli forces.
"Today the occupation renews the most horrific forms of settler colonialism which wants to replace the Palestinians," Shtayyeh said.
"What Hamsa is subjected to is a model of aggression that does not stop in Palestinian lands, but is an ongoing series of violations of international law, treaties and agreements," the prime minister added.
Shadi Othman, the European Union's spokesperson in Palestinian territories, confirmed that the EU would be seeking compensation for the destroyed facilities, “especially those funded by the EU in the Jordan Valley, specifically in Khirbet Hamsa Al-Fawqa,” he said.
“The recent demolition operation affected 27 facilities funded by the European Union, and collected from European taxpayers’ money. Therefore, the European Union will call on the occupation to pay compensation for what its forces did,” he said in an interview with The New Arab’s Arabic-language service.
Othman said that the visit by EU officials confirms their support for the continued presence of Palestinians on their native land. He added that a report is being complied to inform all European countries of the scale of the destruction.
"We will do our best to prevent additional demolitions, and to search for solutions to stop such measures,” Othman added.
Murad Ishtiwi, the director of the Palestinian Authority's Wall and Settlements Resistance Authority said that the visit by EU officials was significant but did not offer material support.
“Israel does not respect anyone. It has previously destroyed and confiscated European humanitarian aid for the people in the Jordan Valley, with no care of the reactions. As for the Europeans, they provide tents, water tanks, beds and solar panels, and put their logo on them. But the bulldozers of the occupation devour them without mercy,” Ishtiwi told The New Arab's Arabic service.