EU slams Israeli decision to demolish West Bank Bedouin village
A statement from the EU denounced the intended destruction of the Khan al-Ahmar village, which comes at the same time as the construction of more Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian land.
"Building new settlements for Israelis while demolishing Palestinian homes in the same area will only further entrench a one-state reality of unequal rights, perpetual occupation and conflict," the statement said.
The EU referenced a decision made Wednesday to approve the construction of nearly 2,000 settlement units in the West Bank, while demolishing Khan al-Ahmar that is situated in the "the main land reserve of a viable and contiguous Palestinian state".
Israel says the village in Area C - which has 180 inhabitants and is located near several Israeli settlements east of Jerusalem - was built without a permit.
"These developments, alongside a number of other related actions taken in recent months, seriously undermine the viability of a negotiated two-state solution and the prospects for a lasting peace," the statement said.
"In line with our long-standing position on Israel's settlement policy - illegal under international law - and actions taken in that context, such as forced transfers, evictions, demolitions and confiscations of homes, the EU expects the Israeli authorities to reconsider and reverse these decisions."
The EU said it has raised the issue directly with the Israeli authorities.
On Wednesday, UK Minister of State for the Middle East Alistair Burt visited the village and called on the Israeli government to show restraint.
"We are very concerned about the impact of the court case last week and the imminent demolition," he told AFP during the visit.
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Forcible transfer is considered a violation of the Geneva Conventions.
Burt said they were still seeking to find an alternative to the demolition, but stopped short of threatening any direct measures against the Israeli government.
Eid Abu Khamis, a spokesman for the village, told AFP he had heard messages of support from Western governments for many years but had seen little practical steps to stop Israel.
He told Burt he would like to see action, rather than condemnation.
All settlements are considered illegal under international law.