EU-Israel Council is to take place despite the expansion of the occupied Palestinian territories

EU-Israel Council is to take place despite the expansion of the occupied Palestinian territories

The EU-Israel Association Council is preparing to meet for the first time in a decade ahead of November’s general elections in Israel. Palestinian rights groups say Israel has tightened its control over the occupied Palestinian territories through continued settlement building and the activities of its security forces.

In recent years, Israeli settlements have expanded in the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan in east Jerusalem due to its proximity to the site of the Temple, which Israelis refer to as the “City of David.”

“There are about 700 demolition orders for Palestinian homes in Silwan, which has the largest demolition plan in Jerusalem.”activists at the Jerusalem Center for Legal Aid and Human Rights told reporters.

The organization recalled that there were no settlements before the 1993 Oslo Accords, which aimed for a peaceful two-state solution including mutual recognition of Israel and Palestine.

Today, Israeli settlements are gradually expanding in the center of this area.

Rami Naser Eddin, executive director of the Palestinian Vision, a Palestinian youth organization founded in 1998, explained how Israelis manage to persuade or indirectly force Palestinians to live in other parts of Jerusalem.

“They offer you a lot of money for a house or make your life impossible.”

Mr. Eddin said that Palestinians are treated like immigrants in Jerusalem and that they have to submit numerous documents every year to prove that their center of residence is in Jerusalem, otherwise they lose their right to reside. “I need a lawyer for everything”he says, “even just to take out health insurance”.

He also explained his problems regarding his house. “I need to renovate a room, but I don’t have permission from the Israeli authorities for security reasons.”

Settlements are illegal under international law, although the Israeli government denies this claim and uses its armed forces to defend its settlements.

But the elections are coming up

Despite the deteriorating situation, the EU wants to reach an agreement with Israel as soon as possible in view of the upcoming Israeli elections.

When the Association Council was announced in July, EU chief diplomat Josep Borrell stressed that there was no reason to wait until the Israeli elections in November were over.

“Who knows when the next Israeli government will be formed? It can take six months or a year.”said Mr. Borrell.

“Currently, EU member states are finalizing the EU declaration that will guide the EU’s position in the Association Council with Israel.”an EU official told EURACTIV.

The manager added that the meeting would take place “an opportunity to discuss all issues related to EU-Israel relations, including human rights and the Middle East peace process”.

But local organizations say expanding settlements and strengthening Israeli security are reducing the prospects for peace.

During a tour of the settlement near Jericho, a desert area on the border with Jordan, West Bank Protection Consortium representative Christopher Holt told reporters they were alarmed at the lack of accountability for the pattern of human rights abuses committed by the Israeli security forces in the occupied territories are committed areas.

The camps are located in “Area C” of the West Bank, which is under the control of the Israeli government.

A distant solution

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid spoke before the UN General Assembly on Thursday (September 22) in favor of a two-state solution, but stressed that this condition could only be met “A future Palestinian state will be peaceful unless it becomes another terrorist base threatening the well-being and existence of Israel.”

Reference: www.euractiv.fr

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