The European Union sent a very harsh message to Israel a few days ago regarding the demolition of Palestinian structures in Area C of the West Bank, including some that were built with EU funding. In a meeting with the coordinator of activities in the territories Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai last week, the EU ambassador to Israel, Lars Faaborg Andersen, warned that a continuation of the massive demolition of Palestinian homes in the West Bank is liable to harm relations between the EU and Israel.
According to international law, Israel has full civil and security control of Area C. In legal terms, this is not under dispute. If you want to build there, there is only a single authority through which you must apply for permits: the IDF. Everything else that is built is illegal, by definition.
The EU is complaining that Israel is upholding the law.
Now, there is nothing wrong with the EU complaining that Israel is applying the law unevenly, or for them to use diplomacy to loosen up the permit program. But Israel is obligated to enforce its laws on building in Area C.
When the EU says that Israel must allow illegal building, they are saying that the Oslo accords and the accords that followed - the only documents in international law that determine who is responsible for the West Bank's day to day affairs - are nul and void. Moreover, they are saying that instead of the final border being determined by negotiations, which is the official position of the Western world, they are saying that much of Area C is already Palestinian territory before the fact.
|Israel demolishing a Jewish home in Beit El, July 2015|
Interestingly, when the IDF demolished Jewish-owned buildings in Bet El last year, the EU did not consider that action to be illegal. Apparently, the official EU policy is that if a home is built illegally by a Jew in Area C it must be demolished but if it is built by or for Arabs then it must be allowed, without any building permits.
It sounds an awful lot like antisemitism.
I'm sure that they EU has some good reasons why it isn't, though. And also why they can be considered an honest broker in any peace conference.
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