EU diplomats protest Israel’s plans to demolish Palestinian town

Julie Wiener

(JTA) — Diplomats from all 28 European member states’ Jerusalem consulate traveled to the Palestinian town of Susiya to protest Israel’s decision to demolish it.

The delegation visited the town in the Hebron hills on Monday and urged Israel not to evict its 300 residents, saying that the move would reduce the possibility of achieving a two-state solution, the Telegraph (UK) reported.

Israel’s Supreme Court ruled last month that the Civil Administration, Israel’s military governing authority in the West Bank, had the right to demolish Palestinian homes in Susiya because they had been built without permission.

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The town’s residents argue that they had no choice but to build illegally because the Civil Administration rarely grants permits to Palestinians in the West Bank’s Area C, a zone officially controlled by the Israel Defense Forces as per the 1993 Oslo peace accords.

John Gatt-Rutter, the EU’s representative in Jerusalem, said Susiya had become “a byword for a policy that has deprived Palestinians of their land and resources,” according to the Telegraph.

Hundreds of Israelis and Palestinians from the group Combatants for Peace demonstrated in Susiya on June 5, a day that the Palestinians call the Naksa, or “setback,” commemorating their loss of land in the 1967 Six-Day War.