EU cautions Israel against demolition of Palestinian homes
European Union governments Wednesday cautioned Israel against demolishing some 90 buildings in East Jerusalem, warning it would deprive more than 1,000 Palestinians of their homes, dpa reported.
"If implemented, the demolition would deprive more than 1,000 Palestinians of their homes and would be the largest destruction of Palestinian houses in East Jerusalem since 1967," the Czech presidency of the EU said in a statement issued on behalf of the bloc's 27 member states.
"The EU reminds Israel of its obligations under the Roadmap and international law. Demolition of houses in this sensitive area threatens the viability of a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement, in conformity with international law," the statement said.
In February, shops, businesses and schools in the West Bank took part in a general strike protesting at Israel's decision to demolish homes in the Jerusalem area village of Silwan to make place for a national park.
Silwan, which is south of the Old City wall of Jerusalem where 45,000 Palestinians live, is the location of the biblical City of King David. Israel has been carrying out excavations in that area, raising concerns among Palestinians that the digs may damage the structures of their homes.
Jerusalem's new mayor, Nir Barkat, has since denied accusations that the demolitions are discriminatory, saying his main concern is to uphold the law and target all illegal constructions found anywhere in Jerusalem.
US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton described the destruction of homes in Jerusalem during her visit to Ramallah last week as "unhelpful" and not in keeping with the roadmap obligations.