EU slams east Jerusalem demolitions

Filed on May 16, 2011

JERUSALEM - European Commissioner for humanitarian aid Kristalina Georgieva urged Israel on Sunday to stop the demolition of Palestinian homes in east Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank.

“Any action that leads to forced displacement must stop,” Georgieva said in a statement released at the end of a visit to the West Bank city of Ramallah where she had talks with Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad.

“The legitimate right of the Israeli people to live in peace and security does not clear Israel of its obligation as occupying power to respect international humanitarian law,” she said.

According to the European Union, some 60,000 Palestinians face the risk of being evicted from their homes in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem.

Georgieva, the EU commissioner for international cooperation, humanitarian aid and crisis response, said the European Union was providing these Palestinians with legal assistance, cash and psychological support.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat has been pushing a controversial major re-zoning programme for east Jerusalem, which includes demolishing several homes, a move that has been fuelling tensions in the flashpoint Holy City.

The Palestinians see east Jerusalem as the capital of their promised state and oppose any attempts to extend Israel’s control over the part of the city that was captured in the 1967 Six Day War.

Israel considers the whole of Jerusalem its “eternal and indivisible” capital.

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