Thursday, 17 May 2012

EU denounces Israel’s destruction of aid projects in West Bank

BRUSSELS (IPS) - All 27 foreign ministers of the European Union this week criticized Israeli demolitions in the occupied West Bank. Since the beginning of 2011, no fewer than 60 EU-funded projects have been demolished while 110 others are currently at risk. Several analysts claim the Israeli authorities are specifically targeting EU-funded projects.

The demolitions have taken place in Area C, which comprises about 60 percent of the West Bank and is under full Israeli military and civilian control. The EU’s focus on this area is a consequence of reports that show an increase in Israeli demolitions of Palestinian homes and infrastructure, including projects paid for with European taxpayer money.

The EU’s foreign ministers called on Israel this week to remove restrictions on Palestinian construction and economic development projects in Area C. They also denounced Israeli settler violence against Palestinians and asked the Israeli government to prosecute such actions.

Against the background of the foreign ministers’ meeting in Brussels, anti-poverty groups in the West Bank compiled new data on demolitions of EU projects. According to data gathered by the Displacement Working Group, a coordinating body of international humanitarian and development organizations in Palestine, at least 62 structures funded by France, Netherlands, the UK, Poland, Ireland, Spain, Sweden and the European Commission have been demolished by Israel since the beginning of 2011. Water cisterns, animal shelters and people’s homes, among others, are on the list of demolished structures. more

Israeli tanks fire on northern Gaza Strip near Beit Lahiya, 7 farmers njured

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- Seven people were injured on Thursday when Israeli forces fired artillery rounds at the northern and eastern Gaza Strip, medics said.

Gaza medical spokesman Adham Abu Salmiya told Ma'an that two people were seriously wounded and five moderately injured when Israeli forces opened fire on Beit Lahiya, north Gaza, and east of Gaza City.

Most of the victims were farmers, Abu Salmiya said. more