1100 GMT January 15, 2019
The Palestinians say the tearing down of Khan al-Ahmar is part of an Israeli plan to create an arc of settlements that would effectively cut off Al-Quds from the West Bank — areas Israel occupied in 1967 and which Palestinians seek for an independent state.
Israel’s top court last Wednesday rejected petitions against the demolition of Khan al-Ahmar and said a temporary injunction that had put a hold on the move would lapse in a week.
In a statement, the five European Union powers said, “We therefore join (EU) High Representative/Vice President (Federica) Mogherini in reiterating our call to Israel not to go ahead with its plan to demolish the village — including its school — and displace its residents.”
They added, “The consequences a demolition and displacement would have on the residents of this community, including their children, as well as on the prospects of the two-state solution would be very serious.”
Palestinians want the West Bank as part of a future independent Palestinian state, with Al-Quds as its capital.
The last round of Israeli-Palestinian talks collapsed in 2014. Among the major sticking points in those negotiations was Israel’s continued settlement expansion on Palestinian territories.
Most countries consider settlements built by Israel on land it took in 1967 as illegal and an obstacle to peace.
The EU representative office said in July that settlement expansion had continued at a faster rate in the first six months of this year than between July and December 2017, with more than 6,000 housing units in the West Bank including Al-Quds in different stages of the planning and implementation process.
Under the administration of US President Donald Trump, Israel has increasingly become emboldened in its settlement expansion.