Israeli forces, on Sunday, notified residents of Khirbet Um al-Jimal, a locale to the east of the West Bank Tubas governorate, of their intentions to demolish their homes, according to a local source. EU High Representative Catherine Ashton has denounced recent Israeli plans to further colonize Palestinian-owned lands.Head of the al-Maleh local council, Aref Daraghmeh, said that Israeli soldiers stormed the area, took photos and verbally notified the residents of intentions to demolish without giving a specific date as to when the order would be implemented.
WAFA notes that Israeli forces have demolished the locale several times in the past years, yet residents keep rebuilding it, refusing to leave their land.
Israel aims to empty the Jordan Valley of Palestinian residents, who are mainly Bedouin, as it plans to keep the area under its control in any future deal with the Palestinians.
Palestinians, on the other hand, say the Jordan Valley, which makes up almost a third of the West Bank, is vital for the future Palestinian state both economically and politically and will not accept any Israeli presence there in any possible future peace deal.
On the international level, WAFA further reports that EU High Representative Catherine Ashton condemned the recent Israeli decisions to approve a plan for new settlement activity in Givat Hamatos, and to allow for further settlement expansion in the neighborhood of Silwan in East Jerusalem.
A statement issued on Friday asserted: “This represents a further highly detrimental step that undermines prospects for a two-state solution and calls into question Israel’s commitment to a peaceful negotiated settlement with the Palestinians.
“The parties’ commitment to a negotiated solution will only be credible if they refrain from unilateral actions that change the situation on the ground and threaten the viability of the two-state solution…We call on the Government of Israel to urgently reverse its decisions and put an end to its settlement policy in East Jerusalem and in the West Bank.”
“The EU will not recognize any changes to the pre-1967 borders, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties. We stress that the future development of relations between the EU and Israel will depend on the latter’s engagement towards a lasting peace based on a two-state solution,’ the statement concluded.