Janez Lenarcic, the European Commissioner for Crisis Management, stated this weekend that the Israeli occupation should reimburse the European Union for the structures they are demolishing in the West Bank that were constructed with EU finances.
This statement was made in response to 24 European Parliament members who contacted the commission with regards to Israel‘s plan to demolish numerous homes in Masafer Yatta, which were funded by the European Union and its member countries.
The MEPs wrote to Lenarcic to remind the commission that they had previously asked Israel to reimburse the loss of European taxpayers‘ money, and that those diplomatic efforts had not been successful.
“In financial terms, Israel did not shoulder the consequences for the illegal demolitions and the violations of human rights,” the members of parliament wrote.
Lenarcic responded that “in a number of incidents, Israel has been asked to return or compensate for assets financed by the Union that that were destroyed, dismantled, or confiscated,” and that the European Union is continuing to work in this regard through a range of diplomatic and political channels.
The commissioner also said that representatives of the European Union often visit the area to warn against the demolition of the buildings and that “the commission follows all the demolitions and confiscations of buildings financed by donors, including properties financed by the European Union and the accompanying financial damage.”
However, he added that “at this stage, the list of possible steps to ensure compensation from Israel for European financing that went down the drain in the demolitions has not yet come up for discussion” in the Council of Europe.
According to him, “the council should decide on the possible adoption of the means that the union will use” to ensure compensation.
About 1000 Palestinians living in Masafer Yatta are inhabitants of eight villages. The Israeli occupation proclaimed the area a military firing zone over two decades ago in response to a petition to the High Court of Justice filed by local residents. The petition argues that these people had occupied the area prior to it being designated a firing zone, thus making their displacement unlawful.