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Israel’s settlement construction, forcible evictions of Palestinians illegal under international law

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A member of the Israeli forces stands by the ruins of a Palestinian house they demolished in Sheik Jarrah neighborhood of East al-Quds on January 19, 2022. (Photo by AFP)

The European Union has denounced as "illegal" the Israeli regime’s settlement construction policies and its forced expulsions of Palestinians from their ancestral homes, saying such measures are illegal under international law.

“The possibility of further evictions of Palestinian families from homes they have lived in for decades in the Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan neighborhoods of East Jerusalem (al-Quds) poses the risk of fueling tensions on the ground, and contributes to the worrying trend of increasing numbers of demolitions and evictions in the West Bank, including in East Jerusalem (al-Quds),” the EU said in a statement on Thursday in reaction to the demolition of the Salhiya family house in the East al-Quds neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah in the early hours of Wednesday.

The EU also slammed the Tel Aviv regime’s recent approval of plans for the construction of some 3,500 new settler units in the occupied East al-Quds, nearly half of which are to be built in the illegal settlements of Giv'at HaMatos and Har Homa.

It urged Israel not to proceed with the plan and to halt all settlement activities in the occupied al-Quds.

“Settlement expansion, demolitions and evictions are illegal under international law. They exacerbate tensions, threaten the viability of the [so-called] two-state solution and diminish prospects for a lasting peace,” the statement read.

The EU then voiced its readiness to “give the parties full support in opening the path towards the relaunch of the peace process as soon as possible.”

More than 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the West Bank and East al-Quds.

All Israeli settlements are illegal under international law as they are built on occupied land. The United Nations Security Council has condemned Israel’s settlement activities in the occupied territories in several resolutions.

Palestinians want the West Bank as part of a future independent Palestinian state with East al-Quds as its capital.    

Last month, a Palestinian expert said Israel’s settlement projects in the occupied East al-Quds are aimed at changing the demography and the status quo of the city's borders.

Suheil Khalilieh said that Israel seeks to confiscate as much Palestinian land as possible to expand settlements in East al-Quds by taking advantage of the powers granted to the official in charge of the so-called Absentee Property Law. 

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