Heads of Mission and representatives from the EU, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, visited today the sensitive areas of Givat Hamatos, Har Homa, and the E-1 area in East Jerusalem. In these areas, Israel has taken significant steps towards advancing settlements with the recent announcement of an additional 5000 housing units in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
The Heads of Mission and representatives met residents, community representatives and civil society organisations active in the communities. Interlocutors presented the challenges and humanitarian hardship facing the inhabitants incurred by settlements, demolitions, and the separation barrier. A Bedouin community residing in Wadi Jimel, located just outside of the nearby jurisdictional boundaries of both Ma’ale Adumim and the E1 plan, has become increasingly vulnerable since 2005 when Israel issued a seizure order for the land and a plan to construct part of the separation barrier just north of the community. The community has since been denied the ability to cross the area designated for the barrier, which has hindered their access to grazing land and water springs resulting in a loss of livelihood and food insecurity.
"The European Union Member States and likeminded partner countries represented here today are concerned about the continued settlement expansion and the constant threat of demolition of property and eviction faced by the local communities." said the European Union Representative Sven Kühn von Burgsdorff. "We call upon Israel to halt all settlement activity, including in and around East Jerusalem in areas such as Har Homa, Givat Hamatos and E1. These plans jeopardise the viability and territorial contiguity of a future Palestinian State with Jerusalem as the future capital of the two states, as the outcome of a negotiated two-state solution and in line with the internationally agreed parameters,” he added.
The states involved in today’s visit continue to make clear their strong opposition to Israel's settlement policy and actions, reiterating the illegality of settlements under international law and their imminent threat to ongoing efforts to rebuild trust between the parties. As stated consistently, the EU and likeminded partners will not recognise any changes to the pre-1967 borders, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties.