The European Union has begun to engage in precisely the kind of activity against which it constantly cautions Israel: prejudging the outcome of Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations by creating facts on the ground.
In recent weeks, the EU has erected several hundred illegal homes for Palestinians in the disputed territories of Judea and Samaria, the so-called “West Bank.” Most of the new accommodations are to be in the vicinity of the Jerusalem suburb of Ma’aleh Adumim, one of the largest Jewish settlements. And all the homes bear the logo of the EU (as seen pictured).
The Israeli government has thus far failed to publicly respond to this provocation, but Regavim, an NGO focused on legal issues related to land ownership in the territories, has shined a spotlight on the issue.
“It used to be restricted to diplomatic and financial support,” Regavim told journalists during a tour of the area. “But now it is about active cooperation with the Palestinian Authority. …This is part of their plan to unilaterally create a Palestinian state.”
Most of the newer EU houses were built in “Area C,” the part of the West Bank under full Israeli control, and given to the large Bedouin tribes dwelling there.
Regavim further noted that many of the houses were constructed on historically state-owned land, and in some cases on protected nature reserves.
At the end of 2014, the Knesset’s Defense Committee was presented figures showing that over the past year in Area C there were 550 cases of illegal Arab construction (some provided by the EU), compared to just 150 cases of illegal Jewish construction. Nevertheless, it was the Jewish cases alone that made international headlines.