France Protests Demolition of Bedouin School It Funded

YERUSHALAYIM -

France has objected to the demolition of an illegally built educational structure it had funded in an area under Israeli control in Yehudah and Shomron.

The French Foreign Ministry released a statement asserting its right to build in the area:

“This is a project located in an area identified by the European Union as a key to the viability of the two-state solution,” the French Foreign Ministry said, referring to an encampment of Jahalin Beduin in Area C, near Yerushalayim.

“We deplore the consequences of demolitions and confiscations of humanitarian structures in Yehudah and Shomron, affecting particularly weak populations, and call on the Israeli authorities to end it.”

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu released a statement following a conversation with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini about two weeks ago, stating that “Israel opposes illegal construction in Area C and the parties agreed to continue the dialogue in this regard.”

One Israeli official told The Jerusalem Post that Israel has no objection in principle with humanitarian projects in Area C, but they have to be coordinated with Israeli authorities, and cannot be done unilaterally to “make a political statement.”

“This was what was said to Mogherini,” the official said. “Ultimately the Europeans have to make a choice: if they want to make political statements they will not have a partner, but they will have a partner for humanitarian projects that are coordinated with us.”

The office of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories said that it had razed four caravans that were put up without permits last Friday. The encampment, which is also unauthorized, is located in an unbuilt area of Maaleh Adumim known as E1.

Israel wants to relocate the encampment to the nearby village of Abu Dis, also in Area C.