EU states demand compensation for demolished Palestinian schools

COMPILED FROM WIRE SERVICES
ISTANBUL
Published 19.10.2017 17:29

Eight EU member states will demand compensation after two schools designed for Palestinian children that they funded were demolished by Israel, the Palestinian ambassador to the European Union and Belgium said on Thursday.

According to Ambassador Abdel-Rahim al-Farra the member states, which were not named, prepared a memorandum demanding payment for Israel's demolition of two schools in the West Bank last August.

Belgium said in August that they would demand compensation for the structures and for solar panels, which supplied electricity to a separate school and were seized by the Israeli army.

France, Spain, Sweden, Luxembourg, Italy, Ireland and Denmark are following suit, according to Israeli daily Haaretz.

The newspaper reported late Wednesday that the protest letter -- the first of its kind -- was expected to be delivered to Israeli Foreign Ministry officials within days.

According to Haaretz, the letter includes a demand for $35,400 from the Israeli government in compensation for confiscated or demolished homes and structures.

Haaretz also quoted a senior Israeli Foreign Ministry official as recounting how Belgian Ambassador to Israel Oliver Belle had stated earlier this year that if Israel did not return confiscated equipment, Brussels would "formally demand compensation".

The ministry official reportedly went on to say Belle had "managed to persuade his colleagues to turn the demand into an agreed-upon position that would be officially conveyed to Israel".

IThe Israeli and Belgian foreign ministers declined to comment on the initiative.

Israeli authorities frequently demolish Palestinian and Bedouin structures -- both inside Israel and in the occupied West Bank -- on the pretext that they were built without government permission.

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