Israeli bulldozers destroy EU-funded shelters in East Jerusalem
Israeli authorities on Tuesday demolished EU-funded shelters in occupied East Jerusalem, the European Union said, denouncing the move.
"We condemn today's demolition of temporary shelters funded by the European Union ... as part of its response to the needs of the affected communities," an EU statement said.
EU funds have helped to pay for some 200 temporary buildings used as shelters in villages inhabited by Bedouin communities in the West Bank, just outside East Jerusalem.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem in 1967 and later annexed it in a move never recognised by the international community.
The structures demolished on Tuesday were small metal constructions put up on the outskirts of the Palestinian neighbourhood of Issawiya, an AFP correspondent said.
The area was empty of residents following the demolition by bulldozer.
The Jerusalem municipality said the process was initiated by the Israel Nature and Parks Authority.
A spokeswoman for the authority told AFP the structures were in a national park within the jurisdiction of the Jerusalem municipality, which had been informed of the violation and demolished the structures.
A spokesman for Regavim, a rightwing lobby group, said the move was unusual.
"This doesn't happen every day, and it certainly doesn't happen to EU buildings," the spokesman told AFP.
Israeli authorities regularly demolish structures inhabited by the Bedouin in the West Bank, and have tried to move communities into housing planned by the state.
Critics say Israel is deliberately displacing the Bedouin in order to build settlements in the area of the West Bank just outside East Jerusalem.
The effective annexation of a corridor running through the middle of the West Bank would make the creation of a contiguous Palestinian state impossible.
Palestinian land levelled near Bethlehem
Meanwhile, Ma’an News Agency reported that Israeli forces levelled private Palestinian land near the village of Kisan southeast of Bethlehem.
The mayor of the village, Hussein Ghazal, told Ma’an that Israeli bulldozers razed 18 acres of land belonging to the Ubayyat family.
Khalid Qaddura, the director of Bethlehem's District Civil Liaison office, said that Israeli authorities had informed his office that they planned to establish a 150-acre industrial zone on Kisan’s land.
Large swathes of the village’s land have already been confiscated by Israel for the Maale Amos and Mizpe Shalem settlements, in addition to the illegal outpost of Eibi Hankhal, according to Ma’an.
Over 500,000 Israeli settlers live in settlements accross the occupied West Bank, despite such settlements being considered illegal under international law.