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East Jerusalem demolitions major hindrance to peace settlement in Middle East

10 March, 2009 - by Martina Anderson MEP

9 March, 2009

Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún has called on Israel to immediately halt the demolition of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem. This follows a leaked EU report citing that this particular Israeli policy is severely damaging the prospects for peace. She has also called on the EU to act decisively on the contents of this report

Speaking today Ms de Brún said:

"This report was drafted by senior members of EU member state embassies based in Tel Aviv and has outlined that since 2004 over 400 homes have been demolished with over 1,000 homes having demolition orders pending. This is posing a major obstruction to any peace settlement.

"On top of this the Israeli government has commissioned almost 3,000 new housing units for Israelis in the east of the city.

"This policy of forced evictions, land grabbing and attempts to re-draw borders and boundaries will continue to severely hinder the prospects for peace in the region. The continuation of settlement building and discriminatory practices towards the 210,000 Palestinians living in east Jerusalem exacerbates this.

"These practices include high levels of governmental spending on Israeli held areas while Palestinian areas suffer. The UN has also highlighted the humanitarian needs created by road blocks, closures, demands for special permits and the wall that cuts off many Palestinian farmers from their land and many other Palestinians from the right to travel freely for work, recreation or family reunions.

"This report highlights what I and other MEPs saw at first hand in our recent visit to the area.

"These demolitions must be halted immediately and the Israeli authorities must respect the UN resolutions which demand that occupation by Israel within East Jerusalem must end. The EU must act decisively on the contents of this report in order to promote and preserve the possibility of a two state solution. Without such action the possibility of a viable Palestinian state will soon be destroyed completely." ENDS

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