EU Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva yesterday called for an end to evictions and house demolitions in East Jerusalem on a visit to the area, during which she met Palestinian families who had suffered evictions. The meeting came during a four-day visit to the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel, together with UN Under Secretary General Valerie Amos.
The Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response met yesterday with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, and together they visited the West Bank’s area C, where the Commissioner and the UN Under Secretary-General met the victims of East Jerusalem evictions.
Commissioner Georgieva reiterated the EU’s continued humanitarian support to the most vulnerable among the Palestinians. Following her visit to Jahalin School in Area C and East Jerusalem’s neighbourhood of Sheik Jerrash, she said: “I am particularly moved by the plight of ordinary Palestinian families whom I met in the West Bank’s area C and in East Jerusalem. Notably women and children live under the constant threat of harassment, eviction and disruption of their lives. There is an issue of protection. Any action that leads to forced displacement must stop.”
She added: “This issue combined with serious restrictions on access and movement imposed by the occupying power means that most of the people are denied the possibility for economic and social development. They are denied the right to live a life in dignity.”
A European Commission press release said Jahalin School epitomized the challenges faced by people in the West Bank and in particular in Area C: the risk of demolition of houses and infrastructure, subsequent displacement, shrinking land available, poor access to services, water shortage and communities being subject to settler violence.
Around 60,000 Palestinians (out of 225,000) in East Jerusalem face the risk of eviction from their homes.
The European Union is financing humanitarian projects which provide legal support to people threatened by evictions or cash to allow them to pay the rent in their new homes and basic household items, as well as psychosocial support.
Speaking last week ahead of her departure, Commissioner Georgieva had said: “While all eyes are set on the tremendous changes happening on the political scene with the Arab Spring and the inter-Palestinian reconciliation, we must not forget the humanitarian situation in the occupied Palestinian Territory… During our visit to the region, Valerie Amos and I will engage with the relevant stakeholders to ensure not only the continuous provision of relief, but also of humanitarian access and protection to civilians, in line with international humanitarian principles and law.” (ENPI Info Centre)