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EU passes resolution blasting Israel over plans for Bedouin neighborhood

The European Union passed a resolution condemning Israel and instructing the country not to demolish the Bedouin neighborhood of Khan al-Ahmar, whose 180 residents Israel wants to relocate.

European Union flags in front of the European Commission building in Brussels. Credit: Amio Cajander via Wikimedia Commons.
European Union flags in front of the European Commission building in Brussels. Credit: Amio Cajander via Wikimedia Commons.

The European Union passed a resolution on Thursday condemning Israel and instructing the country not to demolish the Bedouin neighborhood of Khan al-Ahmar, whose 180 residents Israel wants to relocate. The final tally was 320 votes in favor and 277 against, with 34 abstentions.

Unlike the E.U. legislature’s previous resolutions dealing with the Israeli-Arab conflict, this one did not receive the backing from the European People’s Party and the European Conservatives and Reformists groups, which refused to co-sign it.

Israel’s High Court of Justice ruled last week to affirm the decision, though it urged the Israeli Defense Forces to achieve an amicable resolution. An injunction preventing the demolition was lifted on Tuesday.

Groups such as the American Jewish Committee blasted the resolution.

“It’s simply irresponsible to turn a political disagreement into careless and dangerous accusations of ‘a grave breach of international humanitarian law,’ ” said Daniel Schwammenthal, director of the AJC Transatlantic Institute, the American Jewish Committee’s (AJC) E.U. office. “The gratuitously strong language in this resolution and its veiled threats against Israel have undermined Parliament’s standing as a serious player and honest broker between Israel and the Palestinians.”

“Peace will inevitably follow when Palestinians reject incitement and violence, build stable political structures free of corruption, and prepare their people for reconciliation and compromises,” he added. “Unfortunately, the Palestinian society is developing in the opposite direction. If the E.U. really wants to preserve the viability of a future Palestinian state, it ought to focus its considerable leverage instead on working against these worrying trends.”

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