A new European Union (EU) report says Israel’s illegal actions in the Area C of the West Bank are seriously undermining prospects for the establishment of a viable Palestinian state based on pre-1967 borders.
The internal EU report — which was leaked to journalists on Thursday — says Israel’s demolition of Palestinian homes and farms and the relentless expansion of Jewish settlement coupled with Israel’s restriction on Palestinians’ movement in the occupied territories are eroding chances of an independent Palestinian state.
With the Jewish population now at more than double the shrinking Palestinian population in the largely rural area, the report warns bluntly that, "if current trends are not stopped and reversed, the establishment of a viable Palestinian state within pre-1967 borders seem more remote than ever.”
The 16-page study by EU heads of mission in occupied East Jerusalem and Ramallah urges member states “in coordination with other international actors” to “systematically voice objections” to measures to evict Palestinians from areas under Israeli control.
“Area C comprises crucial natural resources and land for the future demographic and economic growth of a viable Palestinian state,” said the report.
The report, entitled “Area C and Palestinian State Building,” calls for EU support for a wide range of building projects to protect the rights of "ever more isolated" Palestinians in "Area C", a sector that includes all 124 Jewish settlements – illegal in international law – and which is under direct Israeli control. It comprises 62 percent of the West Bank, including the "most fertile and resource rich land.”
The 1993 Oslo Accords between Israel and the Palestinians divides the West Bank into Area A (under full Palestinian control), Area B (under shared Israeli-Palestinian control) and Area C (which is territories under full Israeli security control).
The latest report follows an unprecedented report by EU ambassadors in Israel made public last month which expressed grave concerns over Tel Aviv’s treatment of its Arab minority.