RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — EU representatives condemned Israel’s failure to meet its obligations to Palestinians in Area C during a meeting with the Palestinian Prime Minister on Tuesday.
The remarks came following Rami Hamdallah’s signing of an agreement with the EU for €3.5 million ($3.83 million) to support Palestinian communities in Area C in the occupied West Bank through the funding of infrastructure projects.
Hamdallah signed the agreement after meeting with an EU delegation to discuss recent political developments and the government’s plans regarding the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip and supporting Jerusalem, in addition to supporting Palestinians in Area C.
International donors regularly contribute to land development and infrastructure across Area C, which makes up 61 percent of the occupied West Bank and is under full military and administrative control by Israel.
While the Israeli Civil Administration is responsible for developing infrastructure in the area, any development often only supports Israeli settlers illegally living in the area, while efforts to develop existing Palestinian communities are thwarted.
As a result, Palestinians in Area C lack basic services and infrastructure including roads, waste treatment facilities, water facilities, and access to medical facilities, while gaining construction permits is generally impossible.
EU signer of the funding agreement Michael Kohler stressed the serious limitations faced by the Palestinian Authority in promoting social and economic development of Palestinian communities, while EU representative John Gatt-Rutter emphasized that Area C is an integral part of the occupied Palestinian territory, comprised of crucial natural resources and land for a viable Palestinian State.
“Without this area, the two state solution — that we have invested in for years — will be impossible,” Gatt-Rutter said at the signing.
“We call again upon Israel to meet its obligations regarding the living conditions of the Palestinian population in Area C, including by accelerated approval of Palestinian master plans, halting forced transfer of population and demolition of Palestinian housing and infrastructure, simplifying administrative procedures to obtain building permits, ensuring access to water and addressing humanitarian needs.”