Illegal Arab building demolished (file)
Illegal Arab building demolished (file)Flash 90

Israeli authorities on Tuesday demolished an EU-funded illegal Arab settlement in Jerusalem, the European Union said, attacking the move.

"We condemn today's demolition of temporary shelters funded by the European Union... as part of its response to the needs of the affected communities," an EU statement said.  

An expose by the Regavim NGO - first published last year by Arutz Sheva but later picked up by major UK outlet the Daily Mail in February of this year - revealed how EU funds have helped to pay for some 200 illegal buildings for Bedouin settlers in Judea and Samaria, just outside Jerusalem.

The EU funding, aimed at creating "facts on the ground", was denounced by an Israeli group as "European colonialism."

The structures demolished on Tuesday were small metal constructions put up on the outskirts of Arab neighborhood Issawiya, an AFP correspondent said. The area was empty of residents following the demolition by bulldozer.

A spokeswoman for the Jerusalem municipality said the process was initiated by the Israel Nature and Parks Authority.

A spokeswoman for the authority told AFP the structures were in a national park within the jurisdiction of the Jerusalem municipality, which had been informed of the violation and demolished the structures.

A spokesman for Regavim said the move was unusual, noting "this doesn't happen every day, and it certainly doesn't happen to EU buildings."

Regavim repeatedly lobbied the Israeli government to demolish the thousands of illegal Arab buildings scattered throughout Judea and Samaria.

The NGO monitors illegal Arab settlements throughout Israel. One of the group's research drones was nearly downed in the same area on Monday by rock-throwing Arab settlers.