Federica Mogherini
Federica MogheriniReuters

The European External Action Service, the diplomatic arm of the European Union, condemned this morning, Thursday, Israeli efforts to demolish illegal Bedouin encampments located east of Jerusalem.

“These demolitions, together with plans for new settlement construction for Israelis in the same area, exacerbate threats to the viability of the two-state solution and further undermine prospects for a lasting peace,” the EEAS said in a statement released Wednesday night.

“In line with our long-standing position on Israel’s settlement policy, illegal under international law, and actions taken in that context, such as forced transfers, evictions, demolitions and confiscations of homes, the EU expects the Israeli authorities to reverse these decisions and fully meet its obligations as an occupying power under International Humanitarian Law.”

The statement followed reports earlier on Wednesday that Israeli law enforcement officials and security personnel were preparing to demolish the Bedouin encampment of Khan al-Ahmar, following years of delays and legal battles.

Khan al-Ahmar contains some 170-180 Palestinian Authority Bedouin and was established in the 1990s with no authorization or building permits. The outpost was built within the town limits of an existing Israeli community – Kfar Adumim – prompting Israeli law enforcement authorities to declare Khan al-Ahmar illegal, and call for its demolition.

After years of appeals to the Israeli judicial system, the Supreme Court upheld lower court decisions ruling that the outpost was indeed illegal and must be removed.

Nickolay Mladenov, the UN’s Middle East envoy, on Wednesday condemned Israel over the impending demolition.

“Israel should stop such actions and plans for relocating Bedouin communities in the occupied West Bank. Such actions are contrary to international law and undermine the two-state solution,” read a tweet from Mladenov.