In what is being called an “unprecedented move,” eight European countries — members of an initiative called the West Bank Protection Consortium — recently announced that they had drafted a formal letter to the Israeli government, demanding the reimbursement of €30,000. According to Belgium, France, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Luxembourg, Ireland and Denmark, this was the sum spent by the Consortium on materials provided for two structures (modular classrooms equipped with solar panels) erected for Palestinians and Bedouin in the West Bank, and dismantled by Israel at the end of August.
What these EU countries failed to mention, however, is that the structures were illegal, and therefore should not have been built in the first place. Instead, in its letter, the Consortium accused Israel of causing “suffering to Palestinian civilians,” through its “practice of coercive measures such as demolitions and confiscations of humanitarian supplies as well as infrastructure for schools,” and of “contradict[ing] Israel’s engagement according to the international point of view…”
This is worse than disingenuous. Under the 1993 Oslo Accords, signed on the White House lawn between Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat, in the presence of US President Bill Clinton, Area C of the West Bank is under Israeli military and civil jurisdiction, and only Israel has the authority to build or approve building there.
Oslo II, which created the Palestinian Authority (PA), divides the West Bank into three geographical sections – Area A, Area B and Area C — and specifies which government controls each. Area C is under the military and civil jurisdiction of Israel alone.