JERUSALEM, April 16, 2016 (WAFA) - The EU Missions in Jerusalem and Ramallah expressed deep concern over the re-launching of works for the construction of the separation barrier in the Cremisan valley, a valley located on the seam line between the West Bank and Jerusalem, said a statement issued on Friday by the EU press office.
The statement noted that once built, the barrier will severely restrict access of almost 60 Palestinian families to their agricultural land, profoundly affecting their livelihoods.
“EU missions in Jerusalem and Ramallah recall the EU‘s strong opposition to Israel‘s settlement policy and actions taken in this context, such as building the separation barrier beyond the 1967 line, demolitions and confiscation - including of EU funded projects - evictions, forced transfers including of Bedouins, illegal outposts, settler violence and restrictions of movement and access, as most recently stated in the Conclusions of the Foreign Affairs Council on 18 January 2016.”
The statement noted that EU Heads of Mission in Jerusalem and Ramallah have on several occasions visited the site of the planned construction, and repeatedly expressed concern over the planned route of the barrier and reiterated that the barrier is illegal under international law wherever built on occupied land.
According to B’Tselem, an Israeli human rights and information center, “Construction of the barrier in the West Bank gravely violates the rights of Palestinians in the areas affected, restricting their access to their lands, crucial services and relatives on the other side of the barrier.”
“The barrier also prevents any possibility of economic development,” maintained the center.
B’Tselem added that Israel has both the right and the duty to protect its citizens from attacks. “However, the building of the Separation Barrier as a means to prevent attacks inside Israel is the most extreme solution and one that causes the greatest harm to the local population.”
“Israel must dismantle all parts of the Barrier constructed within the West Bank,” said B’Tselem, noting that, “such a barrier must be built along the Green Line or in Israel proper. Israel may not use the route of the Separation Barrier to expand the area of settlements or its sovereignty."
Only 15 percent of the Wall is built on the territory of Israel itself or on the Green Line which separates Israel‘s territory and the West Bank and which is the internationally recognized border. 85 percent of the route is within the occupied West Bank, said the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC).
It said, Thus far, more than 60 percent of the Wall has been completed, and a further 10 percent is under construction.
NRC added the Wall cuts off Palestinian towns and villages from the rest of the West Bank, and at times divides the same town into two parts.
“Not only is the Wall unlawful in and of itself, but it creates an associated unlawful regime of checkpoints, roads, gates and other restrictions which displace Palestinians and facilitate the establishment of settlements.”
The council said the Wall has further divided the West Bank, already fragmented by Israeli settlements, into Palestinian enclaves and disrupted its territorial continuity.