EU expresses angst over demolitions

East Jerusalem demolitions labeled as an "illegal obstacle to peace."

June 30, 2010 15:08
1 minute read.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

ban ki-moon 311. (photo credit: AP)


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EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton called the planned demolitions in east Jerusalem an "obstacle to peace," reported the AFP Wednesday.

The demolitions are part of a planned archaeological development, and have caused recent controversy, including a 200-strong demonstration in Silwan last Sunday, where protesters clashed with police.

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'Silwan project undermines trust'

Ashton called the demolitions illegal under international law and said they would make a two-state solution impossible. "If there is to be genuine peace, a way must be found through negotiations to resolve the status of Jerusalem as the future capital of two states."

The demolitions also drew fire last week from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, who labeled the plan illegal and unhelpful to the peace process.

In an official statement, the UN chief said, ”the planned moves are contrary to international law, and to the wishes of Palestinian residents.” The statement also cautioned against “provocative steps” that could “heighten tensions in the city.”

“The secretary-general is deeply concerned about the decision by the Jerusalem Municipality to advance planning for house demolitions and further settlement activity in the area of Silwan,” the statement said. “The current moves are unhelpful, coming at a time when the goal must be to build trust to support political negotiations.”

The US has come out against the demolitions as well. The US is "worried" about Jerusalem's Silwan building project, the US State Department said last week according to AFP.

"This is expressly the kind of step that we think undermines trust that is fundamental in making progress to the proximity talks and ultimately in direct negotiations," said US State Department spokesman Philip Crowley.

A spokesman for Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday that the projects were designed to improve the quality of life of Silwan’s Arab residents and that they would not “surprise” the international community.

Abe Selig contributed to this article.

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