Egypt voices concern over Israeli plans to demolish Palestinian villages in Masafer Yatta, build new settlements

Ahram Online , Saturday 7 May 2022

Egypt has expressed concerns over Israeli authorities’ plans to demolish a number of Palestinian villages in Masafer Yatta area in the occupied West Bank and the subsequent eviction of thousands of Palestinians from these villages.

Masafer Yatta
A Palestinian man walks inside his house in the West Bank Beduin community of Jinba, Masafer Yatta, Friday, May 6, 2022. AP


In a statement on Saturday, the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs also expressed concerns about reports regarding plans to build 4,000 new homes for Israeli settlers in the occupied Palestinian lands.

Egypt, as well as Arab countries and partners, including the current US administration, have repeatedly rejected Israeli settlement expansion plans as they undermine the two-state solution and raise tensions in the region.

“These two steps represent a flagrant violation of the international law rules and the internationally legitimate resolutions,” the ministry warned in a statement.

The Egyptian foreign ministry’s remarks come a few days after the Israeli Supreme Court issued a ruling on Wednesday that paves the way for the demolition of eight of 12 villages in Masafer Yatta area declared by the Israeli military as a firing zone since the 1980s.

The Israeli court, as per its ruling, rejected a petition against the eviction of more than 1,000 Palestinians who inhabit this part of the West Bank, claiming that inhabitants of the area are not permanent residents.

Masafer Yatta Mayor Nidal Abu Younis condemned the ruling, which comes after more than two decades of legal struggle by the Palestinian inhabitants to remain in their lands, saying: “We will not leave our homes.”

“We have been fighting with Israel in the courts for the last 22 years and it took this judge five minutes to destroy the lives of 12 villages and the people who are dependent on the land,” Younis said, according to the Guardian.

Younis called the ruling “racist,” saying it was made by Judge David Mintz, a settler who lives in an illegal settlement in the West Bank.

Egypt’s foreign ministry affirmed “full condemnation of the settlement policy in the Palestinian territories” whether through building new settlements or expanding existing ones.

The ministry also denounced the confiscation of the Palestinian lands and the eviction of Palestinians.

“The continuation of such unilateral measures leads to a rise in tensions, contributes to fueling violence, and undermines the chances of reaching a two-state solution and establishing a comprehensive and just peace in the region,” the ministry added.

Late in April, Egypt's Permanent Representative to the UN Osama Abdel-Khalek stressed the need to cease all Israeli unilateral measures in the West Bank, including settlement expansion.

He also warned against attempts to expel Palestinian families from the neighbourhoods of Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan and the demolition of Palestinian buildings.

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