Brussels, 15 May 2011
EU Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response Kristalina Georgieva met today with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and with Prime Minister Salam Fayyad while on a 4-day visit to the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel together with UN Under Secretary General Valerie Amos. They visited together with the Prime Minister the West Bank’s area C. The Commissioner and the Under Secretary-General met with families in East Jerusalem who have been evicted from their homes.
The EU has been a long standing partner in supporting the efforts of the Palestinian Authority in providing services and jobs to the Palestinian people. EU Commissioner Georgieva commended the remarkable work done by PM Fayyad in the past years. She reiterated the EU’s continued humanitarian support to the most vulnerable among the Palestinians and or the challenges ahead.
Following her visit to Jahalin School in Area C and East Jerusalem’s neighbourhood of Sheik Jerrash, Commissioner Georgieva declared: I am particularly moved by the plight of ordinary Palestinian families whom I met in the West Bank’s area C and in East Jerusalem. Notably women and children live under the constant threat of harassment, eviction and disruption of their lives. There is an issue of protection. Any action that leads to forced displacement must stop. This issue combined with serious restrictions on access and movement imposed by the occupying power means that most of the people are denied the possibility for economic and social development. They are denied the right to live a life in dignity. The Commissioner added: The legitimate right of the Israeli people to live in peace and security does not clear Israel of its obligation as occupying power to respect international humanitarian law. The respect of the right to a life in dignity allows to avoid outbreaks of violence as we witnessed them today across the occupied Palestinian territory and contributes to paving the way to peace.
Together with Prime Minster Fayyad EU Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response Kristalina Georgieva and UN Under Secretary General Valerie Amos visited Jahalin School in Area C. Jahalin School epitomizes the challenges people in the West Bank and in particular in Area C are facing: the risk of demolition of houses and infrastructure, subsequent displacement, shrinking land available, poor access to services, water shortage and communities being subject to settler violence.
Around 60,000 Palestinians (out of 225,000) in East Jerusalem face the risk of eviction from their homes. These people and their families find themselves in a precarious situation threatening their bare existence.
The European Union is therefore financing humanitarian projects which provide legal support to people threatened by evictions or cash to allow them to pay the rent in their new homes and basic household items, as well as psychosocial support.