Europeans at UN urge Israel not to demolish Palestinian village

A general view of the Palestinian Bedouin village of Khan Al-Ahmar in the Israeli occupied West Bank on Sept. 13, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 21 September 2018

Europeans at UN urge Israel not to demolish Palestinian village

  • The eight countries are France, Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, Britain, Belgium, Germany and Italy
  • They warn the demolition ‘would severely threaten the viability of the two-state solution’

UNITED NATIONS: Eight European countries at the United Nations including five Security Council members on Thursday called on Israel to reverse its decision to demolish a Palestinian village in the West Bank.
Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Belgium, Poland and the Netherlands warned that the demolition of the village of Khan Al-Ahmar “would severely threaten the viability of the two-state solution.”
“We therefore call upon the Israeli authorities to reconsider their decision to demolish Khan Al-Ahmar,” the countries said in a joint statement released ahead of a council meeting on the Middle East.
On Sept. 5, Israel’s supreme court upheld an order to raze the village on grounds that it was built without the proper permits.
On Sept 13, Israeli troops removed caravans in the early morning from near the Bedouin village which they have orders to demolish despite international criticism, officials said.
The community of roughly 200 people is located in a strategic spot near Israeli settlements and along a road leading to the Dead Sea.
There have been warnings that continued Israeli settlement construction in that area could divide the West Bank in two and cut it off from Jerusalem, killing off the prospect of amassing contiguous land for a viable future Palestinian state.


Will European arms ban impact Turkey’s Syria operation?

Updated 55 min 27 sec ago

Will European arms ban impact Turkey’s Syria operation?

  • Several European countries imposing weapons embargoes on Turkey

ANKARA: With an increasing number of European countries imposing weapons embargoes on Turkey over its ongoing operation in northeastern Syria, Ankara’s existing inventory of weapons and military capabilities are under the spotlight.

More punitive measures on a wider scale are expected during a summit of EU leaders in Brussels on Oct. 17.

It could further strain already deteriorating relations between Ankara and the bloc.

However, a EU-wide arms embargo would require an unanimous decision by all the leaders.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned last week of a possible refugee flow if Turkey “opened the doors” for 3.6 million Syrian refugees to go to Europe — putting into question the clauses of the 2016 migration deal between Ankara and Brussels.

“The impact of EU member states’ arms sanctions on Turkey depends on the level of Turkey’s stockpiles,” Caglar Kurc, a researcher on defense and armed forces, told Arab News.

Kurc thinks Turkey has foreseen the possible arms sanctions and stockpiled enough spare parts to maintain the military during the operation.

“As long as Turkey can maintain its military, sanctions would not have any effect on the operation. Therefore, Turkey will not change its decisions,” he said.

So far, Germany, France, Finland, the Netherlands and Norway have announced they have stopped weapons shipments to fellow NATO member Turkey, condemning the offensive.

“Against the backdrop of the Turkish military offensive in northeastern Syria, the federal government will not issue new permits for all armaments that could be used by Turkey in Syria,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told German newspaper Bild am Sonntag.

Following Germany’s move, the French government announced: “France has decided to suspend all export projects of armaments to Turkey that could be deployed as part of the offensive in Syria. This decision takes effect immediately.”

While not referring to any arms embargo, the UK urged Turkey to end the operation and enter into dialogue.

Turkey received one-third of Germany’s arms exports of €771 million ($850.8 million) in 2018. 

According to Kurc, if sanctions extend beyond weapons that could be used in Syria, there could be a negative impact on the overall defense industry.

“However, in such a case, Turkey would shift to alternative suppliers: Russia and China would be more likely candidates,” he said.

According to Sinan Ulgen, the chairman of the Istanbul-based EDAM think tank and a visiting scholar at Carnegie Europe, the arms embargo would not have a long-term impact essentially because most of the sanctions are caveated and limited to materials that can be used by Turkey in its cross-border operation.

“So the arms embargo does not cover all aspects of the arms trade between Turkey and the EU. These measures look essentially like they are intended to demonstrate to their own critical publics that their governments are doing something about what they see as a negative aspect of Turkey’s behavior,” he told Arab News.

Turkey, however, insists that the Syria operation, dubbed “Operation Peace Spring,” is undeterred by any bans or embargoes.

“No matter what anyone does, no matter if it’s an arms embargo or anything else, it just strengthens us,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told German radio station Deutsche Welle.