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Israel ruining its own reputation: EU Parliament member

Green Party and EU Parliament member urges Israel to modify actions, policy vis-à-vis Palestinians

By Mustafa Deveci

JERUSALEM

Israeli plans to demolish Khan al-Ahmar, a Bedouin village in East Jerusalem, will adversely affect the prospects for peace, Margrete Auken, a Danish member of the European Parliament (EP), has said.Speaking to Anadolu Agency on Thursday, Auken — a Green Party member and vice-chair of the EP’s Delegation for Relations with Palestine — said that Israel’s image was being tarnished by its actions and policies vis-à-vis the Palestinians.“This behavior threatens Israel and its reputation,” Auken said.“It [Israel] used to have a reputation for democracy in the region,” she added. “But this reputation is being tarnished due to the inhuman way it is treating the Palestinians.”She described Israeli behavior towards the Palestinians as “arrogant and discriminatory”, which, she said, “brings disgrace on both Israel and Europe, because we [the EU] aren’t taking real action”.The EU, Auken said, can use “legal means” at its disposal by which it might pressure Israel to modify its behavior, including the imposition of trade restrictions.“If you think you want to save Israel, which I still do, then the only hope they have is to save the Palestinians,” she asserted.Regarding the EU’s response to Israeli plans to demolish the village of Khan al-Ahmar, she said that if the plan was carried out, the EU’s response would — she hopes — be “tough”.When asked if the recent U.S. decision to move its Israel embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem had changed Israel’s attitude towards the Palestinians, Auken said: “Now they [the Israelis] feel they can do whatever they want to more easily.”“I hope Europe will now see how important its role is,” she added. “The EU does not have common foreign policy, which means we can make statements. But if actions are to be taken, they must be done by member states.”Earlier this month, Israel’s Supreme Court ruled to demolish Khan al-Ahmar and evict the village’s Bedouin inhabitants.Israel hopes to expel some 10,000 Bedouin residents of the E1 Zone, which sits on 15 square kilometers of land in East Jerusalem, to make way for new Jewish-only housing units linking Jerusalem to the Maale Adumim settlement.If implemented, the plan would effectively cut the West Bank in two, preempting the possibility of a territorially contiguous Palestinian state based on pre-1967 borders.*Mahmoud Barakat contributed to this report from Ankara

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