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EU angered by Israeli theft, resell of aid for Palestinian schoolchildren

Israel is stealing the aid of Palestinian children [Getty]

Date of publication: 1 June, 2019

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The EU has called on Israel to return aid meant for Palestinian schoolchildren in Bedouin villages, after authorities confiscated the aid using a loophole.

The European Union on Friday criticised Israel over plans to sell aid given to Bedouin villages in the occupied West Bank which was seized by Israeli authorities.

The tents and other humanitarian structures will be put up for auction within days by COGAT, the Israel defence ministry unit which oversees civilian activities in the Palestinian territories, according to the EU's spokesman in Jerusalem.

The supplies include "two school structures that had been consigned to Ibziq community; and two tents and three metal sheds to the al-Hadidiya community", Shadi Othman said in a statement.

The aid was seized in October and November by Israeli authorities and is worth 15,320 euros ($17,100), according to Othman.

COGAT did not immediately respond to confirm a May 6 advertisement in the Maariv newspaper which detailed the sale of "seized property" from the West Bank.

"In the case where the owners of these seized assets have not proceeded to request the return of their property within 30 days of the publication of this notice, the assets will be sold," it said. 

The EU made an official request for the return of the structures but received no response, Othman said.

"EU missions in Jerusalem and Ramallah had called on Israeli authorities to return the confiscated items to their intended beneficiaries without precondition as soon as possible" or provide compensation, the spokesman added.

The EU often finances humanitarian structures in Bedouin villages, which are frequently confiscated by Israeli authorities who claim the necessary authorisation has not been given.

'No building permits'

Four out of five of Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem live under the poverty line, and applying for building permits comes with various taxes and fees amounting to tens of thousands of dollars.

Applications for building permits are also known to take years to be processed, giving Israeli courts a loophole to increase Palestinian home demolitions by branding structures as "illegal".

Between 2010 and 2014, only 1.5 percent of all Palestinian building permit applications across the occupied West Bank were approved by Israel, according to the UN.

The cost of a permit for a single home is estimated to be in the region of $30,000.

It is extremely difficult for Bedouin communities to obtain building permits in the West Bank, which has been occupied by Israel for since 1967.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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