Paris condemns Israeli demolition of French-funded buildings in West Bank

PARIS (Reuters) - France on Thursday condemned the Israeli army’s demolition of French-funded buildings in a Palestinian village in the occupied West Bank, saying it was a violation of international law.

The demolition of agricultural installations in Nebi Samuel last week, was the third time this year that buildings funded by French humanitarian aid had been demolished or confiscated by Israeli authorities, a foreign ministry spokesman said. Among them, in February, was a school.

“We urge Israeli authorities to stop these operations, that are in contravention of international law,” the spokesman said.

Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), an arm of the military that deals with Palestinian civilian issues, said demolition orders were issued because the structures were built without Israeli permission.

“No request for building permits of the illegal structures had been received by their owners. They were invited to a committee to give them a chance to rectify the situation and gain permission but they failed to appear,” COGAT said in answer to a Reuters query.

U.S. efforts to broker an accord between Israel and the Palestinians have been stalled for two years. France hosted a conference last month with the aim of breaking the impasse.

Reporting by Michel Rose, additional reporting by Ori Lewis in Jerusalem, Editing by Ralph Boulton