Five Major EU States to Israel: Demolishing Terrorists' Homes Will Escalate Tensions

Statement by EU ambassadors calling measure 'counterproductive' follows Israeli decision to demolish homes of four Palestinians who carried out terror attacks in Jerusalem.

Emil Salman

The European Union’s five largest countries object to demolishing the family homes of Palestinian terrorists, arguing that such measures are counterproductive. The ambassadors of Germany, France, Britain, Italy and Spain conveyed this message at a meeting with senior Foreign Ministry officials in Jerusalem on Thursday and called to restore calm to Jerusalem.

The five ambassadors said their governments object to demolishing Palestinians’ houses, as such punitive measures only exacerbate the situation and escalate the tension, according to Foreign Ministry officials and European diplomats who attended the meeting.

The statement by the European ambassadors followed the Israeli cabinet’s decision to demolish the homes of four Palestinians who carried out terror attacks in Jerusalem in recent weeks, including the attack on the synagogue in Har Nof on Tuesday morning.

U.S. State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke told reporters on Wednesday that “punitive home demolitions are counterproductive to the cause of peace, especially in an already tense situation.”

He said the Israeli government itself had discontinued this practice in the past, “recognizing its effects.”

The European message was conveyed at a meeting with the Foreign Ministry’s senior diplomat, Alon Ushpiz. The ambassadors denounced the synagogue attack in Jerusalem in strong words and expressed their horror at the bloodshed.

The consuls general of the same five states held a similar meeting a few days ago in Ramallah with senior Palestinian officials. European diplomats said the ambassadors asked the Palestinian leadership to act to stop the incitement against Israel, especially in official media.

The consuls also said their governments expect the Palestinian leaders to moderate their statements and make every effort to reduce the tension.

The five ambassadors also held a meeting in Amman with senior Jordanian officials and asked Jordan to exert its influence on both sides to help restore calm.