Independent Catholic News, a publication that serves Catholics in Ireland, recently published an article about Israel demolishing a playground in the West Bank.
The main thrust of the article, which was published on April 14, 2016, is that Israel is behaving badly by demolishing the playground. Israel is acting well within the rights accorded to it under the Oslo Accords, which give Israel authority over the area where the playground was built — illegally and without permits — by Palestinians who do not own the land on which it was built.
Moreover, it appears that the Belgian government, which paid for the playground’s construction, is aiding an abetting illegal construction by local Palestinians, not to improve the living standards, but to provide a pretext for anti-Israel propagandizing, which sadly enough, the Independent Catholic News fell for.
Here’s the background: According to the story, the playground, which was built last year with funds provided by the Belgian government, was demolished on Tuesday April 12, 2016. The playground was located in a village south of Nablus.
The playground’s demolition has prompted outrage from the Belgian government.
The Belgian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Development Cooperation Alexander De Croo and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders condemned the destruction of the children's playground. They have asked for an explanation from the Israeli government through the Ambassador in Brussels and via the Belgian Embassy in Tel Aviv.The article, which is based on a report from Ma'an New Agency, a Palestinian outlet that has published antisemitic diatribes in the past, states “Israeli authorities gave no prior notice before demolishing the park.”
CAMERA contacted COGAT, the Israeli agency responsible for administrating the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and received the following response:read more
Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories: On April 12th, enforcement measures were taken against an illegal structure in Za'atra, after handing all the relevant orders and giving opportunity to prove ownership on the lands.COGAT’s response reveals couple of problems with the story as it appeared in the Independent Catholic News.
First, the article failed to mention that the Palestinians who used the Belgian money to build the playground did not have title to the land on which it was built. In other words, it was built illegally. [...]
This brings us to another problem with the story. It omits the fact that a number of European institutions have been funding the construction of illegal structures in the West Bank in an effort to generate spectacles that can be used to demonize Israel. The so-called humanitarian structures are built not for humanitarian purposes, but propaganda purposes.
In February 2015, The Daily Mail (London) reported the following:
The EU is acting illegally by funding unauthorised Palestinian building in areas placed under Israeli control by international law, say an NGO, international lawyers and MEPs. More than 400 EU-funded Palestinian homes have been erected in Area C of the West Bank, which was placed under Israeli jurisdiction during the Oslo Accords – a part of international law to which the EU is a signatory.The Palestinian buildings, which have no permits, come at a cost of tens of millions of Euros in public money, a proportion of which comes from the British taxpayer. This has raised concerns that the EU is using valuable resources to take sides in a foreign territorial dispute.An article published the following month by the same publication reveals that the European Union has claimed diplomatic immunity to protect itself from lawsuits in Israel arising from its illegal actions.