Bern, Press release, 19.03.2009

The Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) is seriously concerned by the possible destruction of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem near the Old Town. It calls on the Israeli government to comply with its obligations in international law and not to go ahead with the planned demolitions.

The FDFA is following with concern the events in East Jerusalem and the threat to demolish dwellings in the al-Bustan district in Silwan.

The FDFA points out that the destruction of property by the occupying power in an occupied territory is prohibited and constitutes a violation of international humanitarian law and of the relevant Security Council resolutions, in particular resolution 476 (1980). East Jerusalem is an integral part of the occupied Palestinian territory, and there is therefore no military justification for the demolition of houses. Israel is required by international law to ensure the protection of the population.

If the demolitions take place, the destruction of Palestinian dwellings in this sensitive district of East Jerusalem would threaten the territorial continuity of the West Bank and would constitute a further obstacle to a global and lasting solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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