EU: Israel Using Tourism to Legitimize Illegal Settlements

EU: Israel Using Tourism to Legitimize Illegal Settlements
EU: Israel Using Tourism to Legitimize Illegal Settlements

According to a leaked EU report obtained by the Guardian, Israel is developing archaeological and tourism sites to legitimize illegal settlements in the Palestinian neighborhoods of Beit-ul-Moqaddas.

The conclusions in the report, which is written annually by the EU Heads of Mission in Beit-ul-Moqaddas, paints a bleak picture of the situation and the conditions facing 37% of the city’s residents who are Palestinians. It raises concerns over Israel’s ongoing home demolitions and the displacement of the Beit-ul-Moqaddas’s Palestinian residents, Middle East Monitor reported.

EU diplomats said that Israel, the occupying power, was using tourism projects “as a political tool to modify the historical narrative and to support, legitimize and expand settlements”. The projects are said to include settler run excavation sites in the heart of majority-Arab districts, a proposed cable car project with stops on confiscated land and the designation of built-up urban areas as national parks.

The report said that Israeli settlers as well as government institutions were pushing a “narrative based on historic continuity of the Jewish presence in the area at the expense of other religions and cultures”. EU officials cited the City of David project, which is a government-funded archaeological park in the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan that provides tours in the ruins of ancient Beit-ul-Moqaddas.

Israel was accused of “promoting an exclusively Jewish narrative, while detaching the place from its Palestinian surroundings”. The report raised concerns over the fate of the World Heritage site of Beit-ul-Moqaddas, by concluding that these projects were turning the ancient city “into a commercial theme park”.

The EU considers Israel’s occupation of East Beit-ul-Moqaddas and the construction of settlements as illegal. It fully backs the rights of Palestinians to a national home in Palestine with East Beit-ul-Moqaddas as its capital.

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