Britain, Germany condemn Israeli demolition of Palestinian homes

A building which was under construction in the Palestinian village of Sur Baher in East Jerusalem is demolished on July 22, 2019 (AFP Photo/Ahmad GHARABLI)

United Nations (United States) (AFP) - Britain and Germany added their voices to growing international condemnation of Israel Tuesday over the demolition of Palestinian homes near Jerusalem, saying the destruction was "particularly egregious".

The five European Union members of the UN Security Council, which also include France, Belgium and Poland, released a statement following a council meeting on the Middle East.

"We as member states of the European Union strongly condemn the demolition by Israel of Palestinian buildings in the district of Wadi al Hummus, in the south east of Jerusalem," they said.

"In all but the most exceptional of circumstances, demolition in occupied territories is contrary to International Humanitarian Law and to UNSC resolutions," the statement added.

The EU countries said demolitions cause "unnecessary suffering to ordinary Palestinians and is harmful to the peace process."

Israel said on Tuesday that a total of 12 Palestinian buildings it considered illegally constructed were demolished in Monday's controversial operation.

Israel says the homes were built too close to its separation barrier cutting off the occupied West Bank, posing a security risk, and the demolitions were approved by its supreme court following a lengthy process.

But the five EU countries -- plus Estonia which is a forthcoming EU member of the Security Council -- described the demolitions as "particularly egregious."

They noted that several of the buildings were located in areas meant to be under Palestinian Authority civilian control under the Oslo accords of the 1990s.

"They set a dangerous precedent that directly jeopardises the two state solution," the statement read.

A preliminary assessment by the UN found that 24 people were displaced in Monday's destruction.