A complaint has been lodged by the Dutch government against the Israeli government for confiscating solar panels which were donated to a Palestinian village on the West Bank. Israeli authorities insist that stop-work orders were received before raiding a solar farm, which allegedly did not have proper building permits.
According to The Independent, the hybrid diesel and solar power electricity system was installed in Jubbet al-Dhib, a village home to 150 people, last year. Regardless, the Israeli government seized the solar panels, saying they were not built with proper permits and permissions. The equipment which was taken has an estimated value of £307,000. Those who oppose the confiscation have pointed out that it is nearly impossible to obtain building permissions for new Palestinian homes.
Though the mayor of the village told Palestinian outlet Ma’an News that the solar panels were destroyed, Comet-ME (the aid organization which installed the panels) said that between 60 and 90 were taken away while the rest of the equipment was destroyed by Israeli forces. In response to the ordeal, the Dutch Foreign Ministry has asked for all of the equipment to be returned to Jubbet al-Dhib. The government is also considering what “next steps can be taken.”
According to local villagers, they didn’t know Jubbet al-Dhib had been targeted until Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers appeared. In a statement, Coat — which is the military agency responsible for coordinating Israeli policy in Palestinian areas — said that the village had “other electricity sources” aside from the “illegal electricity room.” The Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz reports that before the solar system was installed, the 150 Palestinian residents relied on a couple of “old and noisy” diesel generators to receive about three hours of power a day.
To anyone who has been following the Israeli-Palestine conflict for years, this latest development isn’t surprising. That doesn’t make it right, however. In 2016, more than 300 structures in the occupied West Bank were demolished by the Israeli authorities. Most were funded by the EU or international NGOs, said an Israeli military official earlier this year.
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