On August 11, 2017 the EU Heads of Missions (HoMs) in Jerusalem and Ramallah issued a statement condemning the “imminent threat of eviction” of Palestinian residents of an apartment in east Jerusalem. The occupants had lived in the apartment since the 1970s but had not paid rent to the Jewish owners who were driven out in the 1948 conflict.

Palestinian residents often refuse to pay rent on Jewish-owned homes for political purposes, and sometimes are encouraged to so by activists with little concern for the consequences to those who then go through lengthy legal proceeding and can be evicted.

The eviction order given to the Palestinian residents of the house is based on Israeli law and followed lengthy court sessions on the issue. The final verdict was delivered by the Israeli High Court of Justice (HCJ) in 2013. The HCJ also ruled that the family be given 18 months to leave prior to the eviction. Furthermore, the Jerusalem Municipality did not attempt to enforce the eviction for two and half further years. The eviction finally took place on September 5, 2017.

It appears that the condemnation by the EU HoMs is based at least in part on NGO allegations and publications. As shown in NGO Monitor reports, the EU has consistently relied on NGO reporting in accusations directed against Israel, and this appears to be another instance. European diplomats also made highly publicized visits to the site in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of Jerusalem.

The EU statement details a number of purported plans by Israeli authorities to evict Palestinians in “Sheikh Jarrah, Silwan, the Old City and Beit Safafa.” This appears to be based on Terrestrial Jerusalem and Peace Now, both of which have recently released statements on these plans. Substantial funding for these political advocacy NGOs is provided by the EU and a number of individual governments.