Report: Area C Building Permits Allowed for 1% of West Bank Palestinians

22 Jan
4:28 PM

Israeli occupation authorities gave 1% of Palestinians a license to build on Area C of the occupied West Bank from 2016 to 2018, Hebrew media sources reported.

Area C constitutes 60% of occupied West Bank lands that fall under Israel sovereignty, according to the Oslo agreement which was signed in 1993, between the Palestinian Liberation Organization and the Israeli occupation.

According to Haaretz, Palestinians have submitted some 1.485 requests for a building permit in Area C of the West Bank, between 2016 and 2018.

However, Israeli civil administration approved just 21 requests, constituting 1% of the total number.

Meanwhile, statistics from Israeli civil administration revealed that 1,147 notices of demolition were issued against Palestinian structures in Area C, under the pretext of unlicensed building.

Israeli civil administration claimed that it had issued about 56 building permits for Palestinians, but 35 of these were not submitted.

With regard to the Jahalin tribe in Khan al-Ahmar, east of Jerusalem, who live near the settlement of Ma’aleh Adumim, and to the al-Jabal al-Gharbi neighborhood near al-Eizariya, these permits were not applied. Therefore, the final data on the percentage of requests submitted by Palestinians, compared to what was approved, is much lower, according to the newspaper.

From 2000 until 2018, Palestinians submitted 6,532 applications for building in Area C and only 210 of them were approved, constituting 3.2 % of the applications.

One of the main problems, with the reality of planning in Area C, is the small number of structural maps of the Palestinian villages, which allow planning for construction and granting permits, whereas they need approval from the Israeli political level, the paper stated.

Of the 240 Palestinian villages that are fully defined as part of Area C, only 27 villages have approved structural charts, Al Ray further reports.

The area in which Palestinians can legally build within the framework of approved maps, which are essentially aimed at restricting development, is 0.5 % of Area C, while the area of settlement maps is about 26 %.

Lawyer Qamar Asaad, from the Haqel organization that specializes in West Bank land law, believes that the problem lies with the lack of planning for the Palestinians.

 She said that Palestinians are not represented in the planning committees and the maps prepared by the Palestinian councils are not being submitted and approved. Israel is not interested in planning, and permits are not enough.

She added that Israeli planning authorities systematically refuse, contrary to their obligation, to grant building permits or to regulate construction in the West Bank, and in fact deliberately prevent any possibility of legal Palestinian construction in this area.

The international community considers Area C as a part of occupied Palestine and the state of Palestine. It also considers Israeli settlements illegal under Fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibits the occupying power from transferring Israelis to the occupied territories.

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