Last Update 23:29
Thursday, 22 August 2019

Palestinian building permits 'political', says Israel

AFP , Monday 4 May 2015
Israeli Settlements
File Photo: Construction vehicles prepare the ground as building of a housing project resumes in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Ariel September 27, 2010 (Photo: Reuters)
Share/Bookmark
Views: 737
Share/Bookmark
Views: 737

Approval of building plans for Palestinians in the occupied West Bank is subject to political considerations, Israeli defence officials have acknowledged.

The admission came as a landmark court case seeks to challenge Israel's housing policy in Area C, which covers 60 percent of the West Bank but is under full Israeli civil and security control.

All building in Area C, whether by Palestinians or Israeli settlers, comes under the jurisdiction of the Israeli Civil Administration which has full control over all zoning and planning issues.

In practice, almost all Palestinian applications for a building permit are rejected, with the Civil Administration granting only a handful of permits.

In a written response to AFP regarding the legal case in which a Palestinian village and a coalition of NGOs are seeking to tackle Israel's policy of house demolitions, COGAT -- the defence ministry body to which the Civil Administration belongs -- admitted that planning issues required political approval.

"Any construction in Area C, both Palestinian and Israeli, requires the approval of the qualified authorities, according to the law practised in the region and in accordance with the Interim Agreement," it said, referring to the 1995 Oslo 2 agreement which divided the West Bank into areas A, B and C.

"The Civil Administration's planning committee examines and promotes construction plans equitably, dependant on the fact that these plans meet the relevant planning criteria and their promotion is approved by the political echelon," it said, without giving further detail.

Experts have long suspected that the Israel's housing policy in Area C is not just a civilian matter but has a political bias.

In 2014, the Civil Administration granted just one Palestinian building permit, according to Israeli planning NGO Bimkom.

In the same period, Israel carried 493 demolitions, displacing 969 Palestinians, UN figures show.

Unable to get "legal" permission, Palestinians are faced with either leaving or building illegally.

Israel regularly sends bulldozers to demolish hundreds of homes and other structures every year in a move sharply condemned by rights groups and the international community.

The legal case, which is currently before the Supreme Court, seeks to return local planning issues to the Palestinians by reviving local and district planning committees which existed before the 1967 Six-Day War and were abolished by military order in 1971.

Such a move would provide an answer for the problem of illegal building, and by extension impact on house demolitions, the petitioners say.

Short link:

 

Email
 
Name
 
Comment's
Title
 
Comment
Ahram Online welcomes readers' comments on all issues covered by the site, along with any criticisms and/or corrections. Readers are asked to limit their feedback to a maximum of 1000 characters (roughly 200 words). All comments/criticisms will, however, be subject to the following code
  • We will not publish comments which contain rude or abusive language, libelous statements, slander and personal attacks against any person/s.
  • We will not publish comments which contain racist remarks or any kind of racial or religious incitement against any group of people, in Egypt or outside it.
  • We welcome criticism of our reports and articles but we will not publish personal attacks, slander or fabrications directed against our reporters and contributing writers.
  • We reserve the right to correct, when at all possible, obvious errors in spelling and grammar. However, due to time and staffing constraints such corrections will not be made across the board or on a regular basis.
Latest

© 2010 Ahram Online.