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Occupation magazine - Life under occupation
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Area C: Palestinian Construction and Demolition Stats - February 2008
Around 70,000 Palestinians currently reside in Area C, under full Israeli control, with all constriction and planning falling under the jurisdiction of the Israeli Civil Administration.
Recent data provided to Meretz MK Chaim Oron, by the Ministry of Defense, in response to a query he placed, reflected that within the territories under full Israeli control, it is almost impossible for Palestinians to receive permission to construct; details show that over 94% of building requests are denied.
Those Palestinians that do build without any permission face a rate of demolition (on structures that demolition orders have been issued) of 33%, as opposed to the percentage of demolition orders that are carried out against Israeli settlements, which stands at 7% (The data regarding the demolitions in the settlements is based on Peace Now`s report from December 2007).
1. Main Findings
From 2000 until September 2007:
• For every construction permit granted to a Palestinian by the Civil Administration, 18 other buildings are destroyed and 55 demolition orders are issued
• More than 94% of requests submitted by Palestinians were denied by the Civil Administration
• 33% of all demolition orders issued against Palestinian structures were carried out as opposed to just 7% against the settlements
• Only 91 construction permits were granted to Palestinians, while in the same time period 18,472 housing units were constructed in the settlements (According to the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics, completed construction in the Settlements from 2000 till September 2007)
• 4,993 demolition orders were issued against Palestinian construction, while 2900 against illegal construction in the settlements
• 1,663 Palestinian buildings were demolished in this time period, as opposed to 199 in the settlements.
• Between the years 2000-2004 only 3-6 building permits were issued per year to Palestinians
Compare the facts:
No. of Construction Permits 91 18,472 housing units built
No. of Demolition Orders 4,993 2,900
No. of Demolitions 1,663 199
2. Permits No – Demolition Yes
For many years the settler leaders have been claiming that they have been facing unequal treatment by the authorities in regard to their illegal construction in the territories, consistently claiming that no one is dealing with the illegal Palestinian construction. The report released today by Peace Now clearly shows that the settler leaders were correct in their claims of unequal treatment in the construction process in the territories, yet the main victim here is the Palestinian residents.
In the last seven years, a third of issued demolition orders were carried out for Palestinian construction, and in the same time period only 7% were carried out against the settlements.
Division of the West Bank according to Oslo Accords:
Areas A+ B under full or partial Palestinian control; Area C under full Israeli control
More wrongly the system has consistently denied issuing Palestinians permission to build in Area C. This area, which falls under complete Israeli control, and is home to 70,000 Palestinians, includes around 3.3 million dunams of land, equal to 60% of the West Bank. Palestinian residents are unable to receive permission for even the most basic construction purposes, such as an extension to their own houses on their own land.
Palestinians are therefore faced with two choices: Either to build with no permission and face the possibility of demolition, or to leave their home to live elsewhere where they can receive permission to construct (usually in such areas under Palestinian control).
In addition to private housing construction, major infrastructure plans and development projects are also refused permission. Palestinian villages that need to repair their road system, renew electricity grids, connect to water supplies and more, may be able to raise the funding to do so, but are ultimately refused permission by the civil administration to go ahead with the projects.
The result of such policy ensures that many of the Palestinian localities suffer from poor infrastructure. In addition many Palestinian villages may be in Area B but their infrastructure grids etc are in area C and thus the Civil Administration also stunts their development.
The denial of permits for Palestinians on such a large scale raises the fear, that there is a specific policy by the authorities to encourage a “silent transfer” of the Palestinian population from area C.
3. The Palestinian Village of Qaryut – A Test Case.
Qaryut is a Palestinian village south of Nablus at the edge of Area B. Although the village is officially under Palestinian civil control, almost all its infrastructure is in the surrounding area C. For example, there is a dirt-road of 1.5 Km leading from the village to Road 60, the main road in the West Bank. In 1999 the village council submitted a request with a detailed plan for paving and upgrading of the dirt-road. Up until today the Israeli Civil Administration has not give them a permit. Even worse, the IDF blocked this road with an earthmound and now the villagers need to drive 23 Km through two villages (Talfit and Qabalan) to get to the point which is 1.5 Km from them.
There are two water sources to the village: a spring at the outskirts of the village, and a faucet connected to the Mekorot Israeli Water Company, which can be found at the end of this dirt road. So far every request submitted by the village council to install a water supply pipeline has been denied. As a result, water tankers are having to be used used by the villagers bring back and forth their most basic supplies. (the cost of these tanker exorbitant (NIS 17 for every cubic meter) as opposed to piped water (NIS 4) which the settlers have.
According to the villagers, in 2006 the IDF built another earthmound in the area of the spring and `accidentally` sealed the spring. The villagers recived a grant from the Finish Government to cover the costs to reopen the spring, but every request to do so was denied by the Civil Administration.
4. The full Data:
Construction Permits, Requests and Demolitions for Palestinians in Area `C`:
Year Requests Permits Demolition orders Demolitions
2000 182 5 465 41
2001 167 6 568 186
2002 159 6 641 276
2003 337 3 681 306
2004 250 5 703 225
2005 189 13 795 157
2006 176 43 502 264
2007 164 10 638 208
Total 1,624 91 4,993 1,663
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