Articles > > Good Faith Gesture to Kushner

Articles - Addostour - Date: 2019-08-02
By: Oraib Al Rantawi

Netanyahu's government agreed to issue permits to build 715 Palestinian homes in the Oslo-designated Area C of the West Bank as a good faith gesture to U.S. Envoy Jared Kushner, not the Palestinians.
 
 
The Israeli Knesset also agreed to build 6,000 settler homes in the West Bank during the same session. Washington's regional envoys welcomed this decision that bears witness to the occupation's racism and its exclusionary character, despite friendly Israeli-U.S. propaganda.
 
 
The government has not issued a single building permit since 2016 to any of the quarter-of-a-million Palestinians living in the area, which falls under the occupation authorities' jurisdiction in security and administrative matters. All Israeli settlements and settler outposts are in this area, which constitutes over 60% of the West Bank, and there has been talk, both openly and covertly, of the possibility of annexing all or most of it to Israel.
 
 
Israel destroyed 585 Palestinian homes in the West Bank in 2018, almost as many (545) in 2017, and twice as many in (1115) in 2016, according to PA sources. Just a few days ago, Israel demolished 100 apartments in one go in the Sur Baher district of Oslo-designated Area A, which is under the PA's jurisdiction.
 
Despite how meager (and miserly) the Israeli decision is, the settlers' lobby, which is strongly represented across the various religious and nationalist Zionist parties, has launched a campaign of condemnation on the grounds that building Palestinian homes would hinder plans to annex Area C, although the Netanyahu government's announcement did not suggest that permits would be issued for new homes, but rather to rebuild preexisting ones, which is not the same thing.
 
 
Israel completely prohibits Palestinians from building in over about 60 percent of Area C, covering 36 percent of the West Bank's total area. As for the remaining 40 percent, the Palestinians have almost zero chance of obtaining permits, as Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem has put it. Meanwhile, the area has witnessed an unprecedented settlement boom in recent years.
 
Palestinians who do not permanently reside in Area C are prohibited from obtaining a residential building permit, even though much of the area is private property or farmland belonging to Palestinians living in Areas A and B. That is part of the plan to separate Area C from the rest of the West Bank, and encase it with settlements, outposts, and convoluted roads in preparation for declaring Israel's sovereignty over it.
 
 
Also according to B'Tselem, Israel is practicing a policy of gradual biting off parts of this vast area through a number of other means, including: Designating large swathes of land as 'state territory', 'military zones', 'natural reservations', and 'national parks' by annexing them to areas under settlements and their regional council influence or via ongoing restrictions and constraints on the land Israel has seized between the Wall of Separation and the Green Line.
 
The prohibitions in Area C are not limited to homes and apartments, but include an almost blanket rejection of all building permits for agricultural facilities, public buildings, or infrastructure. The Civil Administration also refuses to prepare or approve blueprints for most Palestinian towns in the area. As of November 2017, the Civil Administration had only approved blueprints for 16 of the 180 Palestinian towns in Area C. According to the same source, the area of the territories covered by these blueprints is only 17,673 dunams, or less than 1% of Area C, and most was urban territory to begin with. These maps were prepared without input from the inhabitants and without regard for any of the planning standards adopted by the rest of the world: The boundaries are adjacent to existing buildings in the villages, leaving no room for farmland, pastures, or land reserves for future development.
 
"Of the 5,475 permit requests for construction in this area that Palestinians have submitted to the Civil Administration between early 2000 to mid 2016, only 226 (4%) were approved, leaving the Palestinians vulnerable to the vile and sadistic orders to demolish their own homes themselves, and at their own expense, as dictated by the occupation authorities.