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BBC News, Ynet, USA Today, & DPA Articles re: Peace Now Report on W. Bank Building Bias

For each building permit Civil Administration gives Palestinians, its issues 55 demolition orders

See more coverage of the Peace Now report from Ha'aretz, AFP, and Sydney Herald


BBC News: "W Bank building 'bias' condemned"

Israel passed fewer than 6% of building requests by Palestinians in the occupied West Bank in 2000-07, an Israeli anti-settlement group says.

Peace Now says 91 permits were granted from 1,624 requests, in contrast to the 18,472 homes built for Jewish settlers.

The group says the data show "clear discrimination" against Palestinians in West Bank areas under Israeli control.

Military officials accused Peace Now of distorting the figures, which were taken from official Israeli statistics.

Peace Now also said, in the case of illegal buildings, the Israeli army demolished 33% of structures erected by Palestinians and 7% of the unauthorised structures built by Jewish settlers.

IN THE WEST BANK 2000-2007
  • 91 construction permits issued to Palestinians
  • 18,472 homes built for Jewish settlers
  • Almost 5,000 demolition orders against Palestinian buildings issued, one third implemented
  • 2,900 demolition orders issued against settler buildings, 7% implemented
    Source: Peace Now, citing Central Bureau of Statistics and IDF  

The Israeli army is in full control of about 60% of the West Bank. Israel occupied the area, as well as East Jerusalem and Gaza, in the 1967 war.
It has allowed limited Palestinian autonomy in some areas, while settling more than 400,000 Jewish Israelis on occupied land.

These settlements are considered illegal under international law, though Israel disputes this.


An Israeli military official said the data was misleading because, he said, Palestinians rarely submitted building permit requests.

"If Palestinians would submit request for building permits, there could be thousands more approvals," said Capt Zidki Maman of the West Bank civil administration.

Palestinians frequently complain that the military authorities reject most building requests as a matter of policy.

Capt Maman also accused Peace Now of including data for self-demolished illegal structures in the case of Palestinians but not in the case of settlers.

Correspondents say, however, there is little sign of Israeli government action against more that 100 settlements not approved by the Israeli government established by the Jewish settler movement since the 1990s.

Peace Now said there were 4,993 cases of illegal Palestinian construction identified by the army and 2,900 cases of illegal settler construction.


Ynet: "Peace Now: Only Palestinians' houses demolished"

Left-wing movement's report reveals some 70,000 West Bank Palestinians live in Area C under full Israeli control, but only few receive building permits. According to report, for each building permit Civil Administration gives Palestinians, its issues 55 demolition orders

by Efrat Weiss

Ninety-four percent of the construction requests submitted by Palestinians living in the West Bank under Israeli control are denied, according to a Peace Now report released Thursday morning, referring to the time period between 2000 and 2007.

Civil Administration officials rejected the claims, saying that the figures were inaccurate.

According to the left-wing movement's report, some 70,000 Palestinians live in Area C, which is under full Israeli control and where the Civil Administration is responsible for the planning and construction rules.

Data delivered to Knesset Member Chaim Oron (Meretz), in response to a question he asked the defense minister, revealed that Palestinians hardly received building permits in the areas controlled by Israel.

Peace Now officials said that when the Palestinians have no other choice but to build without receiving a permit, the Civil Administration destroys about 33% of the illegal building, after issuing a demolition order.

In the settlements, however, less than 7% of the demolition orders are executed, an official added.

According to Peace Now, since the year 2000 and up to September 2007, for each building permit given to the Palestinians by the Civil Administration, some 55 demolition orders are issues and about 18 buildings are demolished.

The report revealed that the Palestinians are only given 91 building permits, while more than 18,472 housing units were built in the settlements.

'Quiet transfer planned'

The report also claimed that 4,993 demolition orders had been issued against Palestinians, compared to 2,900 orders issued against settlers' buildings.

Peace Now also said that 1,663 Palestinian buildings were demolished during that time period compared to 199 buildings in the settlements, and that between three to six permits per year were given to Palestinians between the years 2000 and 2004.

 Peace Now Secretary-General Yariv Oppenheimer told Ynet, "The Civil Administration figures clarify that the West Bank territories controlled by Israel are for Jews only. The settlers' claims that they are being discriminated against are groundless. The Palestinian residents' illegal building is destroyed, while no enforcement is carried out in the outposts."

A Peace Now official added that "the data prove that the discrimination is clearly and blatantly against the Palestinian population, and the denial of permits and the firm enforcement in the Palestinian communities raises the suspicion that this is an intentional policy aimed at bringing about a quiet transfer of the Palestinians from Area C."


USA Today: "Report: Israel denies Palestinians permits"

JERUSALEM (AP) - Israel denied 94% of the building permit requests West Bank Palestinians submitted over the past seven years, the anti-settlement Peace Now group reported Thursday.
In all, 91 of 1,624 requested permits were approved, Peace Now said. By contrast, 18,472 apartments and homes were built between 2000 and September 2007 in Jewish West Bank settlements, the group said, citing Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics.

Military officials in the West Bank responsible for construction said the figures were distorted.

Peace Now also said the army demolished 33% of the 4,993 cases of illegal Palestinian construction against which it issued demolition orders. By contrast, 7% of the 2,900 cases of illegal settler construction that drew demolition orders were torn down, the group said.

The data demonstrate "clear and conspicuous discrimination against the Palestinian population," Peace Now said.

The report applied only to the 60% of the West Bank that Israel fully controls.

Peace Now's assertions on the denial of building requests were based on data that a left-wing lawmaker, Chaim Oron, received in response to a query to Defense Minister Ehud Barak. Information on demolitions were drawn from military data Peace Now obtained.

Capt. Zidki Maman, spokesman for the military unit that oversees civil affairs in the West Bank, accused Peace Now of skewing data to fit its political agenda.

The number of building permits was low because Palestinians rarely submit requests, and then, generally after they receive demolition orders, Maman said. "If Palestinians would submit request for building permits, there could be thousands more approvals," he said.

He would not speculate on why Palestinians did not submit more requests. Palestinians have long complained that Israeli officials reject their building requests.

Maman said the data on demolitions were distorted because the number of settler demolitions did not include construction the settlers themselves tore down after receiving demolition orders. The data on Palestinian demolitions did include self-demolition, inflating the numbers, Maman said.

On Wednesday, AP reported that settlers in the West Bank settlement of Eli were building 27 unauthorized mobile homes, with the government's knowledge. Additionally, settlers have erected more that 100 unauthorized settlement outposts since the early 1990s, and the government has taken little action against them.


DPA: "Report: Israel obstructs Palestinian building in parts of West Bank"

Tel Aviv (dpa) - Israel rejects nearly all Palestinian requests for building permits in those areas of the West Bank which are still under its full control, according to a report published Wednesday by Peace Now.

In the past seven years, only 91 of 1,624 requests submitted had been granted, the Israeli settlement watchdog said. That means more than 94 per cent of the Palestinian requests have been rejected.

Israel also issued demolition orders against 4,993 illegally-built Palestinian houses. One third of them have been executed.

By contrast, such demolition orders were issued against 2,900 houses built illegally by Jewish settlers, and less than 7 per cent of these had been executed, Peace Now said.

It added in all 18,472 new apartments had been built between 2000 and 2007 in Jewish settlements in "area C" - those parts of the West Bank which under the 1993 Oslo interim peace accord are still under full Israeli military and civil control.

The figures proved Israel was "clearly and bluntly" discriminating against the Palestinian population in area C, Peace Now charged.

It accused Israel of following a "deliberate policy" of hindering Palestinian construction in those areas, which would eventually lead to a "quiet transfer" of Palestinians to other parts of the West Bank.

Some 70,000 Palestinians, under 3 per cent of the total Palestinian population in the West Bank, live in area C, which makes up around 60 per cent of the occupied territory.

All of Israel's some 124 Jewish settlements in the West Bank are located in those areas governed by the Israeli military, while "area A" - the most-densely populated Palestinian cities and their surroundings - have full autonomy and are governed by the Palestinian Authority (PA).

"Areas B," where the PA governs civil affairs and Israel has security control, are semi-autonomous.

The spokesman for the Israeli military's Civil Administration, responsible for areas C, was not immediately available for comment.