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Sharp decrease in number of building permits granted to Palestinians by Israel

September 7, 2020 at 3:28 pm

Palestinian forced to demolish his own house to avoid paying occupation forces to do it [Ma’an News Agency]

The number of building permits Israel has granted Palestinians in the occupied territories has decreased by 45 per cent in the second quarter of 2020, reported the Wafa news agency.

A total of 1,217 building licenses were issued in the occupied Palestinian territories (OPT) in the second quarter of 2019, which included 813 for new buildings, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics said today.

The new statistics show a 45 per cent decrease in the number of permits granted to Palestinians, compared to the first quarter of the year.

Palestinians are rarely granted building permits by the Israeli occupation authorities, especially in occupied East Jerusalem.

READ: Israel issued 650 demolition orders against Palestinian facilities in 2020

Palestinians charge that the true purpose of the restrictive planning regime applied by Israeli authorities is to empty the city of its Palestinian inhabitants.

The UN’s Office for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) noted in an April 2019 report that in East Jerusalem “a restrictive planning regime applied by Israel makes it virtually impossible for Palestinians to obtain building permits.”

The building permits are charged at extortionate prices and are unaffordable for most Palestinians, creating a legal loophole for Israel to annex more land and to leave Palestinians in limbo by preventing them from developing infrastructure.

The latest demolitions in occupied East Jerusalem brought the total number of Palestinian structures destroyed this year to 118: “Half of them were carried out by the owners,” reported OCHA.

Israel’s widely practiced policies of home demolitions targeting entire families are acts of illegal collective punishment and come in direct violation of International Human Rights Law.

READ: Israel demolishes 25 Palestine structures, displaces 32 people in 2 weeks, says UN