Restrictions imposed by Israeli Occupation authorities on Palestinian development in Area C of the Occupied West Bank cost the Palestinian economy an estimated $50 billion between 2000 and 2020, the United Nations (UN) said in a report yesterday.
The UN found that the extra restrictions in Area C, which accounts for about 61 per cent of the Occupied West Bank, had cost $2.5 billion per year.
“Despite several UN Security Council and General Assembly resolutions that emphasise the illegality, under international law, of settlements and the acquisition of territory by force, they continue to grow and expand,” the UN’s development agency, UNCTAD, said.
At the same time, Palestinian access to the remaining 30 per cent of Area C remains “heavily restricted,” the report added.
Under the 1995 Oslo Accords between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA), the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, was divided into three portions – Area A, B and C.
About 400,000 Palestinians live in Area C and are subject to Israeli security and administrative control, as stipulated by the Oslo Accords.
The report also highlights how Israel prevents Palestinians from conducting construction projects in parts of the West Bank designated as Area C under the agreement, to facilitate the expansion of settlements.
Moreover, the building permits are charged extortionate prices and are unaffordable for most Palestinians, creating a legal loophole for Israel to annex more land and leave Palestinians in limbo by preventing them from developing infrastructure.
The Zionist State, meanwhile, approves the construction of thousands of residential units within illegal settlements built on Occupied Palestinian land in the area.
“Ending such restrictions would provide the Palestinian economy with a badly needed economic and natural resource base for developing their economy and reversing the current trend of deepening fiscal crisis and increasing socio-economic deprivation,” the report concluded.