The rate of building licences Israel has granted Palestinians in the occupied territories has decreased by ten per cent during the first quarter of this year, Wafa news agency reported.
A total of 2,530 building licences were issued in the occupied Palestinian territories (OPT) in the first quarter of 2023, which included 1,625 for new buildings, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics said today.
The new statistics show a ten per cent decrease in the number of permits granted to Palestinians, compared to the fourth quarter of last year.
Palestinians are rarely granted building permits by the Israeli occupation authorities, especially in occupied East Jerusalem.
Moreover, the data revealed that the number of permits issued during the first quarter of 2023 decreased by 18 per cent compared with the fourth quarter of 2022 and a further 23 per cent compared with the first quarter of 2022, added the PCBS.
It comes after the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported last week that the Israeli occupation authorities have demolished, forced local people to demolish or seized 290 Palestinian-owned structures across the West Bank and Jerusalem in the first quarter of 2023.
“All but 19 of the structures were targeted for lacking building permits, which are nearly impossible for Palestinians to obtain,” explained OCHA. “As a result, 413 people, including 194 children, were displaced, and the livelihoods or access to services of over 11,000 others were affected.”
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. Palestinians who do apply for permits often have no response for years or have their applications rejected.
OCHA added that “The number of structures targeted in the first quarter of 2023 has increased by 46 per cent compared with the same period in 2022, which already saw the highest number of demolitions recorded in the West Bank and Jerusalem since 2016.”
Israel’s widely practised policy of home demolitions targeting entire families are acts of illegal collective punishment and come in direct violation of International Human Rights Law.