Discriminatory Planning and Building Policies the West Bank

Despite its obligation under international humanitarian law to ensure the welfare of the Palestinian civilian population under occupation, Israel’s planning policies severely discriminate against the Palestinian population in the West Bank and violate their fundamental right to housing and development.
Israel controls both security matters and civil affairs including planning and construction in Area C, which comprises almost 61% of the West Bank. Given the interrelation between Areas A and B, both of which are fragmented and surrounded by Area C, and Area C, the Israeli control of the latter affects not only the Palestinians whose homes are within it. It also affects the development prospects of every community in the West Bank and the interaction between these communities.

The Israeli planning system in the West Bank operates along two separate tracks – one for Israeli settlers and the other for Palestinians. While the system works vigorously to establish and expand settlements, it also acts diligently to prevent the expansion of existing Palestinian towns and villages, to prevent the establishment of new ones, and to demolish houses built without permits. The main tool used by Israel to choke Palestinian development is to simply refrain from planning. In the few cases it has prepared new plans for villages in Area C, these were entirely inadequate, restricting rather than enabling construction and development. Outline plans dating back to the Mandatory period, which are completely outdated and fail to take into account the current size and needs of the Palestinian population, are still in effect. Unable to obtain permits, Palestinians are left with no choice but to build without permits and therefore live under the constant threat of having their homes demolished.

ACRI is working intensively to address such discriminatory policies and advocate for Israel’s compliance with its obligations under international law.

Resources on Building and Planning in the West Bank:
High Court Approves Demolition of West Bank Village, January 2009

ACRI’s Shadow Report to the UN Committee for the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination, January 2006

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Categories: Impact of Settlements, Land Distribution and Planning Rights, The Occupied Territories, The Right to Property

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