In Cisjordan, for every Palestinian home built, 18 are demolished
Jerusalem (AsiaNews) - Between 2000 and 2007, in the area of Cisjordan that is entirely under Israeli control, for every house that the Palestinians have been permitted to build, 18 have been demolished. Peace Now, a pacifist Israeli organisation, asserts that during the years under examination the Palestinians presented 1,624 construction requests, obtaining 91 approvals. In the same period, 4,993 orders of demolition were issued against them, 1,663 of which were carried out. Also during that period and in the same territory, Israeli settlers built 18,472 homes and received 2,900 orders for demolition, 199 of which were carried out.
These figures - in part contested by a spokesman of the Israeli army - contained in the February report of Peace Now are significant for demonstrating the spread of Jewish settlers in zone C of Cisjordan, which the Oslo accords grant exclusively to Israeli oversight. On the basis of official data, in this zone, for every building project approved for the Palestinians there have been 55 orders of demolition and 18 demolitions; more than 94% of the requests have been rejected; 33% of the demolition orders against Palestinians have been carried out, compared to 7% of demolition orders against Jewish settlers.
The refusal of construction permits on such a large scale, Peace Now maintains, demonstrates that the policy of the authorities is aimed at a silent transfer of Palestinians out of area C. In fact, the report maintains, the Palestinians are prevented not only from building new homes or expanding existing ones, but also from building infrastructure, such as aqueducts and electrical lines. The report cites as a prominent example the case of the village of Qaryut, near Nablus. The Israeli authorities have rejected the request of the municipal council to repair the road, so that the people are forced to travel 23 kilometres to reach a highway half a kilometre away. They are also refused access to water supplies and the use of one of the existing wells in the municipal territory, so that water is brought in tanker trucks, at significant expense and difficulty.
In response to the report by Peace Now, an Israeli military source has in part contested the data, maintaining that the Palestinians rarely advance requests and often build illegally, and that moreover the figures include the demolition of illegal structures carried out by the Palestinians themselves, but not those carried out by the settlers.