Palestinian Authority prepares action plan to extend authority to Area C

“We will set free the hands of people in Area C and see how many housing units will be built.” the Minister of Local Government, Ahmad Ghoneim told WAFA, the news agency of the PA.

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September 4, 2019 09:40
2 minute read.
Palestinian Authority prepares action plan to extend authority to Area C

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas addresses Arab journalists in Ramallah on July 3. (photo credit: MOHAMAD TOROKMAN/REUTERS)

The Palestinian Authority plans to promote and authorize Palestinian building in Area C of the West Bank, which is under the Israeli military and civilian control.

All Palestinian building in Area C is regulated by Israel’s Civil Administration. Right-wing politicians and the right-wing NGO Regavim have long argued that the PA was attempting to silently take over Area C of the West Bank where all Israeli settlements are located.

The 1993 Oslo Accords divided the West Bank into three geographical regions, placing Areas A and B under the auspices of the Palestinian Authority.

“We will set free the hands of people in Area C and see how many housing units will be built. We will not stand by watching while the occupation robs us of our land, builds settlements, and redefines land concepts sometimes as disputed, other times as under Israeli law, and then annexed,” the Minister of Local Government, Ahmad Ghoneim told WAFA, the news agency of the PA.

He said his ministry was coming up with an action plan to implement a government decision on the matter.

There will be a mechanism to compensate investors in Palestinian buildings in Area C, should Israel demolish those structures, Ghoneim said. Illegal Palestinian such as the kind that occurs in east Jerusalem can also happen in the West Bank, he said, noting that there are some 23,000 such units in the city.

The PA’s action with regard to Area C comes less than two months after the IDF razed 12 structures, with some 70 apartments, that were located in Areas A and B of the West Bank, in an area under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian city of Bethlehem. Most of the structures were in various stages of construction, but families were already living in some of the units. The property owners had received building permits from the Bethlehem municipality.

The structures were built on the Israeli side of the security barrier which runs through the outskirts of Bethlehem in an area called Wadi Hummus.

On the Israeli side, Wadi Hummus is adjacent to the Jerusalem neighborhood of Sur Baher. The Palestinians living there have Jerusalem residency.

Israel said it demolished the structures because they were located within 400 meters of the security barrier, a distance that is illegal in that area.

The PA at the time claimed that the demolitions violated the Oslo Accords because Israel did not have jurisdiction over building in Areas A and B of the West Bank.


The PA at the time claimed that the demolitions violated the Oslo Accords because Israel did not have jurisdiction over building in Areas A and B of the West Bank.


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