Israel advances plans for 1,303 Palestinian West Bank homes

It's unusual for the council to advance so many plans for Palestinian homes in Area C during a single meeting or even in a given year. 

 Israeli soldiers stand guard as Israeli machineries demolish an under-construction Palestinian building, in Bani Naim near Hebron in the West Bank March 8, 2021. (photo credit: MUSSA QAWASMA/REUTERS)
Israeli soldiers stand guard as Israeli machineries demolish an under-construction Palestinian building, in Bani Naim near Hebron in the West Bank March 8, 2021.
(photo credit: MUSSA QAWASMA/REUTERS)

The Civil Administration advanced plans for 1,303 Palestinian homes in Area C on Monday, in the first authorization of its kind since US President Joe Biden took office.

The Higher Planning Council for Judea and Samaria, which debate the project, approved 1,133 for deposit, which allows them to move forward to a final stage of approval.

This includes: 270 homes in Al-Ma’assara village in the Bethlehem area, 233 homes in Almasqufa in the Tulkarm area and  200 in Dkeika in the South Hebron Hills as well was 160 homes in Abba a-Sharqiya and 270 in Bir al-basha in the Jenin area.

Plans for another 170 homes in Khirbet Abdallah Younas near Jenin were given final approval. 

It's unusual for the council to advance so many plans for Palestinian homes in Area C during a single meeting or even in a given year. 

 A BUILDING SITE in Efrat. All of the projects that have been approved for Area C’s Jewish sector are on land that has already been slated for expansion of existing communities. (credit: GERSHON ELINSON/FLASH90) A BUILDING SITE in Efrat. All of the projects that have been approved for Area C’s Jewish sector are on land that has already been slated for expansion of existing communities. (credit: GERSHON ELINSON/FLASH90)

When the council met in January in the final days of the Trump administration, it approved 140 Palestinian homes. In 2020, the council advanced plans for 240 Palestinian homes in Area C, which is under Israeli military and civilian rule.

Israel is under pressure from the United States and from the international community to authorize Palestinian building in Area C, a region which right-wing politicians believe should be included within Israel's final borders.

Similarly, the international community has pushed Israel to halt its practice of demolishing illegal Palestinian homes, particularly given the small number of Palestinian building permits that receive approvals.

On Monday, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs that in September the number of IDF demolitions of Palestinian structures dropped to the lowest point, since 2018.

"Three structures were demolished In Area C, the lowest number recorded since mid-2018. All the structures were houses under construction, two of which were demolished on the basis of Military Order 1797, providing a 96-hour notice only, and very limited grounds, for legally challenging a demolition," OCHA said.

But that number increased already in October according to a separate OCHA report, which noted that at least 23 illegal Palestinian structures had been taken down. As of October 18, acceding to OCHA, the IDF dismantled 576 illegal Palestinian structures in 2021 compared with 664 in all of 2020.