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Israel rejects dozens of Palestinian building permits in Jerusalem Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

Israel rejects dozens of Palestinian building permits in Jerusalem

Israel is seeking to annex more of occupied East Jerusalem [Photothek]

Date of publication: 3 March, 2019

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Israel has rejected around 20 building permits in occupied East Jerusalem in a landmark move that symbolises yet more uncertainty for the fate of Palestinians in the area.

Israel’s Jerusalem planning and building committee on Saturday rejected tens of applications made by Palestinians to establish building permits in occupied East Jerusalem.

Around 20 applications for resident permits were refused by Israel, which is perceived to be part of a long term plan for authorities to find loopholes designed to annex Palestinian land by refusing their ownership.

Traditionally, Palestinians officiated land ownership through the leader or the head of a village, known in Arabic as a Mukhtar. With Israel refusing to recognise Palestinian ownership through traditional means, Palestinians have  resorted to applying for building permits to officiate their ownership of their own land from Israeli authorities.

Refusing permits essentially means Israel refuses to recognise Palestinians rights to their homes in the occupied territory.

The latest wave of rejections is percieved to set a precedent of permits becoming yet more difficult to attain, meaning Palestinians have virtually no chance of Israel recognising their ownership to their land.

Not having a permit puts Palestinians at risk of eviction, demolitions and in some cases being forced to destroy their own homes and businesses.

The building permits are charged at extortionate prices and are unaffordable for most Palestinian Jerusalemites, creating a legal loophole for Israel to annex more land and to leave Palestinians in limbo by preventing them from developing their infrastructure, if they are given the right to it.

Four out of five of Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem live under the poverty line, and applying for building permits comes with various taxes and fees amounting to tens of thousands of dollars.

Between 2010 and 2014, only 1.5 percent of all Palestinian building permit applications across the occupied West Bank were approved by Israel, according to the UN.

The cost of a permit for a single home is estimated to be in the region of $30,000.

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