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Israel decreases number of building permits issued to Palestinians

The West Bank is under Israeli occupation [Getty]

Date of publication: 2 September, 2019

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The number of building permits Israel has granted to Palestinians in the second quarter of 2019 has decreased by fourteen percent.
The number of building permits Israel has granted to Palestinians in the occupied territories has decreased by 14 percent in the second quarter of 2019.

A total of 2,241 building licenses were issued in the occupied Palestinian territories in the second quarter of 2019, which included 1,358 for new buildings, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics said on Monday.

The new statistics show a 14 percent decrease in the number of permits granted to Palestinians, compared to the first quarter of the year.

The lack of permits means Palestinians are subject to demolitions of their homes and businesses as Israel continues its project to ultimately annex the West Bank.

In some cases, Israel forces Palestinians to demolish their own buildings, imposing heavy taxes on those who refuse.

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 Palestinian rights to their homes in the occupied West Bank.

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 Palestinians, creating a legal loophole for Israel to annex more land and to leave Palestinians in limbo by preventing them from developing infrastructure.

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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