Analysis: Israel`s surge in demolitions calls into question the international community`s vision for a long-term deal.
B`Tselem says the demolition policy, implemented systematically for years, `constitutes the forced transfer of protected Palestinian residents within the occupied area` [EPA]
Since the beginning of the year, Israeli authorities have carried out a wave of demolitions of Palestinian structures in the occupied West Bank, with numbers that are unprecedented since the United Nations began keeping records in 2009.
As of April 14, Israeli forces had demolished 591 structures in Palestinian communities in Area C, which comprises 60 percent of the West Bank - surpassing the 453 structures demolished in all of 2015. More than 800 people have been displaced; the equivalent figure for all of last year was 580.
Under the Oslo Accords, the Occupied Palestinian Territories were divided into Areas A, B and C, according to where the Palestinian Authority was granted limited autonomy. In Area C, the Israeli military retained full control of security and civil affairs.
Israel justifies these demolitions on the grounds that the structures in question were built illegally, without the required permits from Israeli authorities. However, as widely documented, such permits are almost impossible to obtain - and the situation is getting worse, not better.
Interactive: Building the occupation
Between 2007 and 2010, a mere 4.5 percent of submitted Palestinian planning applications in Area C resulted in permits being granted. In 2014, of 240 Palestinian permit requests, only one was approved.
Critics who call Israel`s planning policies in the occupied West Bank restrictive and discriminatory, in the words of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, felt vindicated this month when a senior Israeli army official told a parliamentary sub-committee that enforcement is more severe towards the Palestinians, compared with construction in Israeli settlements.
Photo: B`Tselem says the demolition policy, implemented systematically for years, “constitutes the forced transfer of protected Palestinian residents within the occupied area.” Source: EPA.