The decision by Israel's new government approving the possible construction of 863 Arab residential units in Area C of Judea and Samaria (West Bank) is a positive move by Israel as it battles incessant United Nations (UN) and European Union (EU) pressure seeking to deny it the legal right to reconstitute the Jewish National Home there under article 6 of the Mandate for Palestine and article 80 of the UN Charter.
Israel's Civil Administration (ICA) had approved a smaller scale plan for 140 Palestinian homes in Area C in January at the end of the Trump administration.
ICA plans to hold a hearing shortly on the potential authorization of these newest 863 homes - many of which have already been illegally built.
Israel's decision follows CIA Director William Burns holding separate meetings in Israel with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Defence Minister Benny Gantz.
The decision will give President Biden's image a much-needed boost in the international arena as his administration battles with the results of his disastrous decision to withdraw all American troops from Afghanistan.
This breakthrough represents an affirmative response to the following emotive-packed question posed by UN-Habitat:
What do you do if you are told you need a permit in order to build a home that would not be demolished, but it is all but impossible to acquire such a permit? This is the situation facing many Palestinians living in Area C in the West Bank.
UN-Habitat's own in-depth response is revealing:
The vast majority of Palestinian applications for Israeli building permits in Area C are rejected by the Israeli authorities on the grounds that the relevant area has not been zoned for construction. This is the case even when the land for which the permit is requested is undisputedly owned by the Palestinian applicant. Consequently, it is virtually impossible for Palestinians to obtain building permits: according to data obtained by the Israeli organization Peace Now from the ICA, between 2009 and 2018 only two per cent of all requests submitted by Palestinians for building permits in Area C were granted (98 out of 4,422).
Both the UN and EU have condemned demolitionsof illegally built Arab residences in Area C.
The EU has also become increasingly embroiled in planning and financing unauthorized structures in Area C – which UN-Habitat has confirmed:
Based on certain criteria, the European Union (EU) collectively, as well as certain individual EU members states, sometimes support the construction of essential infrastructure projects in areas covered by pending local outline plans, despite the risk of demolition and confiscation.
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