PA to grant building permits for West Bank area under full Israeli control
Palestinian deputy minister of local government says move effectively extends Palestinian Authority jurisdiction as part of implementation of decision to cut ties with Israel following IDF demolition of homes in East Jerusalem
The Oslo Accords divided the West Bank into three distinct regions: Area A, which is fully controlled by the PA; Area B, which is under PA civil adminstration and Israeli military control; and Area C, comprising approximately 60 percent of the entire territory.
Last month, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced the suspension of all agreements previously signed with Israel, just a few days after IDF forces demolished several Palestinian buildings in an East Jerusalem neighborhood that spilled over into Area A.
Ahmed Ghoneim, the PA’s deputy minister of local government – which is tasked with urban planning, including the issuance of construction permits – said that the latest move effectively extends the PA's jurisdiction in the West Bank.
"We are implementing the decision (to cut ties with Israel),” Ghoneim said. “On the order of President Abbas, a committee has been formed to develop mechanisms to follow through."
He added that the Ramallah-based PA was merely acting in accordance with the 1993 Oslo Accords, which called for the transfer to the Palestinians of the vast majority of the West Bank 18 months after elections for the Palestinian Legislative Council, or parliament. The elections were held in 1996.
“From a political point of view, the terms ‘A,’ ‘B’ and ‘C’ no longer exist to us," Ghoneim stressed, adding that "from a professional and technical perspective, we will apply planning policies in Palestine at three levels: national, regional and local."
PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh concurs.
On Sunday, during a meeting in his office in Ramallah with owners of homes demolished by Israel last month, Shtayyeh said: "Israel no longer respects any of the signed agreements and deals, (treating) all areas in the West Bank as if they were Area C. Accordingly, we will deal with all areas as if they are Area A.”
Palestinians are rarely granted construction permits in Area C, as opposed to Israel's green-lighting of thousands of homes for settlers living throughout the West Bank.
A spokesman for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declined to comment.
Article written by Mohammad Al-Kassim Reprinted with permission from The Media Line