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Oslo agreement enables Israel to control all West Bank: B'Tselem
Oslo agreement enables  Israel to control all West Bank: B'Tselem
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ALRAY - B'Tselem issued  Thursday on the day of Naksa a statement explaining that Israel exploits Oslo Accords to over control the West Bank lands.

B'Tselem , The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories , made clear that Palestinian authority emanated from Oslo Accord in 1993 deceiving the public opinion that  Israeli occupation has a minor role in Palestinian daily life.

“In theory, Israel retains full control in the West Bank only of Area C. In practice, Israel’s control of Area C adversely affects all Palestinian West Bank residents,” B'Tselem reported.

Naksa Day (5 June 1967), meaning “day of the setback”, is the annual day of commemoration for the Palestinian people of the displacement that accompanied Israel's victory in the 1967 Six-Day War. As a result of the war, Israel took control of the Palestinian-populated West Bank and Gaza Strip, which were previously annexed by Jordan and controlled by Egypt, respectively

The report stated that some 60 percent of West Bank lands have been classified as “Area C” and are under full and exclusive Israeli control. Area C is home to an estimated 180,000 Palestinians and includes the major residential and development land reserves for the entire West Bank. Israel prohibits Palestinian construction and development on some 70 percent of Area C territory, arguing various rationales, such as being “state lands” or “firing zones.”

Israel’s planning and construction policy virtually ignores the needs of the local population: it refuses to recognize most of the villages in the area or draw up plans for them, prevents the expansion and development of Palestinian communities, demolishes homes and does not allow the communities to hook up to infrastructure. Thousands of inhabitants live under the constant threat of expulsion for living in alleged firing zones or “illegal” communities. In addition, Israel has taken over most of the water sources in Area C and has restricted Palestinian access to them.

Scattered throughout the vast expanses of Area C are 166 “islands” of Area A- and B-land that are home to the major concentrations of population in the West Bank. The land reserves that surround the built-up sections of West Bank towns and villages are often designated as Area C, and Israel does not allow construction or development on these reserves. Israel thereby stifles many Area A and B communities, denying them the opportunity to develop. This is one of the contributing factors to the difficulty in obtaining lots for construction, the steep price hike in the cost of the few available plots, the dearth of open areas, and the total lack of suitable sites for infrastructure and industrial zones. If, for want of an alternative, residents of these areas build homes without permits on nearby land – owned by them but classified “Area C” – they live under the constant shadow of the threat of demolition.

The report stated that Israel’s policy in Area C is anchored in a perception of the area as meant above all to serve Israeli needs. Consequently, Israel consistently takes actions that strengthen its hold on Area C, displace Palestinian presence, exploit the area’s resources to benefit Israelis, and bring about a permanent situation in which Israeli settlements thrive and Palestinian presence is negligible. Israel’s actions have brought about a de facto annexation of Area C and have created circumstances that will influence the final status of the area.

" Israel’s policy in Area C violates the essential obligations of international humanitarian law, namely: to safeguard occupied territory on a temporary basis; to refrain from altering the area or exploiting its resources to benefit the occupying power; and, most importantly, to undertake to fulfill the needs of the local residents and respect their rights," it reported.

 Instead, through the Civil Administration, Israel pursues a policy designed to achieve precisely the opposite: the Civil Administration refuses to prepare master plans for the Area C communities and draws on the absence of these plans to justify the prohibition of virtually all Area C construction and infrastructure hook-ups. In cases where, having no alternative, residents carry out construction despite the prohibition, the Civil Administration demolishes their homes. Israel utterly ignores the reality that residents cannot build their homes legally. Israel conducts itself as though this situation were not in fact a direct result of its own policy.

As long as Israel controls the West Bank, including Area C, it must meet its obligations under international law and human rights law, the institution demanded.

It stressed that first, Israel must revoke the allocation it has made of vast tracts of “state land” to the local and district councils of settlements’ – whose very existence is in contravention of international law – and also retract the classification of extensive areas as firing zones.

Second, Israel must allocate lands throughout Area C to Palestinians for housing, infrastructure and industrial zones, and pursue an expert planning process whose top priority will be the needs of the Palestinians in the West Bank. In accordance with Jordanian law which was in effect in the West Bank before Israel changed it, representatives of the local Palestinian population must be included in this process. The process must also feature recognition of existing communities in the West Bank, and all Palestinian residents of the West Bank must be promptly hooked up to water and power infrastructure.

" Israel must work in conjunction with Palestinian Authority representatives to promote overall planning in the West Bank and to address the planning and development needs of the residents of the entire West Bank," it demanded.