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Israel approves master plan for Palestinian village in Area C

Nov. 15, 2016 6:40 P.M. (Updated: Nov. 16, 2016 9:53 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) – In a rare move, Israel’s Civil Administration approved a master plan for a small Palestinian village in the northern occupied West Bank.

In a statement received by Ma’an on Tuesday, the Civil Administration, which controls zoning and construction in Area C of the West Bank, said that the higher zoning committee had approved a master plan for the Palestinian village of Tinnik in the Jenin district.

The houses in the village, which has a population of some 1,000, are located in Area C -- the more than 60 percent of the occupied West Bank under full Israeli control -- where Palestinians are rarely able to obtain Israeli-issued building permits. However, under the master plan, the already constructed houses, in addition to new houses, will be able to obtain Israeli building permits and avoid threats of Israeli demolitions.

"The legal recognition of the village will allow for future development," the statement read. The master plan was submitted by the village's local council and dignitaries, and was approved after several meetings with Israeli Civil Administration officials.

The Civil Administration is working on a project seeking to establish an economic passage between Jordan and Jericho, which will reportedly benefit the Palestinian population in the West Bank, the statement added.

Earlier this month, Israel’s Civil Administration issued building permits for two Palestinian schools in the southern West Bank districts of Bethlehem and Hebron, both of which are also located in Area C.

The building permits retroactively legalized previously constructed parts of the al-Tawani school in the south of Hebron, and the al-Jaba school in southwest Bethlehem.

In August, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman unveiled a "carrot and stick" policy toward Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, whereby harsher punishments would be imposed upon families and villages from which "terrorists" originate, while economic benefits would be granted to areas that "have not produced terrorists."

“We will implement a differential policy in Judea and Samaria,” Lieberman said at the time, using an Israeli term for the West Bank. “Its purpose is to continue to give benefits to those who desire coexistence with us and make life difficult for those who seek to harm Jews.”

"Anyone who is prepared for coexistence will prosper, while those who opt for terrorism will lose.”

Nearly all Palestinian applications for building permits in Area C are denied by the Israeli authorities, forcing most communities to build illegally. Meanwhile, land in Area C is routinely allocated for Israeli settlement building throughout the West Bank, in direct violation of international law.

At least 806 Palestinian-owned structures in Area C have been destroyed by Israel since the beginning of the year, compared to a total of 453 structures over the entirety of 2015, according to the United Nations.

Meanwhile at least 1,156 Palestinians have been displaced as a result of the demolitions this year, the UN reported, representing a twofold increase in the number of Palestinians displaced since last year.

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