Prime Minister announces to treat all of the West Bank like Area A

The Palestinian Authority’s (PA) Prime Minister, Mohammed Shtayyeh, announced on 4 August, during a meeting of the Defense of Wadi al-Hummus Committee, that the PA will start treating all Areas in Palestine as if they were Area A.

Ibrahim Milhem, a spokesperson for the Prime Minister, clarified that Shtayyeh intended with this statement to say that the PA will begin to issue building permits to Palestinians in Area C.

This announcement goes in one line with past reaction from PA officials, like President Mahmoud Abbas, who declared on 25 July, that the PA would abandon all agreements with Israel as a reaction to the destruction of Palestinian buildings in Wadi Al Hummus.

Prime Minister’s spokesperson, Milhem, further stated: Israel showed in a very clear manner that it did not honour the signed agreements when it demolished the homes in Wadi Hummus, especially the ones in Area A.

Shtayyeh justified this step, by stating Israel no longer respects any of the signed agreements and has started to deal with all places as if they are part of Area C. Therefore, we will deal with all places as if they are part of Area A.

After the Oslo Accords, the West Bank was separated in Area A, B and C. The PA has full administrative and security control in Area A, however not in Area B, where Palestine holds the administrative and Israel the security control, as well in Area C where Israel has sole authority.

Therefore, if a Palestinian in Area C wants to build any structures or buildings, they require a building permit from the Israeli Civil Administration (CA). The chances of receiving such a building permit are infamously known for being vanishingly low.

As Israel nowadays destroys buildings in Area C, which are built without a building permit from the CA, it is likely that Israeli authorities will also destroy buildings which obtain a PA building permit.

Only on Tuesday, 30 July, the Israeli government released a statement announcing the approval of 6,000 permits for settler buildings as well as 700 building permits for Palestinians in Area C. However, the announcement does not clarify if these permits are newly exhibited or obtained for an already existing building.

A spokesperson for Mahmoud Abbas, said: We will not give any legitimacy to the construction of any settlement.

Only a few days after that announcement former Shin Bet chief, Yoram Cohen expressed his concerns regarding Israel’s current settlement policies.

In an interview, he explained, Steps must be taken toward reducing the occupation or the visibility of the occupation in Judea and Samaria by improving transportation, improving work [opportunities] by converting Area B to Area A, he continued by saying that a possible annexation of the West Bank would eventually lead to unnecessary bloodshed.

Source: Palestine Monitor