Legal Work, Occupied Territories

Response to Kerry’s plan shows planning rights wrongly used as political leverage

0 Comments 20 February 2017

Once again it seems that Palestinian’s right to plan and build in Area C is being used as political leverage.

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Netanyahu’s response to John Kerry’s plan indicates the use of planning as a tool in political negotiation.

Rabbis for Human Rights responds to a publication in Haaretz by Barak Ravid on February 19 2017 detailing dealings between Prime Minister Netanyahu, and former US Secretary of State, John Kerry:

In a news item covering a plan offered by former US Secretary of State John Kerry, we once again see how Israeli policy violates the rights of Palestinians by leveraging planning and development rights as a tool for political negotiations. As we have previously demonstrated, the current military planning system in Area C almost completely blocks Palestinian building and construction, even on privately owned Palestinian land, and allocates a very meager space for building, if at all, compared with Jewish settlements of similar populations. In the past, there have been indications that the issue of planning rights for Palestinians is unacceptably, and to the detriment of Palestinians, used as a bargaining chip to apply pressure on the Palestinian Authority by Israeli parties and for other purposes unrelated to the professional process. Now, according to Haaretz, it appears Netanyahu suggested to former US Secretary of State that as part of a diplomatic process, Israel would permit the approval of large numbers of building permits for Palestinians in Area C. In light of this, it is crucial to understand that planning and development for Palestinians residing in Area C must be regarded as a right determined by professional and objective standards, and must not be dependent on the success or failure of political negotiation, or cynically employed as a carrot and stick within the framework of dealing with the Palestinian Authority or other bodies.

Rabbis for Human Rights petitioned the High Court of Justice on the basis that the current military system governing planning in Area C of the Palestinian Territories is discriminatory against Palestinians and not based on objective and professional standards. The evidence that this is true continues to mount. We urge the Israeli government to ensure planning for Palestinians in Area C is based on professional and egalitarian standards.

From Haaretz:
“The following day Netanyahu met with Kerry and proposed a series of significant gestures to the Palestinians in the West Bank, including permits for massive construction by Palestinians in Area C, the area of the West Bank under Israeli military and civilian control.”

Haaretz: Kerry Offered Netanyahu Regional Peace Plan in Secret Summit with Al-Sissi, King Abdullah

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