Settlements in the West Bank

Population growth within both Israeli settlements and Palestinian villages exacerbates tensions over the allocation of land and resources in the West Bank. Palestinian villages located in Area C of the West Bank (the areas of the West Bank that are still under full Israeli administrative and security control according to the Oslo Peace Accords) must apply to Israeli authorities for building permits. About 60 percent of all West Bank land falls under this category. Within the last decade, only 1.5 percent of these applications were approved. Consequently, almost all Palestinian new construction occurs without the required permits. Structures built without permits can be demolished by the Israeli military. The construction of the Separation Barrier and the restrictions on movement that it creates, prevents Palestinians in the West Bank from maintaining their land on the Israeli-controlled side of the wall. After laying uncultivated for three years, these lands can become Israeli state land under the Absentee Property Law of 1950.

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