About Us

Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine
UK architects, planners and other construction industry professionals campaigning for a just peace in Israel/Palestine.


Israel approved almost 14,000 settler homes and demolished over 500 Palestinian structures during 9 months of peace talks

BY Kate on Mondoweiss        30 April 2014

Israeli settlements in the West Bank (Photo: Reuters)

Israeli settlements in the West Bank (Photo: Reuters)

Israel okayed nearly 14,000 settler homes during talks: NGO
JERUSALEM (AFP) 29 Apr — Israel approved plans for nearly 14,000 new settler homes during the nine months of peace talks with the Palestinians, an Israeli settlement watchdog said Tuesday as the negotiation period formally ended. Figures quoted by Peace Now showed that during the talks, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government approved at least 13,851 new housing through the advancement of plans and the publication of tenders. “This is an unprecedented number representing an average of 50 housing units per day or 1,540 per month,” it said. “Netanyahu broke construction records during the nine-month peace talks,” Peace Now head Yariv Oppenheimer told AFP. Israel’s ongoing settlement building has weighed heavily on the negotiation process, with the Palestinians infuriated by the relentless pace of new construction approvals on land they want for a future state. They have demanded a complete settlement freeze as one of the key conditions for any return to the crisis-hit talks.

PLO: Israel demolished over 500 Palestinian structures during talks

 02/05/2014 18:06

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israel demolished over 500 Palestinian structures throughout the US-brokered peace negotiations, the PLO said in a statement Tuesday.

Citing figures from the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the PLO said Israel demolished a total of 508 Palestinian structures, 312 of which were homes, from July 30, 2013 to April 29, 2014.

"As a result, 878 persons were forcibly displaced," the statement said.

The report said that in one case, Israel demolished an entire Palestinian village in the Jordan Valley.

Israeli bulldozers destroyed "the entire community of Khirbit Makhoul (home to 120 Palestinians). In this case alone, more than 20 families became homeless as part of an Israeli plan to deport indigenous Palestinians living in the area."

"Israeli occupation forces also prevented the distribution of humanitarian aid by the government of Palestine and international organizations. The community was surrounded by the illegal settlements of Hmeidat and Roi as well as by an Israeli occupation military camp," the statement said.

Additionally, the report noted that 61 Palestinians died as a result of actions by Israeli forces throughout peace talks. Some 1,100 were been injured.

Some 3,674 Palestinians were detained by Israeli forces, it added.

The US-brokered peace talks made little visible progress, and hit a major stumbling block in late March when Israel refused to honor a commitment to free two dozen veteran Palestinian prisoners, prompting Abbas to resume recognition moves by signing 15 international treaties. 

Furious, Israel immediately unveiled economic sanctions by freezing tax monies it collects on behalf of Ramallah and suspending a joint natural gas drilling project off the Gaza coast.

A political source quoted by the Walla news website said the freezing of tax monies was "just a first step" and that more was to follow after Palestinian leaders in the West Bank and the Hamas-run Gaza Strip announced a surprise unity deal aimed at ending years of rivalry.

Haaretz 29 Apr 2014 by Chaim Levinson — Most of the newly confirmed state land is in areas of strategic importance for settlers, including outposts that could join up with nearby settlements — A record amount of land – slightly more than half of it outside the West Bank separation barrier – was confirmed as state land last year, a critical step toward handing over the land to settlements so that more homes can be built on it. The 28,000 dunams (6,919 acres) were approved by the Civil Administration’s task force for demarcating state land, Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, the government coordinator in the territories, told a Knesset subcommittee this week. The so-called Blue Line task force, established by the Civil Administration in 1999, is reexamining land designated imprecisely during the 1980s as belonging to the state. Most of the newly confirmed state land is in areas of strategic importance for settlers, including outposts that could join up with nearby settlements and areas close to the Green Line that could potentially link up with towns in Israel. The largest plot of land is 3,476 dunams near the West Bank settlement of Ariel, while 2,302 dunams were claimed by the state in the southern Hebron Hills. The land reclamation indicates that Israel is not interested in negotiations, said Dror Etkes, who works with Rabbis for Human Rights to track Israeli settlement policy



Haaretz editorial: Israel’s whitewashed territories

30 Apr — Appropriating land and declaring it ‘state land’ is a historic injustice that is a fundamental aspect of the occupation — The Israeli government and its proxies in the West Bank have never let up in their efforts to portray the settlement enterprise as legal, even though it is a sweeping violation of international law. An ongoing example of this is the work of the Blue Line task force, which was set up by the Civil Administration to reevaluate the validity of the status of state land. Some one million dunams (250,000 acres) of land were declared to be state land during the 1980s, in an effort to circumvent objections voiced by the High Court of Justice to seizing lands for settlement. Appropriating land and declaring it “state land” is a historic injustice that is a fundamental aspect of the occupation. Meanwhile, as the years have passed, it emerged that these designations were not based on orderly examinations of legal ownership, a fact that has embroiled the state in numerous lawsuits. The state has been reexamining the status of these lands for over 13 years. To get a new permit to build on “old” state lands (as opposed to newly declared lands), developers must get the approval of the blue-line team – so named because the state land designations are marked by a blue line on government maps. But in practice it seems that on some of these lands, homes and outposts have already been built. In order to retroactively whitewash them, and to enable other settlements to expand “legally,” the Civil Administration in 2013 re-designated some 28,000 dunams as state land.

From the data revealed by Haaretz’s Chaim Levinson on Tuesday, it emerges that most of the land in question is within the municipal boundaries of various settlements, and around half of it is east of the West Bank separation barrier.