Ma'an News Agency
March 30, 2010 - 12:00am
A general view of the Israeli only settlement of Ma`ale Zaytim in occupied East Jerusalem on 11 December 2006. [MaanImages/Moti Milrod]
The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics issued a statement Tuesday to mark Land Day, estimating that more than 85% of Palestinian land remains under Israeli control, with 55% of settlers in the West Bank centered in the Jerusalem governorate.
According to 2008 data, the number of outposts, settlements and military bases in the West Bank totaled 440 with the highest number of settlers in Jerusalem, the PCBS wrote. The number of Israelis living on illegal settlements in the Jerusalem governorate, such as the Gilo settlement near Bethlehem, reached 261,885 of which 198,458 live in occupied East Jerusalem settlements.
"In demographic terms, the percentage of settlers in the Palestinian Territory according to 2008 equaled 17.2% of the total persons living in the West Bank," the statement read.
Jerusalem demolitions and fines against Palestinian home owners
The PCBS said that approximately 50 million US dollars in fines have been handed down to Palestinian residents between 2004 and 2008, restricting their ability to construct in Jerusalem.
"Israeli authorities have not only continued its occupation policies of racism toward the Palestinians through the confiscation of identity cards and demolition of houses, but sought in every possible way to restrict the issuance of building permits for the Palestinians."
Since 2000 to Jan 2010 there were 1,010 housing units demolished in East Jerusalem (exluding parts of the city under legal Israeli sovereignty). "The year 2009 witnessed a remarkable rise in the number of demolished homes in Jerusalem including 103 inhabited housing units, of which 23 by forced demolition, displacing 569 Palestinians including 281 children."
In addition to fines, the PCBS wrote that "additional methods were used by Israel Authorities to attain its demographic objective," including the revocation of residency rights of Palestinian Jerusalem residents, with 8,558 Palestinians losing such rights since 1967, according to B’Tselem. Of the total, 4,577 Palestinians had their ID cards revoked in 2008 alone.
Approximately 23,100 housing units have been destroyed in occupied Palestinian territory between 1967 and 2008 in the West Bank and Gaza Strip "under the pretext of resisting the occupation or construction without license, including Jerusalem." Of that total, 13,400 housing units were destroyed between 2000 and the end of May 2009 in the West Bank and Gaza according to a PLO study.
"These figures do not include more than 4,100 housing units completely destroyed and about 17,000 buildings destroyed partially in the Gaza Strip during the recent aggression on Gaza Strip in December 2008."
The UN estimates that there are 60,000 Palestinians in East Jerusalem currently living in buildings threatened with demolition. "The Israeli housing policies in East Jerusalem illegally discriminate against the Palestinian population in East Jerusalem which make up 60% of the population. The Israeli government has only allocated 12% to Palestinian installations."
"Even in this small area allocated, not many Palestinians can afford to complete the process of issuing building permits, a process that is both complicated and expensive," PCBS wrote.
555,000 dunums of land confiscated for the construction and expansion of the wall
Data compiled by PCBS revealed that the isolated area between the wall and the Green Line amounted to almost 555,000 dunums, which represents about 9.8% of the West Bank. The wall isolated 191.0 km2 in the eastern area, which represents about 3.4% of the West Bank.
"The wall is expected to devour about 46% of West Bank territory divided into 10% isolated areas west of the wall, and 4% in Jerusalem. The Jordan Valley will be isolated by some 29% either by the current plan of separation, or by the establishment of the eastern wall, and there 3.5% will be forfeited to the bypass roads and settlements in the remainder of the central West Bank."
Israel has also set up a buffer zone along the border of the Gaza Strip, with a width of more than 1,500m along the eastern border, PCBS said. Its length is about 58 km, "which means that it would cut 87km² of the total area of the Gaza Strip (which is one of the most densely populated in the world). It will effectively place 24% of Gaza under Israeli control."