Israel rejects nearly all Palestinian requests for building permits in those areas of the West Bank which are still under its full control, according to a report published Wednesday by Peace Now.
In the past seven years, only 91 of 1,624 requests submitted had been granted, the Israeli settlement watchdog said. That means more than 94 per cent of the Palestinian requests have been rejected.
Israel also issued demolition orders against 4,993 Palestinian houses. One third of them have been executed.
By contrast, such demolition orders were issued against 2,900 houses built illegally by Jewish settlers, and less than 7 per cent of these had been executed, Peace Now said.
It added in all 18,472 new apartments had been built between 2000 and 2007 in Jewish settlements in "area C" - those parts of the West Bank which under the 1993 Oslo interim peace accord are still under full Israeli military and civil control.
The figures proved Israel was "clearly and bluntly" discriminating against the Palestinian population in area C, Peace Now charged.
It accused Israel of following a "deliberate policy" of hindering Palestinian construction in those areas, which would eventually lead to a "quiet transfer" of Palestinians to other parts of the West Bank.
Some 70,000 Palestinians, under 3 per cent of the total Palestinian population in the West Bank, live in area C, which makes up around 60 per cent of the occupied territory.
All of Israel's some 124 Jewish settlements in the West Bank are located in those areas governed by the Israeli military, while "area A" - the most-densely populated Palestinian cities and their surroundings - have full autonomy and are governed by the Palestinian Authority (PA).
"Areas B," where the PA governs civil affairs and Israel has security control, are semi-autonomous.
The spokesman for the Israeli military's Civil Administration, responsible for areas C, was not immediately available for comment.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 22 Şubat 2008, 00:20