(Dis)Approvals for Palestinians in Area C – 2009-2020

In years 2019-2020 some 32 plans and permits for Palestinians in area C were approved, while 310 plans and permit requests were rejected. The plans and permits include some 265 housing units.
At the same time in the settlements plans for 16,098 were approved and promoted and permits for additional 2,233 units were issued. 

A. Official data from the Civil Administration (till 2018):

According to data provided by the Civil Administration following freedom of information requests (mainly by www.bimkom.org), in the decade between 2009 and 2018:

* the 7 permits in 2015 are permits that were approved, we don’t have data on how many were issued.

In years 2009-2018 – 98 construction permits for Palestinians were issued out of 4,422 requests for permits that were filed. These permits can be for housing, industry, agriculture, infrastructure etc. A few dozen of the permits that were issued between 2016 and 2018 were for the construction of the alternative homes for the Khan Al-Ahmar residence that were supposed to be forcibly relocated. The houses have yet to be built.

B. Data from the Protocols of the Civil Administration Planning Committees:

It is very hard to receive data from the Civil Administration. Sometimes it takes months or even a year to get an answer, which in many times is partial. Another source of information is the protocols of the Higher Planning Council of the Civil Administration and its subcommittees, which only in the last couple of years started to be published regularly online.

The information from the protocols is only about approvals and not about the very issuing of permits. The information is only on those cases that were discussed (we don’t have information about number of requests filed), and not always can we know the exact number of units requested.

The information does not include the hundreds of requests that are discussed at the Inspection Subcommittee where Palestinians can appeal against demolition orders, because the protocols of the Inspection Subcommittee are not public. We only see the cases where the Palestinians appealed against the decision of the Inspection Subcommittee, at the Planning and Licensing Subcommittee (of all the appeals in 2019-2020 only 1 was not rejected).


1. Appeals against demolition orders after they were rejected at the Inspection Subcommittee:

Year Appeals Discussed Appeals Rejected Appeals Accepted* No Decision was Published
2019 95 91 1 3
2020 218 179 39
2021 15 15

* the one appeal that was not rejected allowed the Palestinians to file a detailed plan to try to approve the construction.


2. Permit Requests for new construction

Year Permits Requested Permits Rejected Permits Approved
2019 4 1 3
2020 11 11

The permits approved include: 10 permits for agriculture or industry structures, one for a higher education structure in Al-Bireh, one for a solar panel, one to build 6 housing units in Elazariya and one to add a floor on an existing house in Elazariya.

3. Plans for retroactive approvals (after a demolition order was issued):

Year Plans Discussed Plans Rejected Plans Approved
2019 22 20 2
2020 15 14 1

The plans approved were only two plans: a plan for a cement factory in Mazra’a Al-Sharqiya, and a plan for 6 units in Battir (This plan was approved for deposit in 2019 and approved for validation in 2020).


4. Plans for new construction

Year Plans Discussed Plans Rejected Plans Approved
2019 12 12
2020 8 8

Four plans that were approved for deposit in 2019, were approved for validation in 2020 so the total number of plans approved in 2019-2020 was 16.

The plans approved include: A factory in Anata; A resort in Qabatya; changes in the plan for the new site of Khan Al-Ahmar and water infrastructure for it; A clinic in Beit Jala; adding two housing units and building a hotel in Beit Jala; 2 housing units in Elazariya, 10 housing units in Beit Hanina lands (in area c); an industrial area; a gas station in Harmala; an industrial area in Beit Fajjar; A plan for 35 units (some of them are already built) in Al-Arus (Zif); and a plan for c; 210 units (40 of them already built) in A-Tuwani.

The most significant plans, with housing units are in Al-Arus (Zif) 35 units, and in A-Tuwani 210 units + another 14 units in other places.


At the same time in Settlements: 

In years 2019-2020 the HPC approved plans for 16,098 units in settlements. In addition, the municipalities of the settlements issued permits for AT LEAST 2,233 housing units (according to the partial data published by the Israeli CBS).

Data from 2021

There were two hearings in the Planning and Licensing Subcommittee in 2021 but no protocol was published yet. One hearing was of 15 appeals against demolition orders and on the other hearing from 17/1/21 we published the following summary:

According to reports, the Prime Minister’s Office today asked to cancel the hearing due to settlers’ pressure. This is in addition to the pressure put by settlers last week which led to the removal of three plans for Palestinian villages from the committee’s agenda.

No decisions were made during the discussion, but the spirit of the discussion shows that:

  1. There is an intention to approve the plan to legalize 70 existing housing units in the Palestinian village of Hizma + an addition of 70 new housing units.
  2. The HPC is intending to condition the approval of the plan for the Palestinian village of Walajeh, with the approval of a new bypass road for settlers (which will “be compensated” by the construction of the plan for about 1,000 housing units for settlers in the new planned settlement of “Givat HaGamal” in Har Gilo). It is important to note that the discussion of the plan of Walajeh was forced on the HPC following the High Court’s decision that the plan should be discussed.
  3. Apparently the HPC did not approve the plan to legalize a school in the Bedouin community of Wadi A-Sik in the western slopes of the Jordan Valley.
  4. Apparently the HPC approved two hotels and an amusement park and a 200 square-meter cooling building for a Palestinian farmer in the Jordan Valley.

Is there any change in the trends in terms of planning for Palestinians?

The small scandal at the day of the meeting of the Planning and Licensing Subcommittee in 17/1/2021, in which the Prime Minister tried to prevent the subcommittee from convening, comes after some talks about potential approval of plans for Palestinians and some strong pressure to prevent it by settlers and right wing activists. Although nothing seams to have changed, and no significant planning was approved, there might be a sign for some small effort to allow some plans for Palestinians, which we didn’t see in the past.

First of all, the plans that were brought to discussion: Al-Arus (Zif) village (35 units), A-Tuwani village (210 units), Hizma village (140 units) and Walajeh (unknown number of units) – Those plans, for retroactive approval of some homes in addition to adding some new ones, although they are like a drop in the sea, far from starting to meet the needs of the Palestinians in Area C, still we rarely saw such plans in the past. In addition, one week before the meeting of the committee on 17/1/21, the agenda included also three more small plans that were removed of the agenda following the settlers’ pressure.

It is hard to tell whether it was an effort to change the trends or not. There were in past, some voices from the Ministry of Justice claiming that Israel must approve more to Palestinians if it wanted to avoid an investigation of the International Criminal Court and the accusations of Apartheid. For that reason, in 2019 the Israeli Cabinet decided to approve 700 units for Palestinians (until now it didn’t happen).


About the Process of approvals for Palestinians in Area C – The issue of planning for Palestinians in Area C is best described and analyzed in a thorough report by Bimkom: The Prohibited Zone – Israeli planning policy in the Palestinian villages in Area C.

For a chart of the planning process in the settlements in the West Bank, click here. The main difference between the planning process of the settlements and of the Palestinians in Area C is that all of the process, from planning to construction permit is done in the Civil Administration. In settlements, the planning is done by the HPC, and the construction permit is approved and issued by the Local Councils of the settlement, while in construction outside of the settlements the permits are approved and issued by the Civil Administration (the Planning and Licensing Subcommittee of the HPC).