PA premier: Ramallah to treat all of West Bank as if it were Area A
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PA premier: Ramallah to treat all of West Bank as if it were Area A

Mohammad Shtayyeh’s spokesman says his comments mean PA will begin to issue building permits to Palestinians in Area C

Adam Rasgon is the Palestinian affairs reporter at The Times of Israel

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh at his office in the West Bank city of Ramallah, April 16, 2019. (AP Photo/ Nasser Nasser)
Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh at his office in the West Bank city of Ramallah, April 16, 2019. (AP Photo/ Nasser Nasser)

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said on Sunday that the Palestinians will deal with all territories in the West Bank as if Ramallah maintains security and administrative control over them.

Shtayyeh made the comment while meeting members of the Defense of Wadi Hummus Committee, including PA Local Governance Minister Majdi al-Saleh and Jerusalem Affairs Minister Fadi al-Hadami, at his office in central Ramallah, the official PA news site Wafa reported.

“Israel no longer respects any of the signed agreements and has started to deal with all places as if they are part of Area C. Therefore, we will deal with all places as if they are part of Area A,” Shtayyeh said.

The Oslo Accords, a series of agreements signed by Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, divided the West Bank into three areas: A, B and C. Area A refers to parts of the West Bank under Palestinian security and administrative control; Area B alludes to places in the territory under Israeli security control, with certain exceptions where Palestinians maintain limited security control, and Palestinian administrative control; and Area C is those locations under both Israeli security and administrative control.

Ibrahim Milhem, Shtayyeh’s spokesman, said that the PA prime minister’s comments meant that Ramallah will start to issue building permits to Palestinians in Area C.

Israel frequently demolishes homes in Area C that Palestinians build without its permission and would likely also destroy structures there that were given PA construction permits.

Shtayyeh’s and his spokesman’s remarks come less than a week after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s security cabinet granted some 700 building permits to Palestinians in Area C and approximately 6,000 others to Israeli settlers.

Palestinians and rights groups have frequently complained that Israel rarely grants building permits to Palestinians in Area C, while giving thousands to settlers.

Israeli security forces demolishing the Palestinian buildings still under construction which have been issued notices to be demolished in the Wadi al-Hummus area adjacent to the Palestinian village of Sur Baher in East Jerusalem, July 22, 2019. (Ahmad GHARABLI / AFP)

Milhem added in a phone call: “Israel showed in a very clear manner that it does not honor the signed agreements when it demolished the homes in Wadi Hummus, especially the ones in Area A.”

Israel knocked down several buildings, including a number in areas A and B, two weeks ago in Wadi Hummus, a part of the West Bank adjacent to the security barrier and Jerusalem’s Sur Baher neighborhood.

The owners of the properties have said they received construction permits from the PA government in Ramallah.

Israeli authorities, however, contended that the owners of the properties erected the buildings in violation of a military order that bans construction adjacent to the barrier. They also argued that the structures posed a security concern to Israeli civilians.

In the meeting of the Defense of Wadi Hummus Committee on Sunday, Shtayyeh called the demolition of the buildings “an unacceptable and ugly crime,” the Wafa report said.

He also said that that the PA would provide compensation to those who lost their properties.

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