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Source: Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
22 January 2013






AREA C OF THE WEST BANK: KEY HUMANITARIAN CONCERNS

JANUARY 2013
KEY FACTS

􀀕 Over 60 percent of the West Bank is considered Area C, where Israel retains near exclusive control, including over law enforcement, planning and construction.

􀀕 150,000 (approx.) Palestinians live in Area C in 542 communities, 281 of which are located entirely or mostly (50% or more of their built up area) in Area C.

􀀕 Some 325,000 Israeli settlers live in some 135 settlements and about 100 outposts in Area C, in contravention of international law; the settlements’ municipal area (the area available for their expansion) is nine times larger than their current built-up area (B’Tselem).

􀀕 70% of Area C is included within the boundaries of the regional councils of Israeli settlements (as distinct from the municipal boundaries) and therefore off-limits for Palestinian use and development.

􀀕 Palestinian construction in 29% of Area C is heavily restricted; less than 1% of Area C has been planned for Palestinian development.

􀀕 5,000 Palestinians reside in 38 communities located in parts of Area C that have been designated as “firing zones” for military training, increasing their vulnerabilities and risk of displacement.

􀀕 In 2012, 540 Palestinian-owned structures in Area C, including 165 residential structures, were demolished due to lack of Israeli-issued permits, displacing 815 people, over half of them children.

􀀕 Over 70% of communities located entirely or mostly in Area C are not connected to the water network and rely on tankered water at vastly increased cost; water consumption in some of these communities is as low as 20 litres per capita per day, one-fifth of the WHO’s recommendation.

􀀕 24% of the Palestinian population in Area C are food insecure compared to 17% in the remainder of the West Bank.


1. Most of Area C has been allocated for the benefit of Israeli settlements, which receive preferential treatment at the ex­pense of Palestinian communities, includ­ing with regard to access to land and resources, planning, construction, development of infra­structure, and law enforcement.

2. Palestinian movement in Area C is controlled and restricted by a complex system of physical and administrative means. These include the Barrier, checkpoints, roadblocks, and a permit system, which undermine livelihoods and access to basic services, as well as the ability of humanitarian organizations to deliver assistance.

3. The lack of an appropriate planning and zoning system in Area C means that most Palestinians cannot obtain permits for construction or rehabilitation of homes, animal shelters, or essential infrastructure. Structures, including homes, built without permits are routinely demolished and families forcibly evicted.

4. Palestinian communities in Area C are among the most vulnerable in the West Bank. In particular, demolitions and forced evictions deprive people of their homes and disrupt livelihoods, leading to entrenched poverty and increased aid dependency. The impact on children can be particularly devastating, including depression, anxiety and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

5. Israel, as the occupying power in the West Bank, has a legal obligation to protect the Palestinian civilian population and to administer the territory for their benefit. International law prohibits the forced transfer or displacement of civilians and the destruction of private or public property. It also prohibits transfer of the population of the occupying power into occupied territory.






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