Israel Controls 85% of Historical Palestine, While Palestinians Live in 15%

RAMALLAH, March 30, 2015 (WAFA) – Whereas Israel uses more than 85% of the total area of historical Palestine, Palestinians comprise 48% of the total population and use less than 15% of the land, Monday reported Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS).

“A Palestinian therefore has less than a fifth of the area available to an Israeli,” said a report on the occasion of Land Day, which falls on March 30 of every year. To be noted, Historical land area of Palestine reached 27,000 km2.

PCBC said that Palestinians, every year, commemorate the Land Day that coincides with the confiscation of 21 thousand dunums of their land in the Galilee, Triangle, nowadays a concentration of Israeli Arab villages, and the Naqab on March 30, 1976 by Israel. It said that this year again the Israeli forces responded fiercely, killing six young demonstrators.

PCBS reported that Israel not only continues to demolish Palestinian homes, but also hinders the issuance of any building licenses for Palestinians in Jerusalem and its boundaries.

According to al-Maqdisi Institute, between 2000 and 2014, the Israeli authorities demolished 1,342 buildings in East Jerusalem (the areas annexed by Israel in 1967). This has resulted in the displacement of around 5,760 people.

According to data, an increase in the cases of residents forced to demolish their own homes was reported; 340 people were forced to demolish their own homes during the period 2000 – 2014.

PCBS said, “The highest rate of self-demolition was recorded in 2010 with 70 demolitions and 49 in 2009.”

Regarding Israeli settlers illegal presence in Jerusalem, the report said that about half of Israeli settlers live in Jerusalem governorate; noting that,”There were 409 Israeli locations in the West Bank (including settlements, outposts and military bases) by the end of 2013.”

Data indicated that the total number of settlers in the West Bank reached 580,801 at the end of 2013; 281,684 settlers live in Jerusalem Governorate and constitute 48.5% of all settlers occupying the West Bank: 206,705 of them live in areas of Jerusalem annexed by Israel in 1967.

In demographic terms, the proportion of settlers to the Palestinian population in the West Bank is around 21 settlers per 100 Palestinians compared with 69 settlers per 100 Palestinians in the Jerusalem governorate, said the report.

Meanwhile, data from the Ministry of Planning on the national strategic framework for the development of policies and interventions in the Area C, based on World Bank report, indicates that the total cultivated area in Israeli settlements in the West Bank during 2013 was about 100 km2.

The majority of the land is irrigated using more than 50 million cubic meter of Palestinians’ ground water. Irrigated areas cultivated by Palestinians 2011, amount to 78 km2.

Regarding Israel’s plundering of Palestine’s natural resources, PPC stated that even though the International law prohibits Israel from exploiting the natural resources of the Palestinian occupied territories, Israel continues to control Palestinians’ land, labeling it Area C, which is land controlled by Israel and constitutes 60% of the West Bank.

According to the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories (B’Tselem), Israel exploits Palestinian beaches of the Dead Sea and prevents Palestinians from developing tourism in this region by disposing of wastewater and solid waste from Israeli settlements and industrial zones in these areas.

PCBS stressed that the Israel has started to drill and explore for oil and natural gas in the West Bank to deprive Palestinians from these potential resources.

As for the latest 2014 summer aggression on the Gaza Strip, data indicated that the number of completely destroyed housing units reached 9,000 units.

Moreover, 47 thousand homes suffered partial damage, while 327 schools were completely destroyed; 50% of which arranged double shifts.

In addition, six universities were partially destroyed. Holy places did not survive the attack either with the destruction of 71 mosques and some churches. Meanwhile, 20 government buildings were completely destroyed, in addition to the destruction of 29 hospitals and primary health care centers.