A press release from the UN last Thursday says:
Today, the Humanitarian Coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territory, Robert Piper, visited Susiya, a Palestinian herding community in Area C in the southern West Bank, where homes and community structures are at imminent threat of demolition. He was accompanied by senior officials from the Governments of Norway, Switzerland and Italy....
“The destruction of private property in an occupied territory is prohibited under international humanitarian law. I call on the Israeli authorities to suspend all demolitions of Palestinian structures in Area C and to provide its residents with a planning and permit regime that allows them to meet their needs," he added.The destruction of private property in occupied territory is permitted in cases of military necessity. But that's not the reason Israel is allowed (and even obligated) to demolish the buildings in Sussiya.
The reason is that under international law, even if you consider Area C to be occupied, the occupier must continue to use existing laws from before the occupation for zoning and the like. In this case, it means that Israel must enforce the zoning laws under Jordanian and British and even Ottoman regimes that were in effect in 1967.
And Israel is doing exactly that.
In fact, a major paper written to oppose Israel's policies in Area C by JLAC, quoted often by Israel-haters, doesn't dispute that Israel follows the original laws - it demands that Israel change those laws, something that would itself violate the Geneva Conventions!
Beyond that, the Oslo Accords gives Israel explicit permission to control land development in Area C.
It is absurd to assert, as the UN does, that anyone under occupation has the right to build anything without limitation and it is protected as "private property."
Moreover, the Israeli Supreme Court, which knows a thing or two about the law, ruled in favor of the demolitions. I have yet to see anyone find a problem in its legal reasoning.
So the UN is lying about international law.
In a normal world, this would be scandalous. But in the bizarre world where anything anti-Israel is OK and anything Israel does is defined as illegal before any legal analysis is done, this is par for the course.
By the way, Israel does allow numerous projects for Arabs in Area C that conform to the law. This booklet details dozens of such projects from 2012 alone.
The Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip was signed by Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization in 1995. The agreement divides Judea and Samaria into three sections: A, B and C.
Area A, which includes most of the large Palestinian population centers, is mostly under Palestinian Authority (PA) civil and security control.
Area B is mostly under PA civil control and Israeli security control.
Area C is mostly under Israeli security and civil control, although the PA has authority in civil matters not related to land.
The government of Israel, through the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), promotes development and improved living standards for the Palestinian population in Area C. This population totals some 90,000 people, roughly 3 percent of the Palestinian population in Judea and Samaria.
Israel meets all of its obligations to the Palestinian population in Area C, as required by the Oslo Accords and derived from Israel's security control of the area and her authority over infrastructure, land, and planning.
Beyond the responsibilities designated in the agreements, Israel provides additional assistance to the Palestinians in Area C, in areas such as agriculture and health. Israel also supports projects in Area C that serve all populations in Judea and Samaria, such as waste disposal sites and waste water treatment plants.
The statutory process for construction projects in Area C is complex and lengthy, but it is necessary. Proper planning preserves the rights of individuals well as the public interest, especially in regards to the protection of the environment, the use of natural resources and the preservation of archaeological sites. In order for the Civil Administration to approve a project, the plans must undergo this statutory process and adhere to the time frames stipulated in the law.
Many construction projects in Area C are illegal and poorly planned. Such activity damages the environment and creates long-term problems that lower the standard of living for residents. Illegal construction projects that ignore master plans undermine the possibility for future expansions and create problems for electrical, sewage and water systems.
COGAT welcomes initiatives for projects in Area C, and works to ensure their success, but only as long as they adhere to the law. We encourage the international community to continue to work with us so that projects can be executed in a legal and efficient manner.
Furthermore, we call your attention to those projects that the Civil Administration has approved but have not yet been implemented because they do not have a sponsor (see Appendix B). Our shared goal is to continue to secure financing and to develop projects that benefit Palestinians living in Area C.