Jerusalem | Six-Day War 1967 | Might makes right | Demographic Control through Settlement Policies II
To suppress Palestinian housing development policies
Contrary to the progressing development of the Jew settlements, the Palestinian neighbourhoods has been stagnant in development due to restrictions including zoning regulations, ‘hidden’ building guidelines and absence of development plans for Arab area. Kaminker, a former city planner, spoke of ‘hidden guidelines’ such as the intentional wide road standards in Arab area are for consuming rows of potential building lots; strict low percentages of the lot can be built on (15-25% in Arab areas compared to 200-300% in Jewish areas); and permitted densities and building heights in Jewish areas are between two and three times as much as allowed in Palestinian areas.
Unlike Jewish settlements which are built on ‘state land’, Palestinian settlements are built on private owned land. This is where building permits come into play. Very few such detailed plans have yet been approved. Building permits are difficult to be successfully granted for any building alterations, new developments etc by the government as not until new plots are established in a “detailed plan” would the permit be granted. Since 1987 at least 284 Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem have been demolished for lack of a building permit — leaving nearly 2,000 people homeless. the inhabitants of these threatened houses live in constant fear of arrival of the bulldozers, which come at short notice accompanied by hundreds of armed police.
Today it is estimated that 10,000 housing units are needed in Eastern Jerusalem, according to the UN-Habitat. When housing is scarce under political motives, is expanding one’s family or community still a right for Palestinians in Jerusalem? These refugees are at the receiving end of urban planning driven by politics. How can such top-down procedure optimised in a humanitarian point of view?
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