More than 400 rabbis call on Israel to end house demolitions

Rabbis for Human Rights said that more than 400 rabbis have signed a letter calling on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to stop the government from carrying out administrative demolitions of Palestinian homes in West Bank Area C and give residents a say in planning their communities.

Planning and zoning laws "severely restrict the ability of Palestinians to build homes, even on the lands that the state recognizes as belonging to them," RHR said in the letter.

The Palestinians have had "no representation or true ability … to determine how to properly plan for their communities since local and district planning committees were abolished in 1971. The army plans for them."

The demolitions occur not for security reasons, only for zoning violations, the Jerusalem-based group said.

The Oslo Accords split the West Bank into three sections. Israel has full civil and security control of Area C.

Thousands of Palestinians "have been forced to build without permits, and great human suffering is caused when hundreds of homes are demolished each year in Area C alone," Rabbis for Human Rights said. 

The group is awaiting a decision from Israel’s High Court on its April 2014 petition seeking an end to demolitions and giving Palestinians a voice in zoning. The Israeli government opposes the petition.

Source: http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/1.641447

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