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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 February 2008, 11:50 GMT
W Bank building 'bias' condemned
Israeli army demolishing an illegal Palestinian home in Anata
Peace Now says Israel's actions discriminates against Palestinians
Israel passed fewer than 6% of building requests by Palestinians in the occupied West Bank in 2000-07, an Israeli anti-settlement group says.

Peace Now says 91 permits were granted from 1,624 requests, in contrast to the 18,472 homes built for Jewish settlers.

The group says the data show "clear discrimination" against Palestinians in West Bank areas under Israeli control.

Military officials accused Peace Now of distorting the figures, which were taken from official Israeli statistics.

Peace Now also said, in the case of illegal buildings, the Israeli army demolished 33% of structures erected by Palestinians and 7% of the unauthorised structures built by Jewish settlers.

IN THE WEST BANK 2000-2007
91 construction permits issued to Palestinians
18,472 homes built for Jewish settlers
Almost 5,000 demolition orders against Palestinian buildings issued, one third implemented
2,900 demolition orders issued against settler buildings, 7% implemented
Source: Peace Now, citing Central Bureau of Statistics and IDF
The Israeli army is in full control of about 60% of the West Bank. Israel occupied the area, as well as East Jerusalem and Gaza, in the 1967 war.

It has allowed limited Palestinian autonomy in some areas, while settling more than 400,000 Jewish Israelis on occupied land.

These settlements are considered illegal under international law, though Israel disputes this.

Self-demolition

An Israeli military official said the data was misleading because, he said, Palestinians rarely submitted building permit requests.

"If Palestinians would submit request for building permits, there could be thousands more approvals," said Capt Zidki Maman of the West Bank civil administration.

Palestinians frequently complain that the military authorities reject most building requests as a matter of policy.

Capt Maman also accused Peace Now of including data for self-demolished illegal structures in the case of Palestinians but not in the case of settlers.

Correspondents say, however, there is little sign of Israeli government action against more that 100 settlements not approved by the Israeli government established by the Jewish settler movement since the 1990s.

Peace Now said there were 4,993 cases of illegal Palestinian construction identified by the army and 2,900 cases of illegal settler construction.

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