Israel's new government is planning to “legalise” West Bank settlement construction conducted in contravention of Israeli law, according to the coalition agreement between Linkud and the Jewish Home. This stands in stark contrast to the demolition policy implemented by Israel against Palestinian-owned homes built without permits.
The English-language daily Jerusalem Post reports, based on unofficial copies of the Likud-Jewish Home coalition agreement, that within one month a professional team will be created to formulate a plan for the authorisation of settlement construction in the West Bank – both settlement outposts and building within recognised settlements - that were built “without the involvement of the authorities”, i.e. without the requisite permits.
Settlement outposts appeared following the 1993 Oslo Accord, in which the Israeli government committed itself to freeze the building of new settlements. Outposts, while not officially authorised by the government as they are essentially new settlements, are greatly by Israeli public authorities with infrastructure, resources and defense, according to the 2005 Sasson Report, commissioned by then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
In the long-forgotten 2003 Road Map to Peace, Israel committed itself to removing all settlement outposts created after March 2001.
Some 100 settlement outposts exist today, according to estimates by the Israeli settlement watch group Peace Now.
Israeli policy toward Palestinian-owned homes built without permits is the exact opposite. Hundreds of Palestinian-owned homes and structures in the West Bank's Area C, under full Israeli military and civil control, are demolished yearly due to the lack of Israeli-issued building permits. While Israel's restrictive planning system makes it almost impossible for Palestinians to obtain permits, the new government is planning to retroactively approve settlement building that violated even Israeli law, in addition to international law.
In 2013, 565 Palestinian-owned structures in Area C, including 208 residential structures, were demolished due to lack of Israeli-issued permits, displacing 805 people, almost half of them children.