Israel treats Palestinians worse? Not quite

January 19, 2016  

The NGO Regavim has responded sharply to US ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro’s claim that Israel selectively enforces its laws for Palestinians in Judea and Samaria.

“At times it seems Israel has two standards of adherence to rule of law in the West Bank – one for Jews and one for Palestinians,” Shapiro claimed at an Institute for National Securities Studies conference yesterday (Monday).

“The ambassador’s remarks are a baseless political claim and, to put it politely, they are not based on facts,” says Regavim. “The official data on the Civil Administration’s actions clearly proves that the State of Israel’s enforcement policy is much stricter towards Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria than it is towards the Palestinian sector.”

The organization regularly releases a “Great Bluff” report that compares the Civil Administration’s conduct and enforcement actions towards the Jewish sector versus the Arab sector in Area C (the part of Judea and Samaria under full Israeli civil and security control). In this area live about 400,000 Jewish residents and about 150,000 Arab residents.

Regavim claims that the Civil Administration refuses to follow freedom of information instructions and to give the organization the complete and up-to-date data on destructions carried out under its supervision between 2013 and 2014. The group claims that the discrimination remained in those years as well, and that it will appeal to the Supreme Court for the data.

Despite this, the 2013 report showed that the rate of illegal Arab building in Area C was 10 times that of illegal Jewish building. About 12,000 cases were opened on illegal building for about 70,000 Arabs, translating to about 17 percent of all the residential building for the sector.

By comparison, there were about 5,300 cases on illegal building for 350,000 Jews, an average of for every 100 Jews in the area.

In the years from 2008 to 2011, the Civil Administration destroyed 195 illegal elements belonging to Arabs, though only 28 were residential buildings. The vast majority of “destructions” dealt with wells, fences, sheds, agricultural structures, and similar items.

Among both sectors from 2010 to 2012, the data paints the opposite picture of that claimed by Ambassador Shapiro. During this time, 662 illegal Arab structures were destroyed, though only 51 of these could be classified as residential buildings (8 percent). Another 47 tents were destroyed, making up 7 percent of the destructions.

On the other hand, the Civil Administration destroyed 352 structures in the Jewish sector during the same time. Of these, 127 were residential buildings and another 111 wooden structures that were also used for housing. As such, residential structures made up 70 percent of the destructions in the Jewish sector.

“The numbers say it clearly: the extent of destruction for residential buildings among Jews in Judea and Samaria is several times higher than that of the Arab sector. At the same time, the number of cases in the Jewish sector stands at only about half of the number in the Arab sector, and while Arabs are illegally building at a rate 10 times that of Jews,” says Regavim. “We propose that Ambassador Shapiro base his statements on strict facts and not on what the branches of extreme leftist organizations constantly distribute.”

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