Background on the South Hebron Hills

The region of the South Hebron Hills is in Area C of the West Bank, under full Israeli control. Israel’s policy there threatens the continued existence of some thirty Palestinian villages. The region, also known as Masafer Yatta ("Greater Yatta," namely the villages surrounding the city of Yatta), is home to approximately 4,000 people most of whom earn their living as farmers and shepherds.

Israel's Policy: Preventing Palestinian Construction in Area C

The policy of the Civil Administration is to prevent construction in nearly all Palestinian villages in the South Hebron Hills. One way this is done is by not preparing master plans that would enable the legalization of existing construction as well as future development.

House demolition, al-Mufaqarah, South Hebron Hills, 24 November 2011. Photo: Nasser Nawaj'ah, B'Tselem.
House demolition, al-Mufaqarah, South Hebron Hills, 24 November 2011. Photo: Nasser Nawaj'ah, B'Tselem.

The Civil Administration maintains that the master plan in force is the one approved by the British mandatory authorities in 1942. Under that master plan, the area was zoned for agricultural use. However, although the plan does permit some construction on agricultural land, the Civil Administration has misinterpreted the plan’s instructions and has forbidden any and all construction.

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