Area C Development
Why is Area C development important?
Under the interim Oslo Accords negotiated by the Israelis and Palestinians in the mid-1990s, land in the West Bank was divided into three areas: Areas A, B, and C. In Area A, the Palestinian Authority (PA) assumed full control for civil affairs and security; in Area B, the PA would similarly administer civil affairs but share security control with the Israelis; and in Area C, Israel assumed responsibility for most administrative authorities and full security control. This arrangement was considered temporary pending a final status agreement on Palestinian statehood.
In the West Bank, Area C represents more than 60 percent of the land including the economically strategic area of the Jordan Valley. It is the only major contiguous area of territory in the West Bank and is home to more than 250 Palestinian communities. Most of Area C in the West Bank is still inaccessible to large-scale Palestinian investment and economic enterprise. Given its economic importance, the expanded development of Area C by Palestinians, as foreseen by the interim Oslo Accords, is critical for the future viability of the Palestinian economy.
How does the OQR promote Area C development?
The OQR promotes Area C development by:
- Supporting the accelerated development of local master plans for all Palestinian communities in Area C. These master plans are important for the adequate development of Palestinian communities since they are a prerequisite for the issuance of building permits.
- Facilitating the timely issuance of permits for priority social infrastructure projects, including schools and clinics.
- Strengthening Palestinian private industry development in Area C, particularly in the stone and marble sector.
- Working to expand the enforcement footprint (in terms of access and jurisdiction) of Palestinian civil police within certain areas in Area C.
OQR Activities and Achievements in Area C
- Local Master Plans - With the support of international community, including the OQR, around 100 community-driven master plans for Palestinian communities in Area C have been developed since 2011. The majority of these plans have been submitted to the relevant Israeli authorities for consideration. These master plans have the potential to serve the development needs of these Palestinian communities and help formalise the status of a large number of structures currently facing Israeli demolition orders.
- Fast-Track Projects – In coordination with the office of the U.S. Special Envoy to the Middle East Peace Process, the OQR and the Israeli Government agreed in February 2011 to fast-track the issuance of permits for the construction and rehabilitation of number of social infrastructure projects. To date, some 50 schools and health clinics in Area C have, or are currently being, expanded or constructed. Additional priority infrastructure projects will be advanced on the fast-track basis as they emerge and have secured funding. This process should help form the basis for a more responsive and transparent mechanism to implement priority Palestinian projects in Area C.