Urban development under prolonged military occupation : the case of Nablus/Palestine
The Palestinian territories have been under foreign military occupation since 1967 and this research is set to examine the implication that this situation has had on the built environment in the historic city of Nablus. Nablus like many other towns and villages in the occupied West Bank has been subject to strict planning policies and regulations controlling development. These policies and regulations restricted its ability to improve its built environment, modernise and expand its service networks, roads and infrastructure, and to accommodate the additional needs arising from the pressure for growth and increase in its population. The purpose of the study therefore, is to examine the built environment in Nablus and identify the indicators for its decline particularly in the city centre. It also aims to establish the main factors that have contributed to the deterioration of its physical condition and the major obstacles to its development. The difficult political conditions and frequent military clashes have had an adverse effect on the built environment and prospects for development. The study findings show that the Israeli occupation authorities have imposed major changes on the institutional structures and legislation that prevailed on the eve of the occupation. The Israeli administration of the occupied Palestinian territories was characterised by the centralisation of power, weakening of local authorities and absence of any form of Palestinian participation in decisions related to development. The study concludes that the planning and regulatory policies imposed by the Israeli Administration during the occupation of Palestine have been a major cause of the deterioration in the built environment in Nablus and suggests that it has had a similar impact on other towns in occupied Palestine.