This paper aims to describe the evolution of statutory planning in Palestine and its later use during the Israel occupation in the West Bank to control Palestinian development. This statutory planning legacy began under British Mandate and Jordanian rule. The British Mandate (1920–1948), which extended British Town Planning Acts to Palestine, created the machinery that drew up district and local plans in Palestine based on these laws. The plans introduced land zoning, which restricted development in rural Palestine. While retaining the plans, the Jordanian regime that followed the British Mandate made some changes by legislating new planning laws which replaced and amended the British planning acts, defining the planning authority and the planning system. The Israeli occupation continued the control over the development of the Palestinian West Bank, by amending the planning system through authorizing the issue of military orders designed to serve Israeli interests. Regarding the legacy of the Mandatory plans, the Israelis continued to use them as an effective tool for controlling land use by Palestinians. These district plans, although prepared half a century ago under different circumstances, have probably achieved the same goal of controlling the development of a native people, while giving the central regime (colonial or occupation) an effective instrument and mechanism for implementing policies and achieving aims likely to contradict the interests of the native people.