The latest figures released by Israel’s Bureau of Statistics is showing a massive escalation in settlement construction across the occupied West Bank, with construction starting on 2,758 houses in the past 12 months, an increase of 70% over the previous 12 months.
Since these figures come from the Israeli government, they do not include construction in Occupied East Jerusalem, as under Israeli law that territory has all been annexed and is not considered “settlements” for the sake of internal record-keeping. All indications are that expansion is increasing in East Jerusalem as well.
Settlement watchdog Peace Now was quick to point out that despite this ever-growing investment in settlements in the West Bank, housing construction inside actual Israel (pre-1967 borders) actually dropped 2.5% in the same period of time, despite reports of a housing crisis.
Peace Now concluded the far-right government was choosing to prioritize “a radical minority living beyond the boundaries of the state” instead of actually dealing with the housing problems that exist inside of Israel proper. Given how heavily dependent the far-right parties in the government are on settler support, that’s perhaps unsurprising.
Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman bragged that the settlement projects are advancing faster now than at any time since 1992, when the Oslo Accords were signed, which were meant to give way to a peace deal. 25 years later, peace is elusive, but the settlements are still growing apace.
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