Appreciate this article? +972 depends on your support -- click here to help us keep going

Analysis News

Construction of new West Bank projects hits seven-year high

Despite the 2011 tent protests, housing construction has actually decreased over the last year in Israel. At the same time, the West Bank registered a national high in new construction projects for Jewish settlers.

Israeli bulldozers seen in the settlement of Halamish near the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, April 19, 2013. (Photo by: Ahmad Al-Bazz/Activestills.org)

According to the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics, new construction projects in West Bank settlements have grown by 176 percent (!) compared to the same period last year (January-March 2012). This is a 355 percent increase, when compared to the final quarter of 2012 (October-December).

Currently, construction projects for Jews in the West Bank make up eight percent of all construction projects in Israel (not including those run by the Palestinian Authority).

The numbers refer only to legal projects and not to unregulated projects in the so-called “outposts.” Furthermore, construction projects in annexed East Jerusalem are left out are are counted separately. Construction projects in Jerusalem as a whole make up 13 percent of the national figure, and since the city cannot be developed to the west, at least some of the new projects are done beyond the Green Line.

Despite the real estate crisis and the public protest, new construction projects in Israel actually decreased by 8.9 percent during the same period. These figures can help explain the attractiveness of settling in the occupied territories for many Jews.

Peace Now, which does the most extensive work on monitoring settlement growth, issued the following response:

These findings provide further evidence of a continuing government policy to prioritize settlement expansion, at the behest of settler interests and at the expense of the majority of Israeli citizens. Settler populations comprise of a mere 4% of the population, yet received a 176% increase in construction starts, while the other 96% of Israeli citizens received an 8.9% decrease in construction starts.

Related
Report: How settlers turn Palestinian lands into illegal outposts
EU diplomats recommend sanctions against Israeli settlements

For additional original analysis and breaking news, visit +972 Magazine's Facebook page or follow us on Twitter. Our newsletter features a comprehensive round-up of the week's events. Sign up here.

View article: AAA
Share article
Print article
  • COMMENTS

    1. The Trespasser

      Well, Palestinians had made it absolutely clear that they have no intention to have any viable long-term peace agreement with Israel AND they had efficiently terminated Oslo accords by unilaterally changing their status in UN.

      Israel is doing one single most reasonable thing – establishes territorial continuity before imposing a final solution.

      Reply to Comment
      • carl

        Great Trespasser, that’s the way you found to cope with this crime.
        Every criminal finds its own justification for his crimes. In Avnery’s words:

        “Occupation? What occupation?

        Every person is endowed with a certain denial mechanism they can use to avoid the shame, fear, guilt and pain involved in coping with their improper actions. Instead of facing their failure, accepting reality and dealing with it, they simply enter a state of denial.

        But denial extracts a heavy price from the denier. The mental effort involved in self-deception causes serious mental harm. Someone who denies facts is declaring that he has a mental problem. He needs treatment.
        For 46 years we have been in this situation. We are denying one of the most significant phenomenon of our national existence, if not the most central one: the occupation.

        We can use the well-worn metaphor of the huge elephant in the room, whose presence we deny. Elephant? What elephant? Here? We tiptoe around the elephant and avert our gaze so we won’t have to look at it. After all, it doesn’t exist.

        We are ruling completely over another people. This influences every sphere of our national life – our politics, our economy, our values, our military, our legal system, our culture and more. But we don’t see – and don’t want to see – what is going on only a few minutes’ drive from our homes, over the black line known as the Green Line.

        We have become so accustomed to this situation that we see it as normal. But the occupation is intrinsically an abnormal, temporary situation.

        Under the law of nations, an occupation is said to occur when one state conquers the area of another state during wartime and then holds it as an occupier until peace is achieved. Because of the temporary nature of an occupation, international law imposes severe restrictions on the occupying state. It is not permitted to transfer its own citizens to the occupied area, it is forbidden to build settlements there, it is forbidden to seize lands, and so on.

        Israel has invented something unprecedented: eternal occupation. In 1967, because no pressure was brought to bear on Israel to return the occupied territories, Moshe Dayan came up with a brilliant idea – to continue the occupation forever. If Israel had annexed the territories, it would have been forced to grant civil rights to the occupied population. But in a state of occupation, it could maintain control without giving the conquered people any rights at all – not human rights, not civil rights and certainly not national rights. A real egg of Columbus.

        We are a moral people – in our own eyes, at least. How do we resolve the contradiction between our extreme morality and our blatantly immoral circumstances? Simple: We go into denial.

        “Power corrupts,” said the British statesman Lord Acton. “And absolute power corrupts absolutely.” The occupation is the most absolute power there is. It has corrupted everything good about us – it has corrupted the army that maintains the occupation, the soldiers who are forced to terrorize the civilian population every night, the government institutions that bypass the law in the dark, the courts that implement the occupation laws, and the entire country, which is violating international law every day.

        If we ask ourselves what has happened to our country, we simply have to open our eyes and look at the elephant.

        “He who confesses and forsakes finds mercy,” the book of Proverbs tells us. It isn’t enough to admit and recognize that a sin has been committed; we must abandon the wrong path we’ve taken. In our case, to save our souls and our state, we must forsake the occupied territories.

        But before we can forsake, we must first admit and recognize that something is wrong”.

        Reply to Comment
        • The Trespasser

          >Great Trespasser, that’s the way you found to cope with this crime.

          There is no crime in prevention of a crime.

          >Every criminal finds its own justification for his crimes.

          Every rational human being finds justification and reasoning to his deed.

          For instance, Arabs deny Jews equal rights because it is said so in Quran – perfectly just and reasonable from Arabs’ point of view, but not from international law’s point of view.

          Go, reason.

          That Avneri guy does not know what he is writing about, for occupation had started in 1948 and not in 1967.

          Reply to Comment
      • shmuel

        Is it another Nakba the final solution to which are you referring about?

        Reply to Comment
        • The Trespasser

          Naqba is the result of Arabs’ hostility and lack of will to coexist peacefully.

          However, these days IDF is capable of containing large number of hostile population, so ethnic cleansing might no become a necessity.

          Reply to Comment
        • Shmuel

          Lets be perfectly clear about it …

          The first Nakba was caused entirely by the intransigence and hostility of Arabs who wanted to inflict a Nakba on the Jews of Palestine.

          Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            Yes. Jews’ only fault is that Arabs had failed.

            Reply to Comment
    2. Haifawi

      It’s interesting that Oppenheimer ignored the Jerusalem settlers when referencing his statistics. Oh well, anything that brings us to a single egalitarian state is ok by me.

      Reply to Comment
      • rachel

        Hawafi if you think that this will end up in a ‘single egalitarian state’ it means that you should leave the moon and to come back to this planet.

        Reply to Comment
        • Eilon

          In another decade, the number of Yesha Israelis will reach 500,000. At that point, the Arab colonists will have lost their claims to Eretz Israel and will face unconditional surrender.

          Reply to Comment
          • Haifawi

            It’s already more than 600,000 over the Green Line. And what do you mean by unconditional surrender? “OK Israel, you win. I submit to your government. I can haz vote?”

            Reply to Comment
          • Kolumn9

            No, it would be more like, “We can’t beat Israel, and we can’t force Israel to commit suicide. How do we rescue some ability to govern ourselves rather than getting stuck in multiple Gazas that the international community refers to as a state.”

            Reply to Comment
          • jin

            Eilon the only foreigner-colonist here is you. You are afraid because you know that your claims are weak.

            Reply to Comment
        • Haifawi

          I think it has to. ACTUAL apartheid won’t be acceptable (even to our greatest enablers in the EU and US). Eventually Israel will be forced to annex the territories as a whole, and they won’t be able to deny the Palestinians citizenship.

          Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            It has to, but it can not. You are forgetting about the Gaza Strip and 7 000 000 (it would be 12 000 000 by the time) of Palestinian refugees abroad.

            At other hand, if Iran would fall by then, Hamas would go bankrupt and be ousted by Gaza population. Palestinian refugees could be stripper of RoR and granted citizenship of host states + compensation and WB altogether with Gaza Strip would be incorporated into Israel, maybe as (semi)autonomous regions.

            Reply to Comment
          • Haifawi

            There’s no possible way you could incorporate the West Bank and Gaza into Israel and withhold Knesset representation from the non-Jewish population there, despite whatever legal gymnastics you wish to play.

            Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            I did not say that Palestinians would be denied citizenship, did ?

            Reply to Comment
          • Haifawi

            So what did the “it has to, but it can not” mean?
            Anyway, there’s something rotten here when the only people I agree with are either objectively horrible racists or stoner free-love hippies.

            Reply to Comment
          • Kolumn9

            Both groups you mention are relatively certain they can control the future. The ‘horrible racists’ are sure they can permanently maintain control over even a 45% Arab minority of citizens and still exclusively determine the nature of the state. The ‘stoner free-love hippies’ believe that peace, love and the brotherhood of man will win in the end and all fears to the contrary are sacrilegious. Everyone else has justifiable fears and finds the solutions proposed by these two groups to be grounded in fantasy. I would guess that you agree with the second group because deep-down you are a stoner free-love hippy.

            Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            It has to be “single egalitarian state” but it can not be such, at least not in foreseeable future.

            Well, apparently you are coming to realisation of the fact that the real world is rather horrible racist place, and is best deal with while stoned.

            Reply to Comment
    3. XYZ

      Before 1948, both Jews and Arabs lived on both sides of what would become the Green Line (pre-67 lines). That will also be the situation in the future, regardless of whatever political arrangements may or may not be worked out regarding the West Bank.
      People are just going to have to get used to the idea that Jews are going to continue to live in east Jerusalem and the West Bank communities, just like Arabs live all around Israel.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Eilon

      Unconditional Surrender of the PLO means exactly what it means…. It means that the Israelis get to decide the future. In my personal opinion, the PLO Arabs should be EXPELLED & their lands, homes, villages and bank accounts would be confiscated. That’s what occured in Baghdad, Yemen, Tangier, Damascus, Cairo, Tunis, Beirut and Benghazi. What was for good for the goose is good for the gander.

      Reply to Comment
      • tod

        kol hakavod Eilon, your level of morality is similar to the one of a fascist gerarca. persons like you should be in prison.

        Reply to Comment
        • Kolumn9

          Eilon’s thoughts sound very similar to the general sentiments expressed by the mainstream Palestinian organizations with regard to Israeli Jews.

          Reply to Comment
          • tod

            Kolumn, with the difference that that alleged ‘mainstream Palestinian organizations’, that you desperately need in order to justify your poor fascist ideology, want their homes back, while settlers continue to steal houses that never belonged to them.

            Reply to Comment
          • Shmuel

            You are a liar Tod. The settlers are building their own new houses within the perimeters of the settlements on lands that never belonged to either individual Arabs or to a Palestinian Arab state which never existed.

            By the way, you and your kind are the fascists. Because you aid and abet Islamo fascists. And you are racist too. There, your own libelous words against you. We can play your little games too. Happy now?

            Reply to Comment
    5. Aaron Gross

      I’d have been interested in a breakdown on where that housing was built. How much was built in settlements that would most likely be within Israel’s borders under a future partition agreement? Frankly, I don’t see anything wrong with continued settlement in areas that will be part of Israel, whether or not it’s illegal.

      Reply to Comment
    6. Click here to load previous comments

    LEAVE A COMMENT

    Name (Required)
    Mail (Required)
    Website
    Free text

© 2010 - 2014 +972 Magazine
Follow Us
Credits

+972 is an independent, blog-based web magazine. It was launched in August 2010, resulting from a merger of a number of popular English-language blogs dealing with life and politics in Israel and Palestine.

Website empowered by RSVP

Illustrations: Eran Mendel