Construction Starts in Settlements Reach 7 Year High; Inside Israel Construction Starts Decrease.
According to recent Israel Central Bureau of Statistics data, construction starts in the West Bank skyrocketed during the first quarter of 2013. Despite the fabled 'settlement freeze' or 'restraint', construction continued uninterrupted. Between January 2013 and March 2013 construction of 865 new housing units began. This is three times as many construction starts compared to the same quarter last year (January-March 2012). If compared to the final quarter of last year (October-December 2012), this is an astonishing 355% increase.
Peace Now: So long as there is no full settlement freeze settlements will continue to grow wildly. A government committed to peace would not allow nor continue to build settlements, which inevitably harms the chances for peace. These findings provide further evidence of a continuing government policy of prioritizing settlement expansion, at the expense of the majority of Israeli citizens. Settler populations are a mere 4% of the population but received 176% increase in construction starts, while the other 96% of Israeli citizens received an 8.9% decrease in construction starts.
Construction starts in the same period inside Israel decreased 8.9% despite continued public outcry over increasing economic hardship and the cost of housing. Meanwhile, construction starts in the West Bank increased 176%.
The CBS statistics does not provide a breakdown of all construction starts by location so it is unclear exactly how many units were begun in each location. However, the CBS data does note that many of the units are located in Modiin Illit (241 units) and Beitar Illit (265 units). According to our research construction is taking place in many settlements east and west of the separation barrier.