So here we are again: Netanyahu says there is a freeze in the construction of settlements and the setters play their role well yelling that the settlements are being dried out, both expecting that the public would buy their bluff. However, the facts are so much different:
- Almost in every settlement you visit today, you can find construction projects going on. The official data of the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics (ICBS) in 2015 shows that there were twice as much as construction starts in settlements compared to the equivalent period in 2014: at the first quarter of 2015, 566 housing units started to be built in settlements while at the first quarter of 2014, 294 housing units has started to be built.
- Since the beginning of 2015, there were tenders for 634 units in West Bank settlements and in East Jerusalem. The fact that in the two months since the establishment of the Government there were no new tenders does not say much. In the first two months of the previous government, there were no tenders either. In fact, it took the previous government 5 months until they opened the floodgates and issued tenders for thousands of housing units in settlements.
- However, in the two months since the establishment of this new government in 14/5/15, it managed to approve the settlers to renovate a compound near Al-Aroub Refugee Camp as part of preparing it for a new settlement; tried to implement “the regulation law” bill by forcing the State’s Attorney to buy time from court in order to allow confiscation of Palestinian lands for legalizing an outpost (the Derech Ha’avot case); and managed to issue, for the first time, a seizure order in Migron in order to allow the cellular companies to continue to use the private Palestinian lands; not to mention the new attempt to confiscate 600 dunams of Issawiya at the pretext of “Gardening” needs, and the coalition agreement with the Jewish Home promising far reaching support for settlements.