According to today’s reports, PM Netanyahu agreed to freeze the Government Construction (AKA “Public Construction”) in settlements. Although the Israeli government is trying to portray it as a generous offer, the truth is that even if there was a full stop of the government construction in settlements, still the settlers can build tens of thousands of units in the settlements that can destroy the possibility for peace and two state solution. According to the Israeli CBS, only 16% of the construction in the settlements in 2011 was “government construction” and 84% was “private construction”. The idea of stopping only government construction and allowing private construction to continue was already raised in the past and rejected by the Americans and the Palestinians when the Settlement Freeze was negotiated in late 2009.
Read more about the meanings of a “GOVENEMENT CONSTRUCTION FREEZE” – see here.
In recent years there was a drop in the public construction in settlements and a rise in the private construction:
Government Construction (or Public Construction) is construction that the government decides to initiate, usually by the Ministry of Housing and that usually goes through the process of bidding (tenders). In settlements it is mainly the bigger projects that are governmently initiated such as in the settlements of Beitar Illit, Givat Ze’ev, and Ma’ale Adumim. However, there are some big projects that are privately initiated, such as in the biggest settlement of Modi’in Illit, where most of the construction is private construction.
The past few years showed that even when there is less government construction, the total construction in settlements is not changing and the private construction compensates for it.
It is important to mention that almost all of the construction (private and governmental) in the settlements is on what is known as “State Land” or “Government Land”. Most of the private initiatives are on public land that was allocated to settlers by the state in the past. The allocation of the land itself does not make the construction “Government Construction”.
The report in Haaretz is also quoting Netanyahu as saying that he agrees to halt government construction and construction ongovernment land (both quotes are denied by the PM office). In the case of a stop of any construction on State Land, it might be much more of a significant stop, because only few projects in settlements are initiated on lands that are not State Lands and that were privately bought by Israelis from Palestinians.
See more: “How to Freeze Settlement – a Layman’s Guide”