Peace Now: 70% of new settlement construction outside blocs

Illegal settlement blocs

Some 70 percent of settlement construction in the West Bank last year took place outside the major settlement blocs, a Peace Now’s Settlement Watch annual construction report for 2016 revealed.

“Construction was largely focused in isolated settlements and in areas that are highly problematic in terms of a two state solution. Nearly 70 percent (1,263 housing units) of the new housing starts were in areas that are east of the proposed Geneva Initiative border, and 71 percent were in areas that are east of the built separation barrier (26 percent were east of the planned route of the barrier, and 45 percent in areas where the barrier is planned but not built),” Peace Now stated.

According to its report, there has been a 34 percent increase in construction starts in the West Bank in 2016 compared to the previous year, 2015.

During the reporting period, Israel’s settlement activities did not only include housing units but also public buildings such as schools and synagogues, bypass roads, new settlements, outposts, land grabs and expansion of settlement councils.

Peace Now said that Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu attempts to show restraint in order to save face among the international community, but on the ground construction is not only ongoing but also increasing, mainly in the most problematic areas for a future peace agreement.

“If the Israeli government is interested in a two-state solution, it must seize acting unilaterally in a way that makes this solution much more difficult to achieve,” Peace Now added.

(Source / 22.05.2017)

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