First Published: 2013-01-16


Peace Now: Netanyahu govt advanced 'record' settlement number


Israeli NGO says government's actions disclose clear intention to use settlements to systematically render impossible two-state solution to Israeli-Palestinian conflict.


Middle East Online

Over 10,000 settlement units have been approved during Netanyahu's term in office

JERUSALEM - The government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu advanced a "record" number of settlements during its nearly four years in office, a report by the Peace Now watchdog said on Wednesday.

The government's actions "disclose a clear intention to use settlements to systematically undermine and render impossible a realistic, viable two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict," said the Israeli NGO's report.

In 2012 alone, at least 1,747 new settlement homes were built in the West Bank, with the defence ministry approving discussion and promotion of another 6,676 units, which are at different stages in the approval process.

Last year also saw the housing ministry publish tenders for 762 settler homes in the West Bank, and a list of another 1,048 upcoming tenders.

In the same period, the government decided to "legalise" 10 settlement outposts built without authorisation, while activists set up another four new outposts, it said.

Israel differentiates between "legal" settlements and "illegal" outposts set up without government permission, but the international community views all settlement activity on occupied territory as a violation of international law.

It does not view construction in east Jerusalem, which it captured in 1967 and later annexed, as illegal, although the Palestinians want it as the capital of their future state.

The Palestinians have refused to hold peace talks while Israel continues to build on land they want for a future state.

Overall, the Netanyahu administration has been responsible for "a record number of tenders," Peace Now said, paving the way "for an explosion of construction in settlements in the coming years."

Since the government took office in March 2009, construction started on 6,867 units in the West Bank, and tenders have been published for 5,302 units in both the West Bank and east Jerusalem.

The explosion of approvals has erased the effects of a 10-month moratorium on new West Bank construction in 2010.

"Many of these tenders are focusing on settlements... whose expansion directly undermines the possibility of achieving a two-state solution," the report said.

In total, the Netanyahu government advanced and approved 8,730 units in West Bank settlements over the past four years, Peace Now said, noting that the figures could be higher because the defence ministry does not make public its approvals for planning.

In east Jerusalem, over 10,000 settlement units have been approved during Netanyahu's term in office.

The government's policy has been expensive, the group said.

Central Bureau of Statistics figures show that at least 3.4 billion shekels ($1 billion/753 million euros) has been spent in "surplus funding to settlements, funding that would not have been spent if the settlers were living inside Israel proper."

The report comes as another Israeli NGO, Terrestrial Jerusalem, said on Tuesday the Israel Lands Administration had issued "new settlement tenders (for) 84 units in Hebron, 114 units in Efrata," referring to the southern West Bank city and a large settlement near Bethlehem.


Coalition shoots down Yemen rebel missile near Mecca

Russia denies role in deadly air strikes on Syria school

Sisi promises to revise 2013 protest law

Kurdistan to renew push for independence once Mosul liberated

Unpaid Yemenis struggle to make ends meet

Rebels bombard regime in run-up to breaking Aleppo siege

US official calls for vigilance against IS refinancing

US says 4 Iranian arms shipments to Yemen stopped

Tunisia denies hosting US drone base

Up to 900 IS fighters killed in Mosul says US general

Experts warn recapturing Raqa more difficult than Mosul

EU approves new Syria sanctions, targets 10 top officials

Survivors of IS torture win EU's Sakharov rights prize

Almost 100 migrants missing off Libyan coast

Rebel attack on Aleppo school kills three children: state report

Russia denies striking Syria school

Erdogan says Turkish military operation will target Raqa

IS-linked militants abandon Somali port town

From IS slaves to global voices for Yazidis

Turkey orders arrest of 73 air force pilots

US Treasury chief says 9/11 law could have ‘serious implications’

Bloodbath in air strikes on Syria school

25 travelling on inflatable dinghy found dead in Mediterannean

Villages reclaimed, but return still distant for Iraqi Christians

Turkey says will clear Kurdish fighters from Manbij

Russia cancels warship fuel stop after pressure on Spain to refuse permission

US, UK expect Raqa offensive within weeks

Sudan's Bashir to appoint PM for first time since coup

Israel army says soldier wounded by gunfire on Lebanese border

Students among 22 dead as raids hit Syria school

Israel charges 13 Jews with celebrating murder of Palestinians

Revolutionary Guards commander says Iranian firms should lead oil projects

Egyptian officer accidentally shoots dead Israeli teen

IS members ‘shave beards’ as Iraqi forces approach Mosul

US praises Qatar moves to deny jihadists funds

Clashes between protesters, police in Diyarbakir after Turkey arrests mayors

Saudi financial position strong despite oil prices says minister

Iran develops 'suicide drone'

Egypt rolls out austerity programme

Iran calls for more Asian investment

Top US general visits airbase in fight for Mosul

UN envoy to Yemen presents peace proposal to Huthis

Turkey says US must extradite Gulen to avoid damaging ties

Mosul survivors recount fleeing IS 'caliphate'

Report finds Israeli forces could have avoided killings