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.

 

Britain probes jihadist network amid row with US intelligence

Trump gets rough ride in EU, NATO meeting

Qatari FM says country victim of smear campaign, particularly in US

Egyptians brace for austere Ramadan

Faz3a, a local NGO mobilising young people to help Mosul refugees

Saudi minister confident on oil output deal

Egypt blocks several media websites including Jazeera

IS suicide bomber kills five in Somalia

Israel uneasy over 'crazy' regional arms race

Algeria president replaces Prime Minister

16 civilians dead in coalition strikes near Raqa

4 arrested in Tunisia anti-corruption drive

German MPs call off Turkey visit as tensions fester

Palestinian hunger strike row draws solidarity, controversy

Britain raises terror alert, deploys troops after concert massacre

Qatar probes state news agency hack

At least 20 migrants killed in Mediterranean

Israeli joy at Trump visit lacks substance

Oman evacuates Australian man from Yemen

Bahrain police open fire on Shiite protest, kill five

Turkey arrests hunger strikers on terror charges

Jewish extremists ejected from Aqsa mosque compound

Prominent Egypt rights lawyer detained

Oil producers to extend output curbs at OPEC meeting

NATO aims to break Turkey-Austria partnership deadlock

Tunisia tensions simmer after protester's death

Terrorist bomb attack kills 22 at UK pop concert

Bahrain police raid Shiite sit-in killing one protester

Trump says Israelis, Palestinians ‘can make a deal’

Five dead in Syria car bomb attacks

Syria civilians suffer deadliest month of US-led strikes

US forces raid Al-Qaeda in Yemen, kill seven jihadists

Islamists to join Algeria cabinet despite poor results

Tunisia's 2.1% GDP growth marks economic upturn

Trump meets Palestinian leader in Bethlehem

Istanbul demolishes nightclub targeted in New Year attack

WHO says 315 cholera deaths in Yemen in under one month

Trump seeks Israeli-Palestinian peace, lashes out at Iran again

Tunisia police use tear gas on protesters

Palestinians protest for hunger-striking prisoners

GCC and Arab League call for Yemen unity

Turkey's alleged coup ringleaders stand trial

Iran’s reformists sweep to power across major cities

Israel makes concessions to Palestinians 'at Trump's request'

Ivanka hales Saudi progress on women’s rights