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.

 

Warring Syrians set for first face-to-face at Astana

Turkey moves closer to expanding Erdogan powers

IS demolishes more monuments in recaptured Palmyra

Bodies of firemen recovered from Tehran tower

Police, ruling party hit by attacks in Istanbul

Bomb kills 4 in refugee camp near Syrian border with Jordan

Egypt says political solution 'only way' for Libya ahead of talks

Turkey concedes including Assad in Syria talks

Netanyahu congratulates ‘friend’ Trump in tweet

Israel denounces Belgian plan to interrogate ex-minister

Denmark grants soldiers permission to fight IS in Syria

Car bomb near Benghazi mosque wounds 12

UN calls IS destruction of Palmyra relics ‘war crime’

Armed settlers rescued from angry Palestinian villagers

Petition filed for Israeli court to return body of Bedouin

29 Yemen rebels killed by Saudi-led air strikes

Iran losing hope of saving trapped firefighters

Algeria’s Islamist parties unite ahead of April elections

British worker dies on Qatar 2022 World Cup site

Search continues for trapped Iran firefighters

More than 40 jihadists killed in north Syria air strikes

Trump to be sworn in as 45th US president

Trump to retain envoy to anti-IS coalition

More than 20 firefighters feared dead in Tehran building collapse

Explosions in Gaza target Fatah member

UN expert tells Saudi to end ban on women driving

Desalination plant opens in Gaza to tackle water crisis

Syria’s Assad hopes rebels disarm after Astana talks

UN says 400,000 Syrian child refugees in Turkey not in school

Libya PM skips Davos to focus on electricity crisis

Greece, Cyprus insist peace deal must include Turkish withdrawal

Mistura to lead UN delegation at Astana Syria talks

Turkey slams French satire song about Istanbul attack

Saudi minister says kingdom to become ‘softer’ after reforms

Bahrain lifts ban on electronic Al-Wasat newspaper

Arab Israelis strike in protest over house demolitions

Iran sees Syria talks as opportunity to gain influence

Kuwait upholds sentence for three royals for insulting judges

Tunisia facing mounting calls against jail-for-joint law

Iran's oldest high-rise building on fire collapses

IMF says Egypt on track for next aid tranche

Bahrain police disperse Shiite protesters

Key Syria rebel group opts out of Astana peace talks

Moroccan Sufi ‘living master’ dies at 95

France says Iraqi jihadist among 2015 stadium bombers