May 22, 2017 – Peace Now’s annual construction report reveals a 34% increase in construction starts throughout the West Bank during 2016, in comparison to same period in 2015. During 2016 the expansion of settlements occurred through a variety of methods, including the construction of housing units and public structures – legal and illegal – the construction of a new bypass road, the approval of a new settlement, the establishment of two illegal outpost, the declaration of “state lands” and expansion of municipal jurisdictions.
Peace Now: “The trends of 2016 illustrates that while Netanyahu attempts to illustrate restraint in order to save face among the international community, on the ground construction is not only ongoing but also increasing, mainly in the most problematic areas for a future agreement. If the Israeli government is interested in a two-state solution, it must cease acting unilaterally in a way that makes this solution much more difficult to achieve.”
- 1,814 New housing units began construction, an increase of 34% to a parallel time period in the previous year (1,350 housing units).*
- Nearly 70% (1,263 housing units) of the new construction was in settlements east of the proposed Geneva Initiative border, i.e. settlements that are likely to be evicted in a two states agreement.
- 6% (114 housing units) of the construction was in illegal outposts.
- At least 10% (183 housing units) of the construction was illegal according to the Israeli laws applied in the occupied territories.
- 2,657 Housing units were advanced through promotions of plans for settlements.
- Almost 60% (1,540 housing units) of the planned units were east of the purposed Geneva Initiative border.
- Two new outposts were established in the north part of the Jordan Valley.
- Construction of a new road to bypass the Palestinian village of a-Nabi Eliyas (near Qalqiliya) began on lands confiscated from Palestinians.
- 2,342 dunams were declared as “state lands” south of Jericho.
- The Gush Etzion municipality’s jurisdiction was extended in order to include a new settlement site, “Beit Al-Baraka”, located apposite of Al-Aroub Refugee Camp.
- Advancement of a new settlement, Shvut Rachel East, under the pretense of a neighborhood, deep in the West Bank.
- A new industrial area, west of Ramallah, and close to the Green Line, was approved.