Israeli settlement construction in West Bank rises by 70%

Israeli construction in West Bank rises by 70% in past year

Construction in the West Bank has risen sharply

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Israel's settlement-building in the West Bank rose by 70% between April 2016 and March 2017, the country's Central Bureau of Statistics has said.

Construction began on 2,758 homes over the period surveyed, whereas in the previous year only 1,619 new homes were being built, according to The Times of Israel.

However the statistics, released on Monday (June 19), don't include buildings in Jewish neighbourhoods in East Jerusalem, considered by the Jewish state as a key part of its capital.

Peace Now, a settlement watchdog group, has said that the rise in construction in the West Bank correlates to a drop in new buildings within Israel of 2.5%.

The group said: “Instead of working to solve the Israeli housing crisis, the government prioritises a radical minority living beyond the boundaries of the state.

“Such construction continues to distance us from the only way to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict - a two-state solution.”

Earlier this month Israel announced that more than 3,000 settler homes could be built in the West Bank.

US President Donald Trump has called on the Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu to pause new building as he tries to start peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine.

However the settler movement is also putting pressure on Netanyahu and on Monday (June 19) he said: “There was not and will not be a better government for settlement than our government."