Settlement watchdog Peace Now published its annual settlement report for 2018, entitled as “A Glance at 10 Years under Netanyahu,” on Tuesday.
The Peace Now report said that regarding construction in the occupied West Bank, some 2,100 new housing units began construction in 2018, 9% above the annual average since 2009 (1,935 units per year) and that nearly 73% (1,539 housing units) of the new construction was in settlements east of the proposed Geneva Initiative border, i.e. settlements likely to be evacuated in a two-state agreement.
Meanwhile, the report showed that at least ten structures were built on private Palestinian land, measuring about 10 dunams, and at least 37 additional dunams of private land were seized for the purpose of constructing a park, a road, and dirt mounds left behind from settlement infrastructure construction.
Concerning Advancement of Plans and Tenders in 2018 (January-December), Peace Now said 5,618 housing units were advanced through plans in 79 settlements and almost 83% (4,672 housing units) of the planned units were east of the proposed Geneva Initiative border.
“Tenders were published for 3,808 housing units, a record number of almost two decades. In addition, tenders for 603 units in East Jerusalem were also published in 2018,” the report stressed.
According to Peace Now’s count, during the decade of Benjamin Netanyahu as Israel’s Prime Minister (2009 – 2018), 19,346 new housing units began construction in illegal settlements.
About 70% (13,608 housing units) of the new construction was in settlements east of the proposed Geneva Initiative border. This translates to an addition of more than 60,000 settlers in illegal Israeli settlements.
Peace Now also showed data, published by the Israeli Central Bureau of Statisticson, on construction in Israel and the settlements during the ten years of Netanyahu in power, which stated that 18,502 housing units have been built in the settlements and since the end of 2008 until the end of 2017, 120,518 settlers have been added to the settlements.
The report emphasized on Israeli government’s investments, in the past decade, in which the various government ministries transferred more than 10 billion shekels ($2.8 billion) as surplus budgets to the settlements. In 2016, the amount transferred to the settlements was 1,189 billion shekels. In the following year, the sum was 1,650 billion shekels and in the first half of 2018 the amount was 697 million shekels.
Peace Now concluded its report by focusing on construction on private Palestinian land, saying that due to Peace Now’s and other organizations’ petitions against settlement construction on private Palestinian land, there has been a dramatic decline in the past decade in such construction. In 2018, 10 buildings were built on private land.
In addition, playgrounds and parks were established on private land in the Naaleh settlement, a road was paved in the relocated Migron settlement, and the phenomenon of dumping mounds of dirt from settlement construction on private land in various settlements continued. At least 37 dunams of private land were taken from their Palestinian owners in this way.