Middle East

Israel increases settlements in Palestine, says report

Israeli peace group calculates that during Trump era yearly construction average is 25% higher than Obama years

Ahmed Asmar   | 19.03.2020
Israel increases settlements in Palestine, says report File Photo

ANKARA

Israel has increased its activity to build settlements in the occupied Palestinian land in the West Bank area by 25%, since the U.S. President Donald Trump assumed office in 2017, said an annual report on settlement activity.

According to Peace Now – an Israeli activist group promoting a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – during President Trump’s tenure over the past three years 6,800 new units (yearly average of 2,267 units) have been constructed. During his predecessor, Barack Obama’s tenure on an average 1,805 such units came up in occupied lands.

“Nearly 63% (1,200 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,“ said the report.

The 14-page report noted that the Israeli government had started construction of 1,917 new housing units since the beginning of 2019 in different areas across occupied the West Bank.

The voluntary group revealed that the construction was largely focused in isolated settlements and in areas that are highly problematic and fall under the two-state solution formula.

The report further noted that already 11 new Israeli settlement posts have been built by Israeli settlers across the occupied West Bank areas, in Hebron, Bethlehem, Ramallah and in occupied east Jerusalem.

Following Netanyahu's announcement to annex Jordan Valley to Israeli an increase in settlement activity there was reported in the area, the report said.

In 2019, four new settlements were established in the Jordan Valley including the construction of 110 housing unit construction.

Israel occupied Jerusalem and the whole of the West Bank following the 1967 Six-Day War and began establishing settlements in the area in the following year.

The Palestinians have been vying to create a full-fledged future state comprising areas of the West Bank of the River Jordan and Gaza on the Mediterranean coast

The UN considers both the West Bank and East Jerusalem as occupied territories and considers Israeli settlement-building activity in these areas as illegal.

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