Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu ordered all illegal structures in settlements and outposts built on private land removed by the end of the year, the High Court of Justice revealed on Monday in response to a petition from Peace Now, Israel Radio reported. The Peace Now petition called for the removal of six outposts in the West Bank.

In addition, the government will work to legalize structures built on State land.

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The State told the High Court that more demolitions of illegal structures were carried out against Israelis in the West Bank than among Palestinians and that in the period since 2005, multiple attempts to establish new outposts have been blocked by the State.

On Thursday, the Central Bureau of Statistics reported that there had actually been a 72-percent drop in the number of housing starts in the settlements in 2010, compared to 2009.

The CBS figure of 541 settler housing starts last year, the lowest such annual number in more than two decades, is the first official data to be published on the rate of Jewish West Bank building after the 10-month moratorium ended last September 26.

The report also noted a 28% drop in the number of finished homes, from 2,071 in 2009 to 1,492 in 2010.

Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.


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