Settler housing starts spiked by 26% in 2015, government report finds

The CBS releases it’s quarterly report as the United Nations Human Rights Council is set to vote on a resolution condemning Jewish building over the pre-1967 lines.

March 23, 2016 16:39
2 minute read.
settlement houses

Construction in a Leshem, a new neighborhood of the Alei Zahav settlement. (photo credit: TOVAH LAZAROFF)

Housing starts in West Bank settlements leaped by 26 percent in 2015 over the previous year, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics.

The CBS released its quarterly report on Wednesday. The United Nations Human Rights Council is set to vote Thursday on a resolution condemning Jewish building over the 1949 armistice lines, calling on Israel to halt such activity.

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The CBS data were part of an overall report that showed that starts rose by 3.9% and completions fell by 2.8%, while completions in the settlements rose by 25%.

In real numbers, ground was broken for 1,913 settler homes in 2015 compared with 1,516 units in 2014.

Similarly, work on 2,033 homes was finished in 2015 compared to 1,615 that were completed in the previous year.

Right-wing politicians have complained in the last year about a de facto freeze in buildings within the West Bank settlement blocs.

The CBS does not break down its data by settlement, but does provide statistics on the five largest Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria: Modi’in Illit, Beitar Illit, Ma’aleh Adumim, Givat Ze’ev and Ariel.

Historically, building in these five settlements has often made up over 50% of all such West Bank Jewish building, but since Netanyahu entered office in 2009, construction in those five communities has dropped.

CBS data showed, however, that the spike in building last year was due in large part to increased construction in the five communities, which made up 48% of the starts and 55% of the completions.

The city of Ariel, which has typically lagged behind when it comes to building, had the highest number of completions in 2015, with 566 finished homes, followed by 181 in the Ma’aleh Adumim.

The largest number of starts was in Ma’aleh Adumim, where ground was broken for 246 homes, followed by 216 units in Ariel.

The CBS data were limited to Judea and Samaria and did not include Jewish building in east Jerusalem.

Separately, the Civil Administration adjusted the borders of the Eli settlement based on new information it obtained through an ongoing study into land status in the Area C of the West Bank.

As a result of the new map, 61.2 hectares (153 acres) of property were declared to be state land included within the boundaries of the settlement and 54.1 hectares were excluded from the settlement. As a result, the land within the settlement’s boundaries grew by 7.1 hectares.

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