construction work in beitar illit 311.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Settler housing starts spiked by 176% in the first quarter of 2013, as
construction in the two largest settlement cities of Beitar Illit and
Modin Illit, roared back to life after being almost dormant for the last
three years, according to Central Bureau of Statistics Data.
the first three months of this year, work began on 865 new homes in
Judea and Samaria, of which 265 were in Beitar Illit and 241 were in
Modin Illit, according to the CBS.
In comparison, during the
first quarter of 2012, work began on only 313 new settler homes out of
which, 12 were in Beitar Illit and 26 were in Modin Illit.
looks at the figure for work that began on new settler homes in the
first three months of this year, without Beitar Illit and Modin Illit,
than the 359 new starts, is very similar to the 313 starts in the first
quarter of 2012.
Both the Beitar Illit and Modin Illit settlement
blocs are very close to the pre-1967 lines and would likely become part
of Israel in any final status agreement with the Palestinians.
the last 18 years, construction in Beitar Illit and Modin Illit as well
as the next largest settlement city Ma’aleh Adumim has often made close
to 50% of the new building in Judea and Samaria.
In 2009, right
before Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu imposed a ten-month moratorium
on all housing starts in West Bank settlements, those three settlements
made up 45% of the 1,963 starts in that year.
When the moratorium
was lifted in September of 2010, the number of new starts in those
three settlements remained at almost a standstill.
As a result,
the number of new housing starts in West Bank settlements has been
unusually low in the last three years; 1,044 in 2012, 1,107 in 2011 and
736 in 2010. The 2010 number is a direct result of the moratorium on
housing starts which was in place for nine-months of that year.
In contrast, in 2008, there were 2,324 starts and in 2007, 1,471 new starts in West Bank settlements.
Adumim is unlikely to see a similar building surge because it has used
up almost all of its zoned land. It cannot continue to expand unless
plans for 3,500 new homes in the un-built area of the city, known as E1,
But at present, according to city Mayor Benny
Kashriel, the E1 plans are frozen, because Netanyahu has not allowed
them to be re-deposited with the Higher Planning Council for Judea and
Still, the building in Beitar Illit and Modin Illit was
enough to dramatically spike the number of West Bank settlement housing
The CBS data comes as US Secretary of State John Kerry
is pushing a new diplomatic initiative to re-kindle direct Israeli
Palestinian talks which have been largely frozen since December 2008.
encourage those efforts Netanyahu has promised the United States not to
initiate new building projects in West Bank settlements or in Jewish
neighborhoods of east Jerusalem.
Since January no new tenders have been published for West Bank settlement or Jewish homes in east Jerusalem.
new building in Beitar Illit and Modin Illit is the result of building
permits granted before Kerry’s new diplomatic initiative.
to the CBS, in contrast to the housing starts data, the number of
finished homes in Judea and Samaria has dropped by 13% in the first
quarter of 2013, from 310 in the first three months of 2012, to 251 for
the first three months of this year.
Overall the number of
finished homes in Judea and Samaria has dipped significantly. In 2009,
there were 2,063 finished homes, in 2010 that number was 1,670. It
stayed relatively the same in 2011, with 1,682 finished homes. It
dropped in 2012 to 1,269 finished homes.