construction work in beitar illit 311.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Measures to curb new Jewish West Bank construction will become irrelevant unless
the moratorium on new settlement construction is extended past its end date of
September 26, said Peace Now executive director Yariv Oppenheimer on
According to a Central Bureau of Statistics report published in
The Jerusalem Post at the end of last month, there were no new housing starts in
Judea and Samaria in the first quarter of 2010.
It’s the first time in
more than two decades, and possibly in the history of the settlement
that a three-month period has passed without any new settler
The CBS report, which shows zero settler housing starts in
the first quarter of 2010, is part of a larger report on construction in
that is released by the CBS four times a year, including at the end of
It is the first available government data by which one can evaluate
the effectiveness of the 10-month moratorium on new settlement
the government put in place on November 26.
Although six months have
passed since then, it is impossible to cull December numbers from the
report for the last quarter of 2009. Statistics are not available yet
CBS data going back to 1989 show that there has never been a
quarterly building report that registered zero new construction in West
Oppenheimer told the Post the CBS data did not calculate
illegal construction or modular housing.
He added that he believed that
in some instances the CBS was unaware of ongoing work in the settlements
new foundations. But he offered no numbers to back up his
Oppenheimer said the issue was not the exact number of housing
starts but whether the freeze would continue.
In the last quarter there
was also a drop of 15 percent in the number of homes under construction
Bank settlements, according to the CBS, said Oppenheimer.
Under the terms
of the moratorium, settlers can build 3,000 homes whose foundations were
advance of the November 26 moratorium on such activity.
According to the
CBS, the rate of homes being finished in Judea and Samaria has continued
There was a 5% drop in the number of completed homes, 415
of which were finished in the first quarter of 2010, compared with 437
in the same time last year.
Overall, in 2009, 2,079 homes were completed
in West Bank settlements, a 29% increase over 2008, when 1,601 new homes
finished, according to the CBS.
In 2007, 1,747 new homes were completed,
and 2,167 were finished in 2006.
When it comes to housing starts, CBS
numbers show a dramatic jump in construction in the last quarter of 2009
– compared to the first quarter of that year. It’s assumed that this
to construction work that was done in October and November.
In the first
quarter of 2009, there were 342 housing starts, 327 in the second
in the third and 762 in the fourth.
Overall, there were 1,873 housing
starts in 2009, an 11% drop from 2008, when work was begun on 2,107 new
On a tour of the Efrat settlement Tuesday, Likud Minister Dan
Meridor said that new construction should only be partially resumed when
moratorium ended. Future settlement construction should only occur in
Israel is likely to retain in any final status agreement with the
It’s clear that building in Judea and Samaria will resume
at the end of September, he said. “There is no obligation to extend the
moratorium,” he added. But “the question is not where to build, but how
to do it
logically,” he said.
“I have suggested that we build in areas that will
remain part of Israel, and not in those areas that won’t be part of
There are ministers who think differently,” he said. “We have to build
settlements] wisely so as not to harm the negotiations with the