Settler housing starts drop by almost half in first quarter

Number of house completions rises 127% compared to last quarter of 2010, the largest going back to 2007; CBS report says 242 homes started.

June 1, 2011 01:49
2 minute read.
Palestinian workers build Kedumim settlement home

Palestinian workers build settlement home in Kedumim 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS/Nir Elias)

The number of West Bank settlers who started work on new homes dropped by 47% in the first quarter of this year, when compared with the last three months of 2010.

The data released on Tuesday by the Central Bureau of Statistics continues to run counter to speculation by the media and left-wing activists that in the aftermath of the 10-month moratorium on such activity that ended on September 26, 2010, there would be a boom in new Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria.

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According to the CBS, work was begun on only 242 homes in settlements in the first quarter of 2011, compared with the 458 starts in the last three months of 2010.

Due to the moratorium, it is difficult to compare the first quarter of 2011 with the same period in 2010, which would have been the standard method of analysis. But if one compares the first quarter of 2011 with the same period in 2009, then there is a 29% drop from the 342 homes that began construction in the first three months of that year.

The 242 figure for January-March 2011 is the fewest housing starts in any quarter going back to 2007. In the first quarter of that year, there were 268 housing starts in the West Bank.

Since its report on 2010 construction was released in February of this year, the CBS has adjusted its figures slightly to show that there were 630 housing starts in 2010, a 67% drop compared with the 1,958 starts in 2009.

The 630 figure reflects the 458 housing starts in the last quarter of 2010 and a small amount of construction that began during the moratorium; 33 homes in the first quarter, 35 in the second and 104 in the third.

Separately, according to the CBS, there was a spike of 74% in the number of settler homes that were completed in the first quarter of this year compared with the first three months of 2010.

Since the moratorium allowed for the completion of 3,000 Jewish homes that were already under construction in the West Bank from November 2009 to September 2010, scant attention has been paid to the number of homes that settlers have finished.

In 2010, housing completions were down by 23%, to 1,666, when compared with the 2,063 homes completed in 2009.

But this year, the number of finishes has spiked upward with the completion of 722 homes in the first quarter compared with 414 in the same time last year.

The hike is even steeper, 127%, when compared with the 318 finishes in the last three months of 2010. The 722 completed homes is the largest number in any quarter going back to 2007.

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