Last year, construction began on 265 homes in West Bank outposts. Out of those, 32 were built on private Palestinian property in the outposts.
By TOVAH LAZAROFF
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has authorized 20 outposts since taking office in 2009 and plans to legalize an additional six, according to a report to be released on Sunday by the nongovernmental organization Peace Now that monitors West Bank settlement activity.Four outposts have been created, including one last year, Nofei Prat South, which is located off of Route 1 on the way to the Dead Sea, the NGO said.Three of the outposts were retroactively legalized as settlements in 2012. The other 17 were authorized as neighborhoods of already existing settlements.It added that last year, construction began on 265 homes in West Bank outposts. Out of those, 32 were built on private Palestinian property in the outposts.In recent months both the European Union and the United States have spoken out against the outposts.“Along with the regular retroactive legalization of unauthorized outposts and construction of infrastructure in remote settlements, actions such as this decision clearly undermine the possibility of a two-state solution,” US State Department spokesman John Kirby said in January.Peace Now based its information on court documents, statements from the Higher Planning Council of Judea and Samaria as well as aerial footage it took of the West Bank.AdvertisementIt compiled settlement statistics for 2015, and in some instances looked at overall data from the seven years that Netanyahu has been in office as prime minister since 2009.The group has long argued that such construction makes it impossible to arrive at a two-state solution.It said that tenders were issued in 2015 for 1,143 homes over the pre- 1967 lines, of which 583 were in east Jerusalem and another 560 were in West Bank settlements.In Jerusalem there were 438 tenders issued in the Har Homa neighborhood, 103 in Pisgat Ze’ev and 36 in Neveh Ya’acov. In the West Bank tenders were issued for the following settlements: 156 for Elkana, 114 for Adam, 102 for Kiryat Arba, 85 for Givat Ze’ev, 78 for Alfei Menashe, 20 for Beitar Illit, three for Ariel and two for Karnei Shomron.Plans were delivered for an additional 348 homes in West Bank settlements.The bulk of the report, however, focused on the West Bank, where it estimated that in 2015 ground was dug for 1,800 housing starts, of which 253 of the overall structures were modular and 1,547 were permanent. This included homes in both settlements and outposts.Infrastructure was laid for 734 homes.An additional 153 homes were authorized to be constructed in 2016, it added.Some 40 percent of the starts, 746 units, were outside the route of the security barrier in 2015. Since 2009, according to Peace Now, 4,621 units were constructed outside the barrier’s route.The families that live in these homes would likely need to be evacuated in any final status agreement with the Palestinians, the NGO said in its report.Work is being done to retroactively legalize 1,152 homes in West Bank settlements in 2015, of which 637 are permanent structures and 167 are caravans. An additional 348 homes could be built as part of the retroactive legalizations, it said.Last year, the Higher Planning Council for Judea and Samaria authorized infrastructure for a 296- unit project in the Beit El settlement.It also approved zoning plans that could allow for 2,200 settlement homes in the future.Work was done on 63 public institutions in West Bank settlements, such as synagogues and schools.