A report by the Israeli Peace Now movement claims that the illegal settlement construction rate in the occupied West Bank is nearly double the construction rate inside Israel (the “1948 occupied territories”). While the latter is one housing unit per 235 residents, the rate in the occupied West Bank settlements is one unit for every 123 illegal settlers.
The data in the report is based on aerial photos and on-site visits; it claims that immediately after the end of the partial construction freeze from November 2009 to September 2010, work began on 2,598 new settlement units in the occupied West Bank. It is noteworthy that the construction of 3,700 housing units continued throughout the supposed freeze on the grounds that work had started before November 2009.
According to Peace Now, the groundwork for the construction of an additional 417 housing units and 100 caravans (temporary buildings) has been completed. Of those units, 383 are illegal (in international law) and 157 are located in illegal (that is, not authorised by the Israeli government) outposts.
The report added that 66% of the buildings are being built to the east of the “separation fence” which cuts deep into Palestinian territory. Eight hundred and twenty-six settlements are on isolated settlements; 869 are on occupied land to the west of the separation wall; and 900 units are between the existing wall and the route of the planned but yet to be built wall.
“The planned separation fence goes deep into the West Bank at four ‘fingers’, the construction of which Israel avoids completing for political reasons,” the report states. “The four ‘fingers’ are Ariel (245 housing units), Gush Etzion (329), Karnei Shomron-Kdumim (114) and the Maale Edumim region (212).”