According to a report published on Monday by the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics, illegal settlement construction in the occupied West Bank has witnessed a dramatic rise, with more than double the number of settlements constructed in 2013 than the previous year. Furthermore, Israeli radio is reporting that Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon has approved 19 new plans for settlements in the occupied area known as C.
The Central Bureau of Statistics’ data finds that ever since the current minister of housing, Uri Ariel, took office, settlement operations have been accelerated, with the construction of 2,534 new housing units launched in 2013, in comparison to 1,133 in 2012.
The data indicates that the rate of settlement construction in 2013 was the highest yet from the time when records on settlement construction were first documented in 2000. In addition, 46 per cent of the new settlement units have been classified as “public buildings”, which means that they were set up and supported by the Ministry of Housing.
In related news, Israeli radio is reporting that Defence Minister Ya’alon has approved 19 new settlement plans in the occupied territories known as area C, which is under full Israeli control and includes the Jordan Valley. During a session of the Knesset’s Foreign and Defence Committee on Monday, the radio quoted the head of the occupation’s civil administration, Yoav Mordechai, as saying that Ya’alon presented 19 new plans for construction in area C, without giving any details on the location of the settlements.
US President Barack Obama criticised Israeli settlements last Thursday in an interview with Bloomberg news, saying that Israel’s continued expansion of Jewish settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories is harmful to the peace efforts.