New Israeli statistics have shown that the number of Jewish settlers living in the occupied West Bank reached 435,708 living in 150 illegal settlements at the start of 2018, Israeli media reported on Sunday.
This number did not include the settlers living in occupied East Jerusalem, the Israeli Interior Ministry’s Population Immigration and Border Authority (PIBA) said.
The annual population growth among settlers was 3.4 per cent, with their number increasing by 14,299. It pointed out that the growth rate decreased compared to that in 2016 when the number of settlers increased by 15,765 or 3.9 per cent.
According to the data, the annual growth of settlers during the last decade, between 2007 and 2017, was 4.6 per cent –15,000 settlers a year.
Despite last year’s decrease, The Times of Israel said, the growth of the population number in the settlement remained higher than that in Israel, which was 2 per cent annually.
The Times of Israel noted that the data showed an increasing number of settlers in the settlement inhabited by religious settlers, where the population growth was 12 per cent in 2017.
Yesha Council, the settlement leadership body in the occupied West Bank, attributed the decline in the growth of the settlers’ population to the slowdown of building in settlements.
“The media reports constantly talk about the approved housing units, but the reality is completely different,” Yesha said in a statement reported by The Times of Israel.
Yesha called for “serious government action to remove the barriers to construction and increase the supply of settlement units.”