The growth rate of Israel’s settler population in the occupied West Bank during 2018 was double that of the equivalent national figure, reported the Jerusalem Post yesterday.
The settler growth rate remained roughly steady at 3.5 per cent, compared to the national rate of 1.9 per cent, according to data released by the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS).
The CBS figures reveal that new settlers made up 12.5 per cent of the population growth in 2018, compared to 87.5 per cent natural growth (i.e. the number of births).
According to settler official Yigal Dilmoni, commenting on a slower settler population growth rate compared to a decade ago, as the settler population has inched towards half-a-million, the growth rate has naturally dropped.
In 2009, for example, the settler population stood at 296,700, compared to 427,800 in 2018 (both figures excluding the settler population in occupied East Jerusalem).
Dilmoni did, however, bemoan “delays in large projects and the lack of authorised plans” as obstacles to even quicker settler population growth.
According to the CBS, there were 830 settler building starts in the first half of 2019, as well as 812 finishes during the same period.
Settlement watchdog group Peace Now stressed the significance of the settler growth rate remaining double that of the nation, even though West Bank settlers only constitute 4.7 per cent of the overall population.