Construction of illegal Israeli settlements up by 62% in the past year: report
A new report has revealed that Israel’s construction of illegal settlements on Palestinian land increased by 62 percent under the government led by now-former Prime Minister Naftali Bennet, since it came to power in June 2021.
The report was compiled by Peace Now, an NGO and activist group in Israel that promotes the two-state solution between Israelis and Palestinians.
We can see a 62% jump in construction starts in settlements with the entry of the new government, despite its promise that it would keep a status quo in everything regarding the occupation. The government policy mainly shows that it did nothing to stop construction. pic.twitter.com/rjeGsGQzwf— Peace Now (@peacenowisrael) June 24, 2022
It also stated that the planning of new settlements had increased by 26 percent, and that the government had approved the construction of 1,550 housing units in settlements in a year, an increase of 15 percent from the previous Netanyahu government.
The report adds that the government planned or built new illegal settlements in sensitive areas in an attempt to harm any development for the Palestinians. These include a new settlement in Hebron for the first time in 40 years and an expansion of a ‘national park’ around Jerusalem’s Old City, meant to further marginalise Palestinians who live there.
The policy of expulsion of Palestinians and their restriction to the constrained enclaves in Areas A and B was deepened. The Civil Administration had demolished 639 Palestinian-owned structures in Area C, causing 604 people to lose their homes. (An increase of 35%) pic.twitter.com/3XmftPdnYs— Peace Now (@peacenowisrael) June 24, 2022
The Bennett government has also demolished 639 structures in “Area C” - land that is under direct Israeli military control - and another 189 in illegally annexed East Jerusalem, removing 604 and 450 Palestinians respectively from their homes.
Israeli settlements are illegal under international law, and have been condemned by even staunch allies such as the United States. Settlers repeatedly attack Palestinian civilians and damage their property, and Peace Now’s report reveals that settler violence against Palestinians has risen from 20 incidents a month to 29 under Bennett’s government.