Israel began constructing 1,800 settler homes in 2015

NGO report says Israel began constructing 1,800 settler homes last year in occupied West Bank

Photo by: AFP (Archive)
Photo by: AFP (Archive)

Peace Now, a non-governmental organisation, said in its report that construction started on 1,800 homes for Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank in 2015.

The construction of 1,800 homes for Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank started last year, settlements watchdog Peace Now -a non-governmental organisation in Israel- said in its annual report released on Sunday.

The number is down sharply from the 3,100 that Peace Now reported for in 2014, but was slightly higher than the previous years.

"2014 was an exceptional year in terms of construction", the report said.

It said that in 2015, work on infrastructure was conducted for the planned construction of at least 734 more housing units in the West Bank.

"Despite government declarations of a 'freeze,' construction on the ground continued in full force," Peace Now’s report said.

Out of the 1,800 homes, 265 of them started construction in wildcat outposts.

Around 500,000 settlers currently live in more than 100 communities built since Israel occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem in 1967.

Under international law, Israel building in occupied territories is illegal.

The report does not cover Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem.

Settlers did not contest the latest figures, but said this proved they were in a “difficult state.”

"How can it be that with a settlement population of close to half a million we are building in such low numbers?" Shilo Adler, head of the Yesha Council of Jewish settlements, told public radio.

The continued construction of illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem often raise tensions between Israelis and Palestinians, and has resulted in the breaking-off of peace talks between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority.

In this file photo, Palestinians from the West Bank protest close to Israeli settlements.

In January, the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki moon, had described Israeli plans for settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories as “provocative acts.”

"Continued settlement activities are an affront to the Palestinian people and to the international community," he had stated.

Almost 350,000 Palestinians reside in East Jerusalem and 2.7 million in the West Bank.

The Palestinians want these areas and the Gaza Strip to form a future Palestinian state.

In December, US Secretary of State, John Kerry, said that Israel's settlement expansion raises "honest questions about Israel's long-term intentions."

TRTWorld and agencies