More than 2,600 housing units are under construction
in West Bank settlements, including units in more than 1,000 new
buildings, Peace Now contends in its semi-annual report.
Basing its conclusions on aerial photographs and field visits, the
organization says that slightly more than half of the new structures
are going up east of the separation fence, and in several places
construction is encroaching on the boundaries of Palestinian towns,
such as Ramallah and Bethlehem.
National Bureau of Statistics data shows that construction in
settlements jumped from 240 housing units between January and May 2007
to 433 housing units during the same period this year. Housing and
Construction Ministry projects account for 64 percent of all building
Now reports an increase of 550 percent in the number of tenders for
construction in the settlements: 417 housing units compared to just 65
in 2007; 125 new buildings at outposts, including 30 permanent
The report also addresses construction over the Green Line within
Jerusalem's municipal boundaries, an area in which 200,000 Jews now
live. East Jerusalem saw an increase in tenders for construction of
housing units to 46 this year, from 38 during January-May 2007.
The upshot of its latest report, says Peace Now director Yariv
Oppenheimer, is that "Israel is erasing the Green Line through
intensive construction intended to create territorial continuity
between settlement blocs and isolated settlements in the heart of the
West Bank, with this construction approaching Palestinian cities such
as Bethlehem and Ramallah."