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NGO: 70 percent rise in settlement construction starts
Published Thursday 17/10/2013 (updated) 19/10/2013 14:48
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A general view of the Israeli settlement of Ramot.
(AFP/Ahmad Gharabli, File)
JERUSALEM (AFP) -- New settlement construction starts rose by 70 percent in the first half of 2013 compared with a year earlier, an Israeli NGO said Thursday, describing the increase as "drastic".

According to figures released by the anti-settler group Peace Now, the construction of 1,708 new homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem began between January and June 2013, compared with 995 in the same period last year.

Billing the figures as a "drastic rise," Peace Now said 44 percent of the new construction had taken place east of Israel's vast separation barrier which cuts through the West Bank, and 32 percent fell to the west of it.

And 86 percent of the new construction was carried out in areas where tenders were not required, it said, meaning it did not technically flout the quiet freeze on tenders Israel reportedly agreed to this year as Washington pushed for a resumption of direct peace talks.

"This means the 'tender moratorium' declared by the government until the prisoners release in July 2013 was not a general construction freeze but only of a small part of the construction in settlements," the watchdog said.

US-sponsored direct peace talks resumed in late July after a hiatus of nearly three years, although both sides have kept a tight lid on the substance under discussion at the request of Washington.

Israel's government has announced the construction of thousands of housing units in illegal settlements since peace talks began.

All Israeli settlements are illegal under international law.

The settler population in the occupied West Bank has tripled since the Oslo Accords, Peace Now says.
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1 ) Billy Bragg / United Kingdom
17/10/2013 11:56
This is certainly excellent news, thank you for the information that while the Arab and Islamic world squabbles, the the Jews and Israel builds and makes the desert bloom.

2 ) Around / World
17/10/2013 13:07
Jews have the right to build everywhere in Israel.

3 ) Philip / Palestine
17/10/2013 16:42
What desert? You must be talking about dessert. The only desert in Palestine is and has always benen the Nagab.

4 ) erhard vogts / Norway
17/10/2013 17:51
"Excellent news".......despite the illegal conditions?

5 ) @ Philip-3 / Truth
17/10/2013 20:02
Roughly half of Israel-"Palestine" (everything south of Beersheva) is clearly "Desert", with less than 250 mm of precipitation per year, and
Much of the rest is extremely arid, which is the reason, that both:
- Israel pioneering drip-irrigation technology, to conserve water, and
- "Palestinians" only live on less than half the West Bank lands !!

6 ) Colin Wright / USA
17/10/2013 21:15
To erhardt vogts #4: '"Excellent news".......despite the illegal conditions?' Welcome to Israel -- the land of inverted morality. The more criminal an activity, the more praise it receives. This is precisely WHY these specimens support Israel: it realizes their craving for evil.

7 ) excellent news? squat invasion / USA
17/10/2013 21:29
you invading jew land thieves are subhuman trash

8 ) Rene / US
18/10/2013 00:12
Judaeizing Palestine. Nothing good, just or holy about that.

9 ) gabi / australia
18/10/2013 01:30
Billy Bragg showing your ignorance again. The desert always bloomed, until the Israelis started confiscating land to prevent Palestinian farmers from farming it, and preventing them access to their water sources, so that produce withered, and the the Israelis claimed land was "abandoned." Read more. And especially read about the various underhand ways the Israelis took land from the farmers - look up the generic term "abandoned lands acts" and then think again before you speak such nonsense.

10 ) F*&^%ING JEWS / ALL THEY DO IS
18/10/2013 09:29
BUILD, BUILD, BUILD what an awful religion !

11 ) Rene / Us
18/10/2013 09:29
With the "alarming" number of Jews leaving and going back to Germany and to the US there will be a lot of empty houses. Hmm.

12 ) mohamed / somalia
18/10/2013 10:51
whether you build or not others people land one day you go back where you belongs

13 ) Billy Bragg / United Kingdom
18/10/2013 15:54
@3 Dear Phillip, This is certainly excellent news, thank you for the information that while the Arab and Islamic world squabbles, the the Jews and Israel builds and makes the Judean Desert bloom.

14 ) Sybil / Australia
18/10/2013 15:58
#4 iThe circumstances n 1967 were the Arab countries threatening to ''throw the Jews into the sea'', when they attacked Israel in the Six Day War. Hence the conditions and arrangement, the Jordanian Arabs now find themselves living in.

15 ) Outlier / USA
18/10/2013 19:31
Here is the tangible result of refusing to negotiate with Israel for so many years. Palestinians and the PA never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

16 ) yuval / exile
18/10/2013 23:06
@#2: perhaps, but the West Bank is NOT israel. All Israeli (Jewish or not) construction in the WB is illegal is a war crime. and, eventually they will be tried and convicted in the Hauge

17 ) @ Yuval-16 / Many Ignore the Hauge
21/10/2013 03:50
-a- The "West Bank is NOT Israel", but - It was previously Israel (King David to Maccabean Rule), and - Oslo formalized complete Israel sovereignty over 60% of it, and -b- The "West Bank is NOT Palestine" either, - simply based on a 2012 UNGA resolution giving what it didn't own, and - neither Palestine, nor Jordan ever had both sovereignty and recognition of the West Bank belonging to their state, so -c- The "West Bank situation is NOT" covered particularly by any law !!!
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