Illegal Israeli Settlement Construction Rose By 70% in 2013


In an interview early this month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said illegal Jewish settlements in occupied Palestinian territory are a “bogus issue” that “don’t stand in the way” of a peaceful solution to the conflict.

That was exactly wrong, especially considering that direct negotiations had been stalled for years because the Palestinian side had freezing settlement construction as a precondition to talks. But it’s interesting to see what Israel has been up to in the meantime:


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.

The number of Jewish settlers that the Israeli government has incentivized to live on Palestinian land has tripled since 1993 to more than 342,000 at the end of 2011, the Associated Press reported last year. That number does not include some 200,000 Jews living in East Jerusalem, which Israel annexed from the Palestinians in 1967. Updated settler population estimates for 2013 aren’t available, to my knowledge.

To reiterate, all of this settlement building is illegal under international law, which prohibits the forced transfer of civilian populations and forbids military occupiers from transferring any of its population to settle into the occupied area. Yet the demolitions of Palestinian homes and the erection of new Jewish settlements continues.

One might think settlement activity would abate now that Secretary of State John Kerry has apparently got each side back to the negotiating table. But settlement building is a political tactic in addition to a long-term effort to annex the West Bank.

As Yousef Munayyer wrote recently in The New Yorker, ”Everything about the Israeli state’s actual behavior suggests it has no intention of ever leaving the West Bank.” Lara Friedman and Daniel Seidemann, writing in Foreign Policy, call it the “everybody knows fallacy,” namely that Israel’s gradual and continuous expansion onto Palestinian land is premised “on the grounds that ‘everybody knows’ these areas will always be part of Israel.”

If anyone thinks this is lost on the Palestinians, think again.

“We believe that Israel is deliberately sending a message to the US, to the rest of the world that regardless of any attempt at launching negotiations, ‘we are going to press ahead with stealing more land, building more settlements and destroying the two-state-solution,’” PLO executive committee member Hanan Ashrawi told the BBC.

And that’s how this ‘peace process’ is going. The Israeli leadership doesn’t want peace, they want land that doesn’t belong to them. And thanks to support from Washington, they just might get it.

50 thoughts on “Illegal Israeli Settlement Construction Rose By 70% in 2013”

  1. The founders of the State of Israel never envisioned, never intended, and never counseled any of their followers to prepare for the day of sharing Eretz Israel with "the other". The goal was total conquest and occupation through creeping annexationism, while posturing as "the only democracy in the Middle East. As much as some or many may deplore that vision and those tactics, one has to acknowledge and admire the magnitude of Zionism's success.

    1. Prominent Israeli right wing historian Morris says ethnic cleansing was built into Zionism.

      "one has to acknowledge and admire the magnitude of Zionism's success."

      Not really. Imagine what would happen if the US simply stopped giving them ten millions dollars every day and said, "good luck with all that."

    2. The Khazars were converted to Judaism in the 8th Century and are from Khazakstan. not Israel.

      The Pashtuns and Shi-ite Muslims are the real Twelve Tribes of Israel From Jacob, Issac and Abraham, who became Muslim and rebuilt the Third Temple Al Aska on the Temple Mount a long time ago.

      The European Khazars have no ancestral heritage or rightful claim to Palestine or Al Quds.

      1. Let's say you are right. Let's say they are all russian converts. So? What claim do white americans have to manhattan island?? What claim does america have to mexican california? Anybody can play these games. The turks in 1920 kicked the greeks out of asia minor where they have lived for 3000 years!!! And let's be honest about this. The jews in the late 19th and early 20th century created a thriving economy where there was vey little before. Desolation. Read mark twain. So arabs from iraq syria and the levant came because there was work. We have to deal with what is. Al quds comes from ir hakodesh the holy city in hebrew.

    3. The jews bought the land from the arabs. They paid way too much by the way. Israel was ready to sign peace treaties before 1967 with the current cease fire lines.

  2. That is because EU nor USG is willing to help the Palestinians, that's because they want for Israel to steal more land from Palestinians, if they wanted to do any thing, they would have started a total economic and political boycott of Israel when the illegality of stealing Palestinians land started.

    They did it for 14 years before they could kill millions of Iraqis, why they cannot do it to Israel-Zionism is because Anglo Saxons having issues with arab, brown, yellow and above all democracy and race.

  3. NO israelOPEX. :..??? ?? ??????? ?????? (??? ?????????) ?? ??? ?????? ???? ?????? ??????? ???? ..??? ?? ???????? ???????

  4. Part of democracy is free movement within the country, on that basis alone Israel is not a democracy at all, it is no different from the former South African Regime an Apartheid regime but one based on theocratic guidelines! In the most unless one is Jewish one has diminished rights of voting, free movement, free right of assembly, housing and food! A democracy would allow an arab to live next door to the Israeli Prime Minister, and we are not going to see that happen any day soon! Netenyahu would have a pink fit!

  5. I find it remarkable that the US are happy to condemn the illegal settlements, yet still are happy to give billions of dollars every year to the terrorist government in Tel Aviv to fund the illegal occupation forces.

    If the US are to properly condemn Israel’s illegal settlements they MUST stop funding Israel. Israel was founded by terrorists fighting against the legitimate authority and is still run by terrorists who are in breach of more UN Resolutions than every other country on earth added together. When Saddam’s Iraq was in breach of one the US and UK invaded. Yet when Israel is in breach the world is silent. Double standards and hypocrisy abound.

    The US pays Israel $8 million per day to build ‘illegal’ settlements and torture Palestinian children. When the US stops supporting apartheid apartheid will end.

    Joey Wazwaz

  6. 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.

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