Monday, February 2, 2009

Stealing more land, faster

Peace Recedes as Israeli Settlements Expand
IPS: Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank increased sharply in 2008, despite Israel's pledge at the beginning of the year to freeze all construction, according to a new report by an Israeli non-governmental organization (.pdf)...

Settlement construction in 2008 increased by almost 60 percent, including new construction both inside and outside of the security barrier and within illegal settlement outposts... At least 1,257 new structures were built in West Bank settlements in 2008, up sharply from 800 in 2007. This figure did not include the 261 new structures built in illegal outposts in the West Bank. 

Nearly 40 percent of the new structures were built east of the security barrier, many of them extending deep into the West Bank. And despite the Israeli government's pledge to crack down on the illegal outposts, the study found that 'not a single real outpost was evacuated.' Additionally, the report found evidence that land confiscations were continuing to take place, contradicting the government's stated policy.

Haaretz: Here, for the first time, information the state has been hiding for years is revealed... In the vast majority of the settlements -- about 75 percent -- construction, sometimes on a large scale, has been carried out without the appropriate permits or contrary to the permits that were issued...

In more than 30 settlements, extensive construction of buildings and infrastructure (roads, schools, synagogues, yeshivas and even police stations) has been carried out on private lands belonging to Palestinian West Bank residents... Entire neighborhoods built without permits or on private lands are inseparable parts of the settlements... Municipal offices, police and fire stations were also built upon and currently operate on lands that belong to Palestinians.
Image source here.