After it was reported that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu plans to approve thousands of new housing units in the West Bank soon, the Peace Now NGO released statistics that show many Israelis in the West Bank live outside of the major settlement blocs. “Netanyahu is an irresponsible leader who is disregarding the diplomatic and security interests of Israel,” said a Peace Now activist in response to the data.
Israeli settlement in the West Bank Photo Credit: Flash 90
According to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics, 172,185 of the 400,000 Israelis who live in the West Bank reside in communities outside of the major settlement blocs. On Monday, the Israeli NGO Peace Now released data indicating that during 2016, 6,427 Israelis joined those who live outside of the settlement blocs.
Peace Now’s Settlement Watch team reported that between 2009 and 2016, 14,463 housing units were built in West Bank settlements. 9,899 of those units were built in communities outside of the settlement blocs, meaning that 68.4 percent of the construction over the past few years has been in highly-controversial areas.
In addition, the data revealed that only 4.6 percent of Israel’s population lives in the West Bank and the largest settlements are two Haredi communities- Modi’in Illit and Beitar Illit. Also, in the past year, the Israeli population in the West Bank grew by 3.5 percent while the total Israeli population increased by only two percent.
“These statistics, just like the construction declaration yesterday evening, show that Netanyahu is an irresponsible leader who is disregarding the diplomatic and security interests of Israel,” said Nadav Gal-On of Peace Now. “Not only is he not promoting negotiations between us and the Palestinians, but he is advancing a policy that is destroying the chance of success for all talks in the future.”