According to a new report released by Peace Now on Israel’s settlement activity during the past decade under the far-right governments of Benjamin Netanyahu, from 2009-2018 construction was begun on 19,346 new housing units in Jewish settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT).
The report describes how 70% of the new construction (13,608 housing units) was carried out in settlements east of the border outlined in the proposed Geneva Initiative, i.e., settlements that are likely to be evacuated in a two-state agreement. This translates to an addition of 13,608 new families (potentially more than 60,000 settlers) in settlements that Israel will likely have to evict as part of a permanent agreement.
Furthermore, 35% of the new construction (6,852 housing units) was in areas situated east of the route of the Israel’s separation barrier. Another 30% (5,861 units) are located between the already built and planned route of the fence. Only 34% (6,633 units) built during this period were west of the completed portion of the Apartheid Barrier.
At least 11% (2,206 units) of the construction was illegal even according to Israeli law in the OPT (to say nothing of the illegality of all settlements according to the international law), primarily in illegal outposts.
In the last decade of Netanyahu rule (2009-2018), the various government ministries transferred more than NIS 10 billion ($2.8 billion) as supplementary budgets to the settlements. In 2016, the amount transferred to the settlements was NIS 1,189 billion ($333 million); in 2017, the sum was NIS 1,650 billion ($462 million); and in the first half alone of 2018 the amount was NIS 697 million ($195 million).
The above figures are calculated by the Ministry of Finance every quarter and are submitted by the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics to the US government. According to the report, “It is important to note that this sum includes only the unique expenditures for the settlements, and not the defense and security expenditures, as well as some of the road construction expenses. Nor does it include the services given to settlers which would have been given to them even if they had lived inside Israel.”