The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories (B’Tselem) stated in its annual report on settlements that the number of settlers living in 102 illegal outposts in the occupied West Bank reached 2000.B’Tselem reported that no new outposts were installed in 2006, but the settlers carried out modifications in 251 outposts. The modifications included adding caravans to the outposts, widening existing homes, installing roads and similar activities.
Settlers installed 127 caravans in several illegal outposts, and the Israeli army removed 37 of these outposts. Settlers also constructed permanent buildings in 30 illegal outposts, and paved roads leading to seven outposts.
According to the report, 22 incidents of new constructions and 10 incidents of widening existing constructions were reported. Settlers also resumed the construction of nine homes, and prepared the land for constructing an additional eight homes.
B’Tselem also reported that 80% of the settlement activities in 2006 occurred to the east of the Annexation Wall, and that most of the expansions in these outposts were carried out in outposts that were installed before March 2001.
In 2001 the then-prime minister Ariel Sharon vowed to the U.S Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice that he would remove all outposts that were installed after March 2001. The outposts remained in place.
The B’Tselem report revealed that Olmert’s Government issued tenders for constructing 953 settlement houses in comparison to 1184 units in 2005.
The Israeli Ministry of Interior reported that the settler population in the occupied West Bank reached 268,000 in 2006; this is a 5% increase from the year 2005. However, this figure excludes settlers in occupied East Jerusalem, who total at around 200,000.
The Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics revealed that the first nine months of last year witnessed the launch of the construction of 1272 settler homes. The annual figure of these constructions is 1700, but in 2005, 1727 settlers’ homes were constructed in the occupied West Bank.
The settlement council in the West Bank said that the settler population is gradually increasing, and that the population increased by 5.83% last year.