The Israeli Peace Now organization reported that building in illegal settlement outposts in the occupied West Bank was stepped up during the recent Israeli war with Lebanon.
The movement reported that 31 illegal settlement outposts and infrastructure were constructed during the war, and that settlers in twelve illegal outposts have constructed permanent buildings.
The statements of peace now movement came in its bi-annual report.
The movement demanded the Israeli Defense Minister, Amir Peretz, to fulfill his promises regarding illegal settlement outposts in the West Bank. Peretz had promised to discuss this issue in the summer of 2006, but so far, he did not live up to his promise.
Israeli online daily, Haaretz, reported that the Israeli army had already prepared a plan to evacuate, by force, five illegal outposts which are labeled by the army as “particularly problematic”.
All plans to evacuate these illegal outposts were put on hold when the war broke out between Hezbollah and Israel, Haaretz added.
Peace Now said that in spite of the promises and plans, illegal outposts have increased and the existing outposts have expanded.
The movement stated that expansion work was conducted in 31 outposts; where new mobile homes, roads and infrastructure were established.
Also, Peace Now added that permanent constructions were conducted in 12 illegal outposts, including the outposts of Bnei Kedem, Neveh Erez, Palgei Mayim, and near Itamar.
Peace Now director general, Yariv Oppenheimer, said that "The settlers benefited from the war in the north and stepped up the construction of the outposts”.
“The settlers were awarded by the delay of the evacuation; they brought more mobile homes, paved roads, set out new roads and expanded the outposts”, Oppenheimer stated, “We hope that the government will carry its original plans to evacuate all illegal outposts”.
Peace Now report revealed that 3500 houses are currently being constructed in the West Bank, compared to 4144 houses that were being built at the same time last year, Haaretz reported.
Two settlement roads were also paved; one linking Tekoa settlement, near Bethlehem, with Jerusalem, and the second is the Ma’ali Adumim-Jericho road.
Also, the movement said that more than 40 illegal constructions have received evacuation orders, but the settlers, who already received such order many times before, remained there and expanded the outposts.
Peace Now also reported that recently, the Israeli Army Central command, signed an order to expand the jurisdiction of four settlements in the occupied West Bank. The settlements are Givat Ze'ev, Oranit, Beitar Ilit and Maskiot.
Meanwhile, the construction is currently ongoing in the settlement blocks of Ma’aleh Adumim, of Beitar Ilit, Modi'in Ilit, and Alfei Menashe.
In spite the recent statements of the Israeli Defense Minister, Amir Peretz, and several Israeli officials, that Israeli would evacuate illegal outposts, and in spite of the Israeli vows to the United States regarding the same issue, there is no preparation for a foreseen evacuation.