An Israeli NGO has documented widespread disregard for the construction freeze that was supposed to be enforced in the West Bank settlements.Peace Now, an Israeli group which focuses on illegal settlements, saw an incredible amount of construction in the settlements in spite of the supposed freeze on new construction.
The freeze was put in place this past January by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and is set to expire at the end of September.
Peace Now documented 492 violations of this construction freeze. Using aerial photographs and other tools the group determined that construction had begun on over 600 units in sixty different settlements throughout the West Bank. 492 of these were directly in violation of the freeze.
Other research by the group indicates that in a normal period of construction in the settlements which matches the time of this freeze there would be construction of about 1,130 new homes.
This shows that during the ‘freeze’ construction has only slowed by about half.
A report from the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics released recently has some interesting numbers on the population the illegal settlements.
It points out that between the period of 1972 and 2009 settlement population increased forty fold. This is compared to only a doubling of population in Israel and the Syrian Golan Heights.