The advancement of settlement units continued at an unprecedented high level during the second half of 2018 (July-December), according to a recent EU report on Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

More than 7,000 units in the occupied West Bank (4,350), including East Jerusalem (2,900), were advanced in different stages of the planning and implementation process (tenders and plans),

The report said that several important developments took place during the reporting period. In East Jerusalem, Israeli High Court decisions brought between 600 and 700 Palestinians at risk of being evicted in Batan al Hawa (close to the Old city) and families in Sheikh Jarrah (32 persons) lost their final appeal against eviction. A development that will deepen the Israel control of East Jerusalem and the Old City Bassin.

In December, the Israeli government announced that it would allocate land at the Givat Eitam outpost site for the purpose of planning a new settlement in the strategic “E2” area, that potentially will cut off Bethlehem from the southern West Bank, completing the near encirclement of Bethlehem by Israeli settlements.

The many settlement approvals also included plans that will effectively regulate two new settlements (by legalizing the unauthorized outposts of Ibei Hanachal and Gva’ot) and establish two new settlement industrial zones (one near the Beitar Illit settlement and one near the Avnei Hefetz settlement).

The total advancement of settlement units in 2018 (January-December) amounted to more than 15,800 units (9,400 units in the West Bank and 6,400 units in East Jerusalem). The figures show a sharp spike in planning for future construction. This development will, over several years, enable potentially more than 60,0001 Israeli settlers to move to the Occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

According to the PNN, there are currently approximately 215,000 Israelis living in East Jerusalem, while the settler population in Area C in the occupied West Bank, excluding East Jerusalem, is some 413,0002 . This brings the settler population to approximately 630,000 Israeli settlers in 143 settlement locations in the West Bank (132) including East Jerusalem (11)3 and 106 outposts.

Settlements are illegal under international law as reaffirmed by UN Security Council Resolution 2334 (2016) and the developments on the ground make the prospect of a two-state solution, with Jerusalem as the future capital of both states, increasingly unattainable.

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