Peace Now: Report | July 13, 2023 – In the first half of 2023, the Israeli government promoted 12,855 housing units in the West Bank, of which 9,805 were for deposit and 3,500 for validation.
This is a record number of housing units in the West Bank, also on an annual scale.
Since Peace Now began in 2012 to systematically record the advancement of settlement plans via the planning procedures, the latest data reveals that following this decision, 2023 has emerged as the highest year on record in terms of units approved.
The Higher Planning Council (HPC) met three times this year for the purpose of promoting construction plans. In February, the HPC met for two days and approved the promotion of 7,327 housing units, of which 5,235 were for deposit and 2,092 for validation.
In May, the council met and approved the promotion of 3 housing units. In June, the council approved the promotion of 5,525 in total, of which 4,567 were for deposit and 916 for validation.
The peak year of approval for construction plans is joined by a record-breaking year of unprecedented approval for outposts authorization. In February, the Israeli government announced the approval of 9 outposts, which retrospectively turned out to be 10 new settlements.
During the same month, an agreement was signed between Minister Bezalel Smotrich and Minister Yoav Gallant regarding the transfer of civilian administrative authorities to the Civil Administration and the establishment of the “Settlements Administration.”
This agreement, along with the government’s decision in June to transfer planning authorities in the West Bank exclusively to the responsibility of Minister Smotrich, allows for an accelerated development of settlements without taking into account political or security considerations, contrary to Israel’s previous practices and policies regarding construction in the West Bank.
Alongside the promotion of construction plans in the HPC, tenders were published for the construction of 1,289 housing units throughout the West Bank, bringing the total construction in the West Bank in the past six months to 14,044 units.
As can be seen from the table and the accompanying graph, Israel is actively working to create record-breaking construction and outposts authorization in the West Bank.
“It seems that from every direction, starting from government decisions to the work of the Higher Planning Council, the development and construction in the settlements are the main and central activities of the current government. In the past six months, the only sector that Israel has vigorously promoted is the settlement enterprise. This enterprise does not advance Israel’s economy but rather harms Israel’s security, diplomacy, and society.”
– Peace Now