Israel Admits Doubling Settlement-Building in 2013

Occupation Deepens Even as Peace Talks Inch Ahead

Build Baby Build: Israeli settlers march to claim a portion of the West Bank near their settlement. Government figures show Israel is accelerating construction in the occupied territory.
getty images
Build Baby Build: Israeli settlers march to claim a portion of the West Bank near their settlement. Government figures show Israel is accelerating construction in the occupied territory.

By Reuters

Published March 03, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Israel began building twice as many settler homes in the occupied West Bank last year as in 2012, official data showed on Monday, just hours before Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was due to meet U.S. President Barack Obama.

Obama has been sharply critical of Jewish construction on land Palestinians want for a future state. Such settlement is deemed illegal in international law.

A spokesman for Netanyahu, who arrived in Washington on Sunday at the start of a five-day visit to the United States, had no immediate comment on the figures, which were released by Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics.

It said the number of new construction projects in the settlements jumped to 2,534 in 2013 from 1,133 the year before, but did not say where specifically the houses were being built.

Citing security concerns and historic and Biblical links to the territory, Israel says it intends to keep large settlement blocs in any future peace deal. Palestinians say relentless settlement expansion makes a mockery of their aspirations to an independent state in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.

Obama issued a veiled warning to Netanyahu on Sunday, saying it would be harder for Washington to defend Israel against efforts to isolate it internationally if U.S.-led peace talks fail.

“What I do believe is that if you see no peace deal and continued aggressive settlement construction and … if Palestinians come to believe that the possibility of a contiguous sovereign Palestinian state is no longer within reach, then our ability to manage the international fallout is going to be limited,” Obama told Bloomberg View.

He urged Netanyahu to “seize the moment” to help achieve a framework agreement that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has been trying to forge as the basis for a peace settlement.

Israel’s anti-settlement group Peace Now said the increase in settlement building starts showed the Israeli government’s “lack of commitment to negotiations”.

More than 500,000 Jewish settlers live on land seized by Israel in the 1967 war.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • "I thought I was the only Jew on a Harley Davidson, but I was wrong." — Gil Paul, member of the Hillel's Angels. http://jd.fo/g4cjH
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.