Number of Israeli Settlement Building Licences at Highest since 1992

The past two years witnessed a 4.4 per cent increase in the number of settlers in the West Bank. (Tamar Fleishman, PC, File)

The number of Israeli settlement building licences issued in the first half of 2017 is the highest since 1992, Quds Press has reported. The details were revealed by Israel’s far-right Defence Minister, Avigdor Lieberman during Sunday’s cabinet meeting in response to criticism of the government by settlers’ leaders, who want all restrictions on the expansion of settlements lifted.

According to Lieberman, plans for 8,345 new settlement units have been approved since 1 January. Of these, he pointed out, 3,066 have received final approval allowing construction to begin. Last week alone, he pointed out, 3,651 new settlement units were approved.

“The numbers for the first half of 2017 are the highest since 1992,” explained the minister. “What we have approved is the maximum that could be done.” Further permits, he insisted, would “stretch the rope beyond its limit and put the entire settlement enterprise at risk.”

The numbers cited by Lieberman are similar to those released on Thursday by Peace Now, an Israeli rights group that monitors Israel’s illegal settlements. The organisation said that plans for 7,721 housing units were put forward from the beginning of 2017, nearly three times more than in all of 2016.

While most of these permits refer to pre-existing plans, added Peace Now, they also include construction plans for the first new official settlement to be built in 25 years.

All of Israel’s colony-settlements are illegal under international law.

(MEMO, PC, Social Media)

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