It is safe to say that in the past two years construction starts for approximately 5,000 housing units took place in the settlements. This huge jump in construction starts took place, according to the CBS, mainly in the beginning of 2013, whereas in Peace Now’s data it was reflected only in 2014.

On March 10, 2015 the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics (ICBS or CBS) published the number of construction starts for 2014. According to the CBS, 1,344 new housing units started to be built in the settlements in 2014 and 2,829 units in 2013. Peace Now, who conducted a count of all construction starts based on aerial photos, reported a higher figure for 2014 (3,100 housing units) and lower one for 2013 (2,243 housing units). So how much was actually built?

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Peace Now Releases Settlement Construction Report


Peace Now's annual construction report reveals substantial increase in construction starts, planning and tenders – specifically in isolated settlements and in the most disputed areas in terms of the chance for two states. To download the full report click here.
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Yesterday, the Israeli police arrested three suspects for using forged documents to purchase lands from Palestinians in the West Bank. The police investigation began following a complaint by Peace Now and Palestinian land owners during the High Court petition against the illegal outpost of Migron,after the settlers had provided forged documents to the court. This complaint, together with other cases in which settlers used forged documents to purchase lands in illegal outposts, resulted in a police investigation, leading to yesterday's arrests.

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Peace Now: The Settlement in A-Nahla is Being Promoted

Recent developments demonstrate that the Netanyahu government continues to promote the settlement known as “E2” at A-Nahla (Givat Eitam):
1. The Ministry of Housing has begun to plan the area for the settlement.
2. A new court decision regarding the status of the land is construed as partial approval of the land as state land.
3. Israeli authorities have destroyed a Palestinian wheat field in the area designated for the settlement.

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Shalom Achshav Press Release: Israeli High Court Verdict on Peace Now's Six Outposts Petition

illegal outposts320x265On December 7, 2014 the High Court ruled on Peace Now’s petition number 7891/07 which demanded to carry out Central Command’s delimitation orders and evacuate six West Bank outposts. High Court President, Asher Grunis, ruled that the state must evacuate structures in the outposts located on private Palestinian land, but that there is no place for the court to intervene in the state's prioritization of delimitation orders enforcement and did not oblige the state to evacuate structures located on state lands or survey lands, in light of the state's intention to legalize them.

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Settlement Watch News Flash: Settlers take over 2 Additional Buildings at Silwan

The Israeli Peace Now movement today published the following News Flash:,/p>

Settlers take over 2 Additional Buildings at Silwan
 

Yesterday, 20/10/2014, settlers entered early in the morning to 2 buildings at the Palestinian Silwan neighborhood at East Jerusalem, in the area called Battan Al Hawa. The buildings consist together of an estimated 9 housing units and families have been seen at the sites.

The two new settlements extend the settlers area of control at Silwan. They allow the settlers to have a new stronghold in an area that does not have other settlements in their immediate surroundings. The locations of the buildings are at Battan Al Hawa, in an area that is referred to as the Yemenite neighborhood (Harat Al-Yaman) or Al-Hara Al-Wusta. Unlike Wadi Hilweh  where settlers took over 7 buildings three weeks ago, Battan Al Hawa is an area in Silwan which is very crowdedly populated by Palestinians. The only settlement there, until yesterday, was of about 8 families, in "Beit Yonatan" and "Beit Hadvash", where the settlers can't safely walk in the street and can only reach their homes by an armored car and with armed guards.
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Sacrificing Israel’s Friendships – and Future— at the Altar of Elad

Last week, the Israeli online magazine +972 reported that Maj. Gen. (ret.) Amos Yadlin, the former head of military intelligence and the current director of the Institute for National Security Studies, and Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel, signed onto an ad congratulating settlers for taking over some 7 buildings (with more than 20 apartments) in East Jerusalem, in the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan, which the settlers call the City of David/Ir David.  The ad read:

On the eve of Sukkot, we are happy to congratulate the dozens of new families that are joining the Jewish settlement of Ir David these days.  We salute the Zionist work of those who take part in this mission. Strengthening Jewish presence in Jerusalem is the challenge for all of us, and by your act of settlement you make us all stand taller. Together, we will welcome the pilgrims who are visiting on the holiday. We appreciate and endear you.

Yadlin and his co-signers are, in effect, endorsing the sacrifice of Israel’s future at the altar of Elad.  This is the right-wing organization that for decades has been the engine behind settlement in Silwan—an enterprise that has historically been and continues to be especially problematic politically, morally, and legally.  While recently Elad has endeavored to transform itself into a “mainstream” organization associated with cultural and touristic activities, its raison d’etre has not changed: to create facts on the ground that prevent a two-state solution and to establish an exclusionary, Jewish/Israeli hegemony in the heart of Palestinian East Jerusalem.

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Blaming the Messenger: Bibi & Friends Attack Peace Now

On October 1, the Israeli Peace Now movement broke the news that on the eve of Rosh Hashana, when nobody was paying attention, the Netanyahu government went ahead with final approval of a plan for construction of a new settlement in East Jerusalem – Givat Hamatos.  To understand why this plan is so significant and problematic, see this analysis from Peace Now.  For further dismantling of the excuses offered by Netanyahu and other settlement apologists after news of the approval came out, see this analysis from Danny Seidemann.

The news of this new settlement approval – which came on the heels of the takeover of 7 new properties by settlers in Silwan – cast a pall over Netayahu’s subsequent meeting in Washington, DC with President Obama.  In the wake of that meeting, and following statements from the Obama Administration condemning the new settlement approval, Netanyahu and his fellow settlement defenders/apologists apparently decided that their best defense would be to go on offense – against Peace Now. 

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Peace Now: Why is Givat Hamatos So Significant?


On 24 September, 2014 the Jerusalem local Planning and Construction Committee published an ad in a local Jerusalem weekly announcing the validation of plan No. 14295 for the construction of 2,610 housing units in Givat Hamatos (link to the ad). Following the harsh reactions of the Americans, Netanyahu tried to argue that there was nothing to criticize him about. Here are a few facts following Netanyahu's claims:
 

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Peace Now: Settlers Take Over 6 Houses in Silwan

Settlers entered last night (30.09.2014) into 6 buildings in Silwan, in the area of Wadi Hilweh creating a new reality in the sensitive area, just few meters from Jerusalem's Old City and Temple Mount (Al-Aqsa Mosque). Despite settlers claim to have purchased the buildings from Palestinians, some owners of the buildings are denying any sale and have begun operating in order to evacuate the settlers, among others, through legal procedures.

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