Today, Peace Now's Settlement Watch issued the following update regarding new settlement-related developments in Hebron:
Regardless of the claims that the new housing units would be delayed until after US Secretary of State Kerry's visit, Peace Now has just revealed 272 housing units were approved for validation yesterday (5/1/14).
The plans are for 250 units in the settlement of Ofra and 22 units in the settlement Karnei Shomron. These plans were published for validation online by the Civil Administration's Subcommittee for Settlements.
Today, APN President and CEO Debra DeLee released the following statement:
"We welcome the news that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has instructed his Minister of Housing, Uri Ariel, to 'reconsider' the recently published tenders for the planning of more than 20,000 new settlement units in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
(UPDATED) Last week, Peace Now (Israel) and Americans for Peace Now released a new report looking at the first 8 months of the Netanyahu government and its record regarding settlements.
Today, Peace Now and APN released an update to the report, to include new information regarding the Netanyahu Government's issuance of tenders for the planning for almost 25,000 new settlement units in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Today, Peace Now (Israel) and Americans for Peace Now released a new report looking at the first 8 months of the Netanyahu government and its record regarding settlements. The key findings are summarized below, followed by a detailed examination of the data. The full report, including all the data in table form, can be viewed/downloaded here.
Americans for Peace Now (APN) today denounced the government of Israel's actions to move forward with yet more settlement approvals in both East Jerusalem and the West Bank. APN once again urged U.S. officials - President Obama, Secretary of State Kerry, and Special Envoy Indyk - to engage forcefully to convince Prime Minister Netanyahu to cease and roll back these reckless, destructive decisions.
Last week, my colleagues in the Israeli Peace Now movement issued two blockbuster reports. These weren't the regular "more construction was announced" fare. These reports have huge implications, both negative and positive, for peace and the two-state solution.
The Bad News: Settlement Construction Surges, Even Without Tenders
Peace Now documented a 70 percent increase in new construction starts in settlements during the first six months of 2013, as compared to the same period in 2012. That's in addition to a huge number of units completed or on which work was ongoing during this period--altogether translating to 3,070 units which are or will soon be available to house new settlers. Assuming a family of five, this translates to around 15,000 new settlers.
Today the Israeli Peace Now movement issued a report documenting a surge in settlement construction during the first half of 2013. The report contradicts the popular narrative that settlement construction in the West Bank slowed during the run-up to the re-start of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
In reality, the period of January-June 2013 saw a huge increase in construction compared to the same period in 2012. The details of the report are summarized below. The full report is available here.
The Israeli daily, Ma'ariv, recently ran a story about construction in East Jerusalem, and told its readers, "These figures were given to us by Hagit Ofran, who heads the Settlement Watch program for Peace Now [Shalom Achshav]. Ofran carefully monitors each and every construction permit given to neighborhoods beyond the Green Line and documents them. She was the only one who could give us the precise numbers in an orderly Excel chart."
It is impossible for any thinking person to view yesterday's release of Palestinian prisoners - and the planned release of more prisoners - with anything but very mixed feelings.
Anyone who recognizes that Israeli-Palestinian peace is vital for Israel's security and viability as a democracy and a Jewish state must welcome the release -- as a measure that can strengthen and give credibility to the new negotiating effort -- even as we feel compassion for those for whom these releases awaken terrible memories of heinous crimes committed against loved ones.