Peace Now’s Settlement Watch project reported this week that Benjamin Netanyahu’s government approved construction of hundreds of new homes in West Bank settlements, and is accelerating the pace of planned building in the settlements. Peace Now’s data was based on info obtained from the High Planning Council for Judea and Samaria, the government agency responsible for construction licensing and planning in West Bank settlements. The data showed that this year’s numbers (January through March) were higher than the equivalent period last year.
The report received broad media coverage, and undoubtedly raised some eyebrows in Washington.
Yesterday, in a highly unusual move, Netanyahu’s office issued a statement denying Peace Now's report, stating that "almost all of the approvals are designed to upgrade existing structures," rather than new construction. Bibi challenged the integrity of Peace Now’s report.
Within hours, Peace Now came up with hard evidence, including aerial photos that it routinely takes of West Bank settlement construction sites, to prove that its information is solid, and that it is Netanyahu’s statement that was, as Haaretz kindly put it, “not entirely accurate.”
Peace Now is the only non-governmental body that systematically documents West Bank settlement construction information and disseminates it widely with the goal of preventing the Israeli government from blocking the path to a two-state solution. Peace Now does that with accuracy, integrity and courage.
In today’s Israel, unfortunately, it takes a lot of courage to stand up to a prime minister who plays fast and loose with the truth.
Please donate today so that Shalom Achshav can continue to stand up to PM Netanyahu and do this critical work.