News from Peace Now's (Israel) Settlement Watch:
Today, (Wednesday, 6th of July) the Israeli Ministry of Housing issued a tender for the construction
of 42 housing units in Kiryat Arba. The tender was issued today but bids can only be submitted at the 31st of
July. This means that the Government wanted to publish the tender quickly, before the paperwork is completed, in
order to make the connection between the deadly attacks against Israelis last week and the promotion of the
construction in Kiryat Arba.
Peace Now: "Construction in settlements is not an answer to terrorism; it is not going to save the life of any Israeli but rather strengthen the extremists on both sides. The real answer to terrorism is ending the occupation and reaching a negotiated peace agreement. Unfortunately, Israeli citizens continue to pay the price of the extreme right wing government's policies."
This is the first tender issued in the settlements since November 2015 when a tender for 438 units in Ramat Shlomo in East Jerusalem was issued.
The Government Seeks to Expand Kiryat Arab Despite the Low Demand
The tender issued in Kiryat Arab is a "renewed tender", after the Government failed to build the housing units. On January 2013 the Ministry of Housing issued a tender for 84 units in Kiryat Arba, but there were no bids to build it. On January 2015 the Government tried to sell the units again in another tender adding additional 18 units, but again, the 42 units were not sold.
The low demand could be explained by the fact that in the last 6 years, approximately 1,480 settlers left Kiryat Arba. The ICBS data (updated until the end of 2014) shows that since Netanyahu took office in 2009 the number of Kiryat Arba residents decreased from 7,096 at the end of 2009 to 6,951 at the end of 2014. According to the ICBS data during these years an average of 250 babies were born each year in Kiryat Arba (approximately 1,500 in total) and between 25 and 30 people passed away (approximately 165 individuals in total).