Settlement construction has grown at a slower rate under the current tenure of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu than at any other time in the last twenty years, Ha’aretz reported today. The report explained that while the population of settlements has grown significantly over the past six years (largely due to high birth rates), new housing has not.
According to data from the Housing and Construction Ministry, an average of 1,554 houses a year were built in the settlements from 2009 to 2014 — fewer than under any of his recent predecessors.
By comparison, the annual average was 1,881 under Ariel Sharon and 1,774 under Ehud Olmert. As for Ehud Barak, during his single full year as prime minister, in 2000, he built a whopping 5,000 homes in the settlements.
The current rate is also only about half the pace of settlement construction during Netanyahu’s first term of office, in 1996-99, when it averaged almost 3,000 homes a year.
The Ha’aretz report was published at the same time as Secretary of State John Kerry’s recent comment attributing the escalating terror attacks against Israeli Jews to “frustration” over “a massive increase in settlements.” Israeli officials attribute the increasing violence to incitement by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas.
[Photo: Nati Shohat / Flash90 ]