Elana Kirsh
The Jerusalem Post
December 9, 2009 - 1:00am

Housing units are being built at a faster rate in Judea and Samaria than in the rest of Israel, according to data released by Peace Now on Wednesday.

The Peace Now report, titled 'Construction Freeze?' noted that despite Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's recently announced 10-month freeze on new housing starts in the West Bank, approved settlement construction is still higher than that in the rest of the country.

During the period of the moratorium, 3,492 housing units were set to be built across the West Bank, which the report said averaged approximately 1,167 units for every 100,000 inhabitants. Within the Green Line, 836 housing units will be built for the same number of inhabitants, according to Central Bureau of Statistics figures quoted in the report.

Peace Now specifically noted that 476 housing units were set to be built in Ma'ale Adumim during the construction freeze, compared to cities of a similar size inside the Green Line, such as 59 in Dimona, and 12 in Or Yehuda. Similarly, 146 housingunits were slated for construction in Ariel, compared to 32 in Sderot.

The left-wing movement's report concluded that "settlers' claims of discrimination and attempts to 'dry out' the settlements have no basis in reality, even during the freeze a larger number of housing units than the national average will be built in the Occupied Territories."

In terms of the moratorium itself, the report went on to list at least eight settlements where "fake foundations" had been constructed in an attempt to "obtain a building permit at the last moment." In addition, at least ten other settlements had violated freeze orders, Peace Now said.

Finally, the movement vowed to "report all discoveries of violation of freeze orders directly to the Prime Minister's office and to the Ministry of Defense," and to initiate legal proceedings against those who "take the law into their own hands" in the West Bank.


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