Peace Now: Construction per person in the settlements is nearly twice than in Israel

Peace Now – Sept 2011

September 2011 – Report on construction in the settlements since the construction freeze (excluding East Jerusalem)

Peace Now research has revealed that whereas in Israel the pace of construction since the settlement freeze (in October 2010 – July 2011) was one housing unit for every 235 residents, in the settlements the pace of construction was a housing unit for every 123 residents, which is to say that there is nearly 2 times more construction in the settlements than in Israel.*

Peace Now data, based on the analysis of aerial photos of settlements and field visits, show that in the ten months since the end of the building freeze in the settlements (October 2010 to July 2011) the following:

  • Building Starts: 2,598 new housing units began to be built, of which 1,642 units (63%) are ground level houses (villas and cottages); furthermore, ground works began for the construction of at least another 317 units; and 100 housing units were added in mobile homes. At least 383 units whose construction began are illegal according to the planning and building laws that apply to the settlements, 157 of which are in illegal outposts.
  • Building completion: the construction of 2,149 new housing units was completed.
  • Under active construction: at least 3,700 units were under construction during the period of the last 10 months.

Download the full list of construction in every settlement

Two Thirds of the Construction is East of the Completed Separation Fence

  • About one third of the building starts (826 units) are being built in the isolated settlements, east of the planned fence. For instant: 78 housing units in Ofra, 56 housing units in Carmei Zur, 44 housing units in Tekoa and 40 housing units in Kiryat Arba.
  • About one third of the building starts (869 housing units) are being built in settlements west of the completed separation fence. For instance: 185 housing units in Oranit, 178 housing units in Modi’in Illit, 109 housing units in Har Gilo and 92 housing units in Givat Ze’ev.
  • A little more than one third of the building starts (903 housing units) are being built in settlements east of the completed fence, but west of the planned route of the fence, in “fingers” extending into the West Bank. For instance: 78 housing units in Kedumim, 66 housing units in Revava, 50 housing units in Alei Zahav and 24 housing units in Peduel.

Consruction Map – Download High Resolution

Construction in the “fingers” – the planned route of the separation fence penetrates the depth of the West Bank in four “fingers;” the Israeli government is avoiding completion of their construction for political reasons. About 35% of the building starts are being built in those fingers: in the Ariel finger (245 housing units), in Gush Etzion (329 housing units, of which 198 are in the haredi settlement of Beitar Illit), in the Karnei Shomron-Kedumim finger (114 housing units) and in the Maale Adumim area (212 housing units).

Building Starts in the “Fingers”

Extensive Construction of Ground-Level Houses – Cottages and Villas

While Israel suffers from a housing shortage, in the settlements the dream of a ground-level house with a garden is coming true. Alongside the crowded construction in the big settlements (Modi’in Illit, Beitar Illit and Maale Adumim), there has been an increase in the construction of cottages and villas in the settlements.

  • 63% of the construction in the settlements in the ten months since the end of the “freeze” – 1,642 housing units – is ground-level.
  • 456 units are in duplex cottages and 1,186 are single-family houses.
  • Most of the construction (52%) of the ground-level houses is for the religious population only; 5% is for the secular public and the rest is for a mixed population. For instance: in Oranit, 117 single-family units and 34 duplexes; in Alei Zahav – 50 single-family houses; in Kedumim – 48 single-family and 13 duplexes; in Tkoa 41 single-family; and in Revava 30 single-family houses.

Construction of new villa neighborhood with 48 housing units in the secular settlement Alei Zahav, for a religious group

The Netanyahu Government’s Policy – Authorizations for Marketing and Planning

Some of the construction taking place today is the result of permits granted by the Netanyahu government, and some is based on old permits granted by previous governments. According to press reports, the Netanyahu government has authorized for marketing at least 1,543 new housing units in the settlements (not including East Jerusalem), 1,051 of which were approved after the building freeze. Furthermore, the government approved for planning, certain plans meant to retroactively legalize hundreds of housing units built illegally, but only 77 new housing units (in Kfar Eldad and Halamish).

In addition, through the housing ministry, the government has begun planning 800 new housing units south of Givat Ze’ev.

There is less of a need for the authorization of new plans than for permits for marketing, because there are nearly 38,000 housing units in the settlements whose planning was authorized in the past, and all they need to be built is a marketing permit.

It is noteworthy that the information about government authorizations is not published regularly and there may be further authorizations that have not been publicized.

The Approvals of the Netanyahu Govenment – the Details

a. Authorizations for marketing – the last authorization required from the government before beginning work is an authorization for marketing, and it is granted after the plans have been approved for validation.

492 housing units were authorized for marketing before the building freeze – in July 2009 it was reported that the defense minister had authorized the construction of 455 housing units in eight different settlements: Har Gilo (149 housing units, most of which have already been started), Alon Shvut (12 housing units, construction has been completed), Modi’in Illit (84 housing units), Givat Ze’ev (76 housing units), Kedar (25 housing units, the construction of most of which has started), Maskiyot (20 housing units of which 10 have been built), Maale Adumim (89 housing units),  and on September 2009 it was reported that the Minister approved another 37 units in Karnei Shomron.

1,051 housing units have been authorized for marketing since the end of the building freeze

March 2011, directly after the murder in Itamar, the government authorized the marketing of 200 housing units in Modi’in Illit, 100 housing units in Ariel and 40 housing units in Maale Adumim.

May 20, 2011 it was reported that the defense minister had authorized the marketing of 294 housing units in Beitar Illit and 40 housing units for protected tenancy in Efrat.

August 15, 2011 it was reported that the defense minister authorized 277 housing units in Ariel (we do not have the information whether this was in addition to the 100 units that were authorized in March or whether they were re-included in the 277 that were just announced).

August 26 2011, it was reported that the defense minister had approved construction of a kindergarten next to the Romano house in the heart of Hebron.

August 29 2011, it was reported that 100 units were approved in Beit Arye.

b.      Authorization for planning – the first stage in the process of authorizing construction in settlements is allocating the land for planning and authorization toadvance the plans. After completion of the planning another authorization is required from the government to market the land.

On April 4, 2011 it was reported that the defense minister had authorized the advancement of plans whose purpose was to retroactively legalize hundreds of housing units in the settlements: Rotem, Hemdat, Sansana, Kiryat Netafim, Halamish and Nofim. Information was also received of authorization of the advancement of plans in Itamar and Eli.

Advancement of a plan to build a yeshiva campus south of Efrat – the plan was deposited in January 2011.

Advancement of a plan for 50 housing units in the settlements of Kfar Eldad – authorized by the government directly after the murder in Itamar.

Planning of a school in Har Adar and planning of a sports center in Ariel – authorized by the government before the settlement moratorium.

Advancement of a plan for 27 housing units in the settlement of Halamish – the plan was authorized by the defense minister on April 13, 2011 and was meant to retroactively legalize illegal construction that had begun.

In Kiryat Netafim authorization of the advancement of plan no. 129/2 to build 86 housing units, 75 of which are already built.

Advancement of a plan for 800 housing units in Givat Ze’ev – the defense minister has not yet authorized the advancement of this plan but in May 2011 the housing ministry allocated a budget to fund the preparation of the plan and the planning work has begun.


* How the data was calculated (number of building starts divided by number of residents):
Building starts in Israel – the number of housing units that began to be built in Israel (without the settlements) since October 2010 till July 2011 – 31,679 units (CBS data);
Building starts in the settlements – the number of building starts according to Peace Now’s account in (October 2011 till July 2011) – 2,598 units.
Number of settlers as of middle of 2011 – 321,000 (estimate based on CBS data).
Number of residents of Israel as of middle of 2011 (not including settlers) – 7,438,300 (CBS data).

ConstructionReport2011 – PowerPoint presentation of the Report

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