Israel Issues Tenders to Build 77 New Settlement Units in East Jerusalem

JERUSALEM, April 27, 2015 – (WAFA) The Israeli government Monday issued tenders for the construction of 77 new settlement units in  East Jerusalem, According to Middle East Monitor website reporting on the leftist Peace Now movement.

The leftist Peace Now movement, which campaigns against Israeli settlement activities, reported that 36 of the new tenders are for Neve Yaakov settlement and 41 for Pisgat Zeev.

The movement slammed the move as an ‘indicator’ of the policies of the new government that is in the making under outgoing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose Likud party won the country’s parliamentary elections last month.

Earlier this year, the group said that Israeli settlement construction in occupied Palestinian territories increased by 40% during 2014.

International law views the West Bank and East Jerusalem as occupied territories and considers all Jewish settlement building on the land to be illegal.

A substantial increase in Israeli settlement construction activities – planning and tenders – was witnessed in the year 2014, according to a recent report published by Peace Now, an Israeli human rights group on February 25.

It said most of that increase was observed in isolated settlements and the most disputed areas in terms of the chance for two states, Palestine and Israel.

While it monitored a 40% increase in construction activities, 68% of that was witnessed in settlements east of the outline proposed by the Geneva Initiative; the areas most challenging for the two-state solution.

Tenders for 4,485 residential units were published in 2014 alone, says Peace Now, while the third Netanyahu government promoted an average of 460 residential units per month, mainly in isolated settlements, double the number promoted by the previous government.

In 2014 construction of 3,100 residential units began in the settlements; 2,671 permanent structures and 429 caravans and light construction structures.

In addition, 165 public buildings (kindergartens, educational institutions, synagogues, etc.) and 92 industrial and agricultural structures were built.

A total of 9% of the construction – 287 residential units – occurred in the illegal outposts, while the number of settlers therein, according to Peace Now estimates, consists of only 4% of all settlers.

The year 2014, according to the group, was a record year in tender publication, for at least a decade. “Tender publication eventually halted the negotiations and led Secretary of State John Kerry to withdraw his efforts.”

The current Netanyahu government nearly tripled the average number of tenders as compared to the previous Netanyahu government,” said Peace Now.

The Netanyahu government continued the previous government’s trend of promoting plans throughout the West Bank.  During its 22 months in office thus far (18 March 2013 – January 2015), at least 66 plans were promoted for 10,113 different residential units in 41 settlements (monthly average of 460 residential units).

“In all, both Netanyahu governments, 31 March 2009 – January 2015, promoted at least 106 construction plans for 13,077 different residential units in 57 settlements.”