Peace Now: Israeli settlement
construction in Jerusalem accelerated since Annapolis
Date: 31 / 03 / 2008 Time: 11:36
Bethlehem – Ma'an –
Construction in Israeli settlements on occupied
Palestinian land in greater Jerusalem has accelerated since the
Annapolis international conference last November, a report by the
Israeli group Peace Now issued on Monday says.
Peace Now's Settlement Watch Team reports that despite a pledge by
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to freeze settlement construction in
November, settlement construction has continued, and accelerated in
"In Jerusalem we do see an increase in new tenders and in promotion of
new plans," said Hagit Ofran, a settlement monitor for Peace Now.
"I hope Prime Minister Olmert was serious and sincere, but he did not do
anything to make sure [the freeze] works," Ofran added.
Outside of Jerusalem, construction took place in 101 settlements since
last August, including at least 220 already in-progress buildings, the
report says. Work began on at least 275 new buildings.
In the four months since the Annapolis summit, which was intended to
restart peace talks between Israel and Palestine, Israel issued tenders
for the construction of 747 new housing units in occupied East
Jerusalem. Plans for another 3,648 housing units were submitted to the
public for objection, an important final stage of review before
construction is approved.
Peace Now says these plans and others represent an acceleration of
settlement activity in Jerusalem over the first 11 months of 2007, when
no plans were submitted to the public, and only two plans for 391 units
The Settlement Watch Team asked the Israeli Civil Administration, which
governs parts of the occupied West Bank, about its response to illegal
building in one articular outpost, in the Palestinian village of Al-Khadr,
near Bethlehem. The Civil Administration acknowledged the illegality of
the construction, but reportedly did nothing. "Construction blatantly
continued before the very eyes of the Palestinian landowners who could
do nothing about it," the report said.
Yesha, the Israeli settler council, denied Peace Now's report saying,
"The government's decision to freeze settlements is being completely
***Updated at 11:22am Bethlehem time
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