The past year has seen a 20% rise in construction starts in the West Bank settlements, Peace Now said in a report published Tuesday.
According to data by the settlement watchdog, Jewish construction in the West Bank peaked in 2011. It said Israel
started construction work on 1,850 new housing units in the West Bank in 2011, a 19% increase from the previous year.
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The report, entitled "Torpedoing the Two-State Solution," Israel authorized 1,850 building starts for West Bank housing units and said construction continued on another 3,500 West Bank units over the course of 2011.
"The Netanyahu government is promoting several plans precisely in disputed areas which could prevent the possibility of establishing a Palestinian state alongside Israel," the report charges.
The highest number of construction starts were recorded in two haredi cities in the West Bank – Modi'in Illit (146) and Beitar Illit (106), according to the NGO.
The report also said Israeli authorizations for the construction of Jewish homes in east Jerusalem reached their highest number in a decade in 2011.
Peace Now, which opposes settlement construction, said Israel gave final approval for the construction of 3,690 homes in east Jerusalem in 2011.
The figures dwarf final authorizations for east Jerusalem Jewish homes over the previous decade. The closest number was in 2002, when the Jewish state approved 2,653 new homes.
'Netanyahu breaking construction records.' (Photo: AP)
According to the data, plans for 3,690 housing units in east Jerusalem were approved for validation and plans for another 2,660 housing units were deposited for objections. In addition, plans for another 2,660 east Jerusalem homes were released for public consultation in 2011, while construction began on 55 units located inside Palestinian neighborhoods, the report said.
"(Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu
has broken his own government's construction record and has significantly accelerated construction in the territories," "What was illegal yesterday has now become legal under the (Netanyahu) government," Peace Now Director Yariv Oppenheimer told reporters Tuesday.
"At this rate the two-state solution will be in jeopardy. What was once considered an illegal outpost yesterday has become a legal settlement under the Netanyahu government. For every (Jewish) home that was evacuated, dozens of other outpost structures were legalized," he said.
Yesha Council Chairman Danny Dayan said he was pleased that Peace Now was "using the funds it received from European states to document the most important Zionist enterprise of our generation – the resumption of Jewish settlement in the heart of the Land of Israel."
Israel captured east Jerusalem, along with the West Bank and Gaza, during the 1967 Six-Day War and considers all of Jerusalem its "eternal, undivided" capital.
The Palestinians want east Jerusalem as the capital of their promised state, and furiously denounce new settlement construction in the eastern sector of the city, as well as in the West Bank.
Israel declined to renew a partial settlement freeze that expired in 2010, and the Palestinians say they will not hold talks while the Jewish state continues to build on land they want for their future state.
AFP contributed to the report