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West Bank settlements report rapid growth in 2019

The population of Jewish settlements in the West Bank surged by more than 3 percent in 2019, well above the growth rate of Israel’s overall population, a settler group says. It predicts even higher growth this year thanks to a nascent building boom made possible by friendly policies of the Trump administration.

The data, released ahead of US President Donald Trump’s long-awaited peace plan, indicate that evacuating settlements is no longer a viable option for international peacemakers, says Baruch Gordon, director of West Bank Jewish Population Stats.

“We’re here and we’re not going anywhere,” he says.

A picture taken on November 19, 2019 shows a new housing construction site in the Israeli settlement of Elazar, near the Palestinian city of Bethlehem south of Jerusalem, in the West Bank. (MENAHEM KAHANA / AFP)

His group, using official Interior Ministry data, says the population of West Bank settlements rose to 463,353 people as of Jan. 1, up 3.1% from 449,508 a year earlier. In comparison, Israel’s overall population rose 1.9% in 2019.

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