Over the course of 2015, construction began for 1,800 new housing units in West Bank settlements, according to a report issued Sunday by the settlement watchdog Peace Now.
Almost 80 percent of new construction took place in areas outside the main settlement blocs — those which Israel will seek to retain under the terms of a long-term peace agreement with the Palestinians. More than 40% (746 housing units) are located east of the security barrier.
According to the annual report, 32 housing units were built on private Palestinian land, almost all of them in illegal outposts.
Despite an unofficial “tender freeze,” tenders for 1,143 new housing units were published by the government in 2015 — 560 of them in the West Bank and 583 in East Jerusalem, the report said.
The numbers show a decline of more than 40% compared to 2014, which saw work begin on the construction of 3,100 housing units, Israel Radio reported.
Shilo Adler, who heads the Yesha Council umbrella settlement group, told the radio station that the numbers presented in the Peace Now report show that the government was “freezing construction in Judea and Samaria” — an alternate name for the West Bank — and “discriminating” against the Jewish population there.