The Jewish population in Judea and Samaria is rising steadily despite Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's stated freeze on building in the expanding Jewish communities in the stony green hills that carpet the region.
The latest figures released by the Interior Ministry show that the Jewish population growth in Judea and Samaria is triple the 1.7 percent increase in the pre-1967 Israeli population.
Efforts by the Olmert government to stifle Jewish growth in the region have proved fruitless. Repeated evictions of young activists from new communities and neighborhoods have not discouraged the pioneers from returning to the sites to rebuild demolished structures as often as necessary.
Harassment and even incarceration of minor teenage activists who help established the new communities has only served to strengthen the resolve of the nationalists who are committed to deepen the Jewish connection to the Biblical region.
Prime Minister Olmert’s promise to the United States and the Palestinian Authority to eliminate "illegal" outposts has also done little to stem the tide of Israelis moving to the region and of a rising birthrate among its residents.
The American-backed edict forbidding new construction, including any addition to existing homes, in Judea and Samaria towns has been equally ineffective.
The Jewish population in Judea and Samaria grew by 5.2 percent, rising by 14,000 residents from 268,000 at the end of 2006 to 282,000 at the end of 2007.
The figures do not include citizens who reside in communities that the government has deemed illegal. Nor do the statistics include approximately 250,000 Jewish residents of the Jerusalem suburbs built after the 1967 Six-Day War.
All together, over half a million Jews live in the areas of Judea and Samaria liberated in the 1967 Six Day War.
Birthrates rose significantly in the communities of Beitar Illit, Modi’in Illit and Emmanuel, with major increases also noted in Maale Adumim, Givat Ze’ev and Ariel.