Construction in Judea and Samaria rises 40% in 2016

Housing starts reach 'second highest number in 15 years.'

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AFP and Arutz Sheva Staff,

Construction in Gush Etzion
Construction in Gush Etzion
Flash90

Construction on new homes for Jewish residents in Judea and Samaria rose by 40 percent in 2016 compared with the previous year, official figures showed Wednesday.

Ground was broken on 2,630 housing units last year compared with 1,884 in 2015, figures from Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics showed.

Radical-leftist NGO Peace Now called it "the second highest number of construction starts in the past 15 years".

The highest number during that time was 2,874 in 2013.

"On average, since 2001, 1,790 housing units begin to be constructed in West Bank settlements each year," Peace Now said.

The figures exclude eastern Jerusalem, liberated by Israel in the Six Day War 50 years ago.

Some 200,000 Jews live in eastern Jerusalem, in addition to about
400,000 in Judea and Samaria.

Around three million Arabs live in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem.

Netanyahu has been in discussions with US President Donald Trump's administration on how to move forward with construction in Jewish communities..

When meeting Netanyahu at the White House in February, Trump called for Israel to "hold back on settlements for a little bit".

At that meeting, Trump also broke with decades of US policy by saying he was not bound to a two-state solution to the conflict and would be open to one state if it meant peace.

But one of his top advisers, Jason Greenblatt, visited Israel and the PA last week, holding a range of meetings on both sides, including with PA chairman Mahmud Abbas and Netanyahu.