Number of Jewish settlers in the West Bank increased by 37% since "Road Map"
|Friday, July 10,2009 14:40|
An Israeli human rights group said that the number of Jewish settlers in the West Bank, excluding east Jerusalem, has reached 289,600 increasing by 37% since the Israeli government agreed to the "Road Map" which calls for a freeze on all forms of settlement activity.
The report published on Thursday by B"Tselem said that the increase in settler population in the West Bank (excluding east Jerusalem) over the past six years has reached 37%, and that while the population growth in Israel last year has reached 1.8% the growth in the settlement population has reached 5.6% over the same period.
The report pointed out that the Israeli government uses the excuse of natural growth and other weak excuses, such as unification of settlers" families to justify the expansion of settlements.
The report also said that the Israeli government makes all sorts of excuses to evade a freeze on settlement activity despite having constitutional powers to freeze settlement activity giving the excuse that the Israeli law prohibits imposing a freeze on settlement activity.
The report also pointed out that while Jewish settlements occupy 1.7% of the area of the West Bank, they are structured to occupy 6.8% of the West Bank which indicates that there are plans to expand the settlements.
B"Tselem expected the rate of settlement to increase especially with Eili Yisahi, the Israeli interior minister, promising to do all that is possible to accelerate settlement during his term in office.