Jerusalem (Sep. 10)
Some 24,000 Jews now live in Judaea and Samaria, the World Zionist Organization settlement department’s chief, Mattityahu Drobless, reported to the Zionist General Council this week. Some 7,000 of them had moved in over the past six months, a period of stepped-up building and settlement activity, he added.
The half-year period now ending had seen the construction of 1,870 homes, he said. Over the past 12 months the number of settlements put up in the area was 23, Drobless said — giving a total of 82 Jewish settlements in Judaea and Samaria (20 of them in the Jordan valley rift.)
Regarding employment in these settlements, Drobless distinguished between the more veteran and well-established settlements in which up to 80 percent of the people living in them worked in them, too, and the more recently established settlements where most people still worked outside and only some 20-40 percent in the settlements.
Giving figures for the immediate future, Drobless said some 2,000 to 4,000 new homes could be put up in a relatively short time, in new and existing West Bank settlements, providing the funding was available.
Turning to the Galilee, Drobless said 58 new settlements had been completed or were being built since 1977. About half of them are “mitzpim” — that is, small dormitory settlements built on high land. Sixty thousand dunams of State lands had been readied for agriculture in the Galilee during this period. Drobless said these efforts had led to a considerable drop in the attempts of local Arab villages to illegally occupy State lands in the Galilee.