TEL AVIV (Apr. 6)
The rate of housing starts in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in 1991 was double that in the country as a whole, according to figures released Sunday by the Central Bureau of Statistics.
The bureau said housing starts quadrupled last year, in contrast to a doubling countrywide.
Construction began on 8,110 units in the territories, nearly 10 percent of the 83,350 building starts recorded in the entire country.
That compared to 1,810 starts in the territories in 1990, which was about 4 percent of the 42,410 units started nationally that year, the bureau reported.
A total of 2,270 housing units were completed in the West Bank and Gaza Strip last year, compared to 1,340 units in 1990.
But that was only part of the story. In addition to apartments built, 3,735 campers and small mobile homes were introduced into the territories last year, accounting for 21 percent of the homes of that kind all over the country.
Observers noted that 73 percent of last year’s housing starts were government-sponsored and were targeted to those regions favored by Housing Minister Ariel Sharon, an outspoken advocate of Jewish settlement in the administered territories.
But Sharon’s choices were not necessarily in regions offering the most jobs, the observers pointed out. Consequently, many of the government-built units remain empty.