Peace Now: Israel advanced some 14,000 West Bank apartments during talks


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel promoted plans and tenders for nearly 14,000 housing units in the West Bank during the nine months of peace talks, the activist group Peace Now said.

An average of 50 apartments was built daily in the West Bank throughout the U.S.-backed negotiations launched last summer, the nongovernmental organization said in a report issued Tuesday.

Of the tenders issued for building new apartments, 2,248 were in the West Bank and 2,620 in eastern Jerusalem, according to Peace Now. In addition, tenders for another 1,235 were reissued for units that were not sold in previous tenders.

Other plans included 4,793 units in isolated settlements and 1,768 in settlements closer to the Green Line that separates the West Bank from pre-1967 Israel.

The average yearly number of tenders for the current Netanyahu government is four times higher than in previous governments, including the first Netanyahu government in the mid- to late 1990s, according to Peace Now.

Responding to the report, Knesset Finance Committee Chairman Nissan Slomiansky of the Bayit Yehudi party said in The Jerusalem Post, “Peace Now’s distortions come from frustration and an understanding that their movement is on the other side of the separation fence of Israeli society.”

The report was issued on what was to be the official end of the scheduled nine months of Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations under the auspices of the United States.

The Palestinians have insisted on a settlement construction freeze, among other demands, in order to extend the negotiations.

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