West Bank construction starts rose about 17 percent for 2017, Peace Now reports
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West Bank construction starts rose about 17 percent for 2017, Peace Now reports

Construction beginning on a new Israeli settlement called Amichai, meant for the evacuees of Amona, in Shilo Valley, West Bank, June 20, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Construction starts in West Bank settlements rose by 17 percent during 2017, with most of the new housing in isolated spots, according to Peace Now.

In its annual settlement construction report released Sunday, Peace Now said that 2,783 new housing units began construction in the West Bank in 2017, approximately 17 percent higher than the yearly average rate since 2009. The report does not include housing construction in eastern Jerusalem.

Peace Now also found that 78 percent of the new construction, or 2,168 housing units, was in settlements east of the proposed Geneva Initiative border — settlements that are likely to be evicted in a two-state agreement.

At least 282 of the new housing units were constructed illegally, the majority in illegal outposts, according to the left-wing group’s report.

In addition, construction was started on at least 68 new public buildings such as schools and synagogues.

In addition to the new housing starts, 6,742 housing units were advanced trough promotions for plans in 59 settlements in 2017, compared to 2,657 units in 2016, according to the report. Two-thirds of those housing units, or 4,471, were east of the Geneva Initiative border.

Three new settlement outposts were established in 2017, as well as the new settlement of Amichai, being built south of Nablus, to house the families evicted from the Amona outpost.

The Israeli government had not responded to the report by Monday night.