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 Private settlement in Historic Basin has skyrocketed during Netanyahu administration

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Just released data reveals the extent of private Jewish settlement in the Historic Basin and throughout East Jerusalem over the course of Netanyahu’s tenure from 2009 to today:

In the Historic Basin:

  • 70% rise in the number of settlers
  • 60% increase in the number of new settlement sites
  • Twofold increase in the number of settler housing units
  • 60 Palestinian families evicted from their homes, 55 of them in last two years

Throughout East Jerusalem:

  • Security budget for settlers grew by 119%
  • Number of new settlement building sites increased by 39%

Since the election of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 2009, the number of new settlement sites in the Historic Basin has increased by 60%, the number of settler housing units has grown twofold, the number of settlers has grown by 70% and 60 Palestinian families have been evicted from their homes. The Ministry of Housing and Construction’s security budget for East Jerusalem settlers has grown 119% during this time period.  

This data is being released in conjunction with publication of a joint Ir Amim - Peace Now report – Broken Trust: State Involvement in Private Settlement in Batan Al-Hawa, Silwandetailing the largest displacement of a Palestinian population in East Jerusalem.  The data reveals, for the first time, a general picture of the map of Jewish settlement in East Jerusalem and the extent of Palestinian evictions since Netanyahu took office.

Number of Settlement Sites in East Jerusalem before and after Netanyahu’s Second Recent Term

According to data collected by the two Israeli NGOs, the last seven years – during Netanyahu’s two recent terms in office – have witnessed a 39% rise in the number of new private settlement sites throughout East Jerusalem.  Until 2009, there were 102 sites, home to approximately 2,000 settlers. Since Netanyahu’s election in 2009, an additional 40 sites housing 778 settlers have been established, significantly expanding the Jewish settlement enterprise in East Jerusalem.  Thirty-one of the new sites were established in the Historic Basin, 4 in the Old City and 5 in other Palestinian neighborhoods of East Jerusalem. 

The data makes clear that the Historic Basin has been the active locus of the Jewish settlement enterprise over the course of Netanyahu’s second tenure.  Since 2009, there has been an almost twofold increase in the number of settler housing units in the Historic Basin and a 70% increase in the number of settlers living there. During this period, 60 Palestinian families were evicted from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan (in Wadi Hilweh and Batan Al-Hawa) and an additional 8 families were evicted from their homes in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City.

Fifty-five out of 68 evictions were carried out in the last two years, of which 53 took place in the Historic Basin in Silwan (Wadi Hilweh and Batan Al-Hawa). Today, approximately 300 families are under threat of eviction or imminent house demolition in the Historic Basin. The 51 families threatened with eviction in Batan Al-Hawa constitute the greatest concentration of families facing eviction.

Evictions and Settlements in the Historic Basin

The data demonstrates that while the number of settlers in East Jerusalem grew by 39% since 2009, the budget allocated by the Ministry of Housing and Construction to finance private security for the settlers grew from NIS 37,640,000 to NIS 82,339,000, a 119% budget increase. In other words, the security budget per settler grew by a factor of 1.54.

Ir Amim and Peace Now’s new report, Broken Trust: State Involvement in Private Settlement in Batan Al-Hawa, Silwan, surveys state involvement in private settlement activity and the displacement of families from the neighborhood of Batan Al-Hawa, adjacent to the Temple Mount /Haram Al-Sharif.  The report reveals the range of practices employed by settler organizations, aided by  the General Custodian and Registrar of Trusts (both under the Ministry of Justice), to turn Batan Al-Hawa into the largest settlement compound in the heart of a Palestinian neighborhood in the Historic Basin and to displace approximately 100 Palestinian families currently living there. The report describes the dramatic jump in the scale of evictions in Batan Al-Hawa over the last two years, during which there has been a parallel increase in the level of violence. It is the most egregious example of the wide uptick in state backed private settlement in East Jerusalem, particularly concentrated in the hotly contested Historic Basin.

Please address all inquiries to:

Betty Herschman

Director of International Relations & Advocacy

Ir Amim (City of Nations/City of Peoples)




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Twitter: @IrAmimAlerts

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