Newly-released statistics show a sharp rise in the building and expansion of illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, Quds Press reported on Sunday.
According to a report issued to mark Palestine Land Day today, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistic (PCBS) said that the number of Jewish settlements and outposts now stands at 448. This includes 150 settlements approved by the Israeli government, 26 outposts which are regarded as extensions of approved settlements and 128 outposts which have been built without the approval of the government.
In the report, the PCBS pointed out that the number of the Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank was 671,007 by the end of 2018. Furthermore, last year, the Israeli occupation authorities approved 8,457 new settlement units and 13 new outposts. In the same period, the Israeli authorities demolished 678 Palestinian facilities, including 251 residential buildings, and issued 556 orders for Palestinians to stop work on building new homes or renovating older premises.
Israel’s illegal settlements are one of the most problematic obstacles facing the moribund peace process. All of them are built on land supposed to be earmarked as part of a future independent State of Palestine.