Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank surged ahead in 2019, a watchdog group said in a report Tuesday, maintaining a rapid pace that has drawn strength from the friendly policies of the Trump administration.
Peace Now, a monitoring group that opposes the settlements, said that Israel’s average annual construction rate has risen 25% since President Donald Trump took office in 2017.
Perhaps more significantly, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government last year approved plans to build thousands of new homes, laying the groundwork for a sharp spike in construction in the coming years. That included an explosion in plans for new settlement projects approved early this year.
This is accurate and quite misleading. Peace Now is cherry picking the statistics to make them sound like there is a dramatic increase.
In this report, they are saying that the average number of completed structures has gone up in the past 3 years than in the 8 year previous, comparing the entire Obama term to the entire Trump term.
But the highest year was under Obama – in 2014. And in the three years of the Trump administration, the numbers have gone down by 31% from 2017 to 2019!
Yearly average of construction since Trump’s administration (2,267 units) is 25% higher than the yearly average under Obama’s administration (1,807 units). In the last 3 years there were 6,800 new units (yearly average of 2,267 units) according to Peace Now’s count. 2,783 units in 2017; 2,100 units in 2018; and 1,917 units in 2019; compared to an average of 1,807 units per year in the years 2009 – 2016: 1,174 units in 2009; 1,545 units in 2010; 1,792 units in 2011; 1,554 units in 2012; 1,684 in 2013; 3,100 in 2014; 1,800 in 2015; and 1,814 in 2016.
Here is what the last ten years looks like – hardly a pattern.
Peace Now has another chart of the same information over a longer time period – but the numbers are different, I’m not sure why.
Every year Peace Now tries another way to make it sound like there is more construction than the year before, and half the time they have to play statistics games to make it appear that way. As you can see, there is very little upward slope.
Their deceptions don’t stop there:
Nearly 63% (1,200 housing units) of the new construction was in settlements east of the proposed Geneva Initiative border, i.e. settlements likely to be evacuated in a two-state agreement.
Who says that the failed 2003 Geneva Initiative reflects anything close to what a two state solution could look like? Most people would say that the security barrier was the more natural border, if Palestinians ever decide they want peace. My guess is that most of the new construction is within the security barrier – but Peace Now does not want that to be the border, so they are trying to prop up Geneva.
Here is my attempt to show an overlay of Geneva (blue areas east of the 1967 lines) and the security barrier (thin and thick red lines:)
Peace Now is careful not to lie, but they are equally careful to deceive.
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