Middle East Monitor / March 10, 2021
The Israeli Jewish settler population in the occupied West Bank has risen 42 per cent since 2010, a new report issued by Israeli human rights groups B’Tselem and Kerem Navot revealed yesterday.
There are now 440,000 settlers in the illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank, excluding those in the occupied East Jerusalem.
“Various state authorities encourage Jews to move to settlements and develop financial ventures in and around them,” the report said.
“The state offers a slew of benefits and incentives to settlers and settlements, through both official and unofficial channels… Housing benefits are the most significant, allowing families that lack capital or substantial sources of income to buy homes in settlements,” the report added.
At the same time, the report noted that the settler population increase was rapid, especially in Modi’in Illit and Beitar Illit, two large ultra-Orthodox settlements in the West Bank.
By the end of 2020, the number of settlers in the two settlements reached 140,053, which is nearly a third of the settler population in the occupied West Bank.
This is an increase of 435 per cent compared to 2000 when the settler population of the two settlements at that time was just 32,200.
“Further benefits and incentives are offered to industrial zones in the West Bank, including discounted land fees and employment subsidies,” the report said.
“Israel also encourages Jews to set up new outposts, which operate as agricultural farms and enable extensive takeover of Palestinian farmland and pastureland,” the report stated, noting that “forty such farms have been established in the past decade, effectively taking over tens of thousands of dunams.”
The report stressed that:
the Israeli regime, which strives to promote and perpetuate Jewish supremacy in the entire area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, is an apartheid regime.
“Two decades into the 21st century, Israel appears more determined than ever to continue upholding and perpetuating an apartheid regime throughout the area under its control, well into the coming decades,” B’Tselem said.
The West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is regarded as occupied territories under international law, making all Jewish only settlements there illegal.