Jonathan Cook: the Blog from Nazareth -

How Israel made the settlements grow

Israel’s social justice movement (now led by millionaire TV presenter Yair Lapid, it seems!) was doomed to irrelevance the moment it chose to prefer inclusion of the settlers’ interests over those of the country’s Palestinian citizens.

Now we have the evidence. According to a study by the Israeli Institute for Economic Planning, between 1996 and 2008 Israel built as many homes in the settlements as it did in the Tel Aviv area. The predictable result was that house prices in Tel Aviv and its surroundings skyrocketed – the ostensible rationale for the social justice movement – while prices fell in the settlements. Poorer families had little choice but to move into the occupied territories.

Of course, this was engineered by successive governments, through a state land management body called the Israel Lands Administration (ILA), which oversees 93% of Israeli territory, which has been nationalised for Jews. Senior posts in the ILA are filled with settlers.

Here is what the study says:

the ILA sold just 60% of the amount of land stipulated by the government between 1990 and 2010 and 55% of the amount needed to keep up with the growth of new households.

The end result was a shortage of 103,000 housing units, including 27,000 in Jerusalem and over 41,000 in Tel Aviv − precisely where prices began climbing several years ago before escalating prices gradually swept the rest of the country. …

The five largest cities across the Green Line containing the majority of the region’s Jewish residents − Modi’in Ilit, Betar Ilit, Ariel, Ma’aleh Adumim and Givat Ze’ev − enjoyed an increase of 17,800 housing units and 18,500 households between 1996 and 2008. This compared to about 20,000 new units built over the same period in Tel Aviv.

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