Israel Doubled Settlement Building in West Bank in 2013

( Israel built twice as many settler housing units in the occupied West Bank last year than in 2012, official data has shown.

The number of new construction projects in the settlements jumped to 2,534 in 2013 from 1,133 the year before – an increase of 123.7 percent.

Israeli authorities did not say where specifically the houses were being built, according to Reuters.

The settler population in the West Bank increased by 4.2 percent in 2013, the data showed, reaching 375,000 in January 2014 compared to 360,000 in January 2013, AFP reported.

Israel says it plans on continuing to keep large settlement blocs in any future peace deal on grounds of security concerns and historic and biblical links to the territory. Palestinians argue that the policy shows their aspirations to an independent state in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem are not being taken seriously.

President Barack Obama criticized Israel’s settlement building last week…

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