UPDATE: HAMAS ANNOUNCES POSSIBLE PLANS TO KIDNAP MORE ISRAELI SOLDIERS. ARAB TEENAGERS IN TUBA ZANGARIA BURN THEIR OWN CITY COUNCIL BUILDING AND HEALTH CLINIC TO PROTEST MOSQUE VANDALISM.
How many times have you heard the absurd canard that Israel prohibits the Palestinians from legally building homes in Judea and Samaria (the so-called ‘West Bank’)–and then destroys them when they are illegally built?
It might be of interest to Israel bashers around the world to discover that the Palestinians are expected to finish building 33,822 housing units in Judea and Samaria this year compared to only 33,128 units finished by Israelis in Israel proper. Yes, you read that correctly: the number of Palestinian housing units built this year will exceed the number built in Israel by Israelis–despite the fact that the Israeli population is triple that of the Palestinian population!
As the world obsessively focuses on a few thousand apartments constructed to alleviate the housing shortage in the Gilo neighborhood in Jerusalem and elsewhere in Jewish communities, the Palestinians, whom the world perceives as poor, with no land and no building permits, are in the midst of a massive and expensive housing boom–which is largely the result of an economic upsurge that saw the Palestinian economy grow by 8% in 2010.
Another interesting statistic is that for the first time more Palestinians now live in apartments (50%) than in houses (48%), mainly because of the increased urbanization in and around Ramallah brought about by so many foreign NGOs setting up shop there: more than 25000 Palestinians commute to Ramallah every day.
This trend will accelerate in the coming years as the new Palestinian city Rawabi which is currently being constructed north of Ramallah will be completed with more than 40,000 new apartments.
So, dear readers, the next time you hear from some Israel basher that the Palestinians are in the depths of despair, impoverished, and devoid of housing, remember that, in fact, the Palestinians are now building more housing units per year than Israelis and are in the midst of an economic boom.