Israelis not only aren't leaving West Bank
settlements, but more are moving in.
LARRY DERFNER ISRAEL CORRESPONDENT
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AD1 94 :11::
his past summer was sup- electrical engineers who emi-
posed to be the season grated from Moscow in 1990 to
when Jewish settlers of the the Negev town of Kiryat
West Bank and Gaza were Malachi, were standing in the
finally going to start to leave. At model house, debating whether
the end of 1993, hundreds of set- to buy. "It's a house with a gar-
tlers began talking with Labor den for $70,000," reasoned the
Party Knesset members about husband, who declined to give his
getting government compensa- name. "The problem is that it's in
tion and p-ulling out. The Oslo ac- the territories. Terror doesn't
worry me that
cord was an
much, but you
terror was ris-
what the gov-
ing, the writing
was on the wall.
to do with this
sation was nev-
they're going to
er offered and
give it back or
the exodus nev-
Ariel is fairly
"I don't see
deep in the
about 15 miles
any of the set-
away from the
cities of Rosh
blum, head of
In the end,
Peace Now's Ron Nachman:
the couple de-
"Settlements Population growth no ted.
cided not to buy.
In fact, the Jewish population in They had to come up with the full
the territories is growing, chiefly price within a month and couldn't
in the towns near Jerusalem, but sell their Kiryat Malachi apart-
ment that fast. "But if the finan-
elsewhere as well.
Although the Rabin govern- cial terms had been right, we
ment, upon entering office in would have bought it," the hus-
June 1992, froze construction or band said.
Ron Nachman, mayor of Ariel
prevented the sale of thousands
of housing units in the territories, and a Likud Knesset member,
it allowed completion and sale of says the city's population grew
thousands of others — mainly from just over 11,000 in August
those that were nearly finished 1993 to nearly 12,500 a year lat-
and those in settlements near er. He said that about 2,000 new
residents had arrived, while some
Some 1,000 housing units are 600 had left.
Population figures given by
being built in Betar, about two
miles southeast of the capital, settler leaders are more than 10
where some 6,000 Orthodox res- percent higher than the official
idents live. The government re- ones published by Israel's Cen-
cently approved completion of tral Bureau of Statistics. The
construction on 800 units in Alfei CBS has no numbers for 1994,
Menashe, just over the Green but its annual report released two
Line, the pre-1967 border, an months ago showed that the Jew-
easy commute to central Israeli ish population in the territories
cities such as Kfar Saba, grew 10 percent last year, to
116,000. (It had gone up by 12
Ra'anana and Herzliya.
In Ariel, home of Rabbi Shlo- percent in 1992, and 15 percent
mo Riskin and many other Or- in 1991.)
The YESHA (Judea, Samaria
thodox American Jews, 142
two-story houses went on sale in and Gaza) Council, the settlers'
mid-November. The price is main political organization, says
$70,000. A comparable house in the current overall growth rate
the suburbs would cost at least for the 144 settlements is near
three times as much. In the first that of last year. Growth is tak-
month of sales, 109 were grabbed ing place both in the West Bank's
up. Most of the takers were peo- Orthodox settlements near the
ple who are renting in Ariel or Green Line and in many smaller
who live in smaller settlements, settlements farther from Israel
but some live in "Israel proper," proper. Eli, a mixed religious and
said contractor Yoram Shechter.
A couple in their early 30s, SURPRISE page 10