Settlements Have Cost Israel $17 Billion, Study Finds

Israeli settlements in the West Bank encompass 12 million square meters of roads, homes and factories.

Chaim Levinson
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Chaim Levinson

Israeli settlements in the West Bank encompass 12 million square meters of roads, homes and factories that cost more than $17 billion to build, according to a study by the Macro Center for Political Economics.

Using satellite imagery and other technology, the research institute mapped every home and structure put up in the settlements.

Its work was the result of a years-long effort to gauge the total value of the Jewish settlement enterprise in the West Bank.

The findings will be unveiled Tuesday at a conference.

According to the study, Israeli settlements are home to 868 publicly owned facilities occupying 488,769 square meters.

These include 127 synagogues that cover 94,848 square meters, 96 ritual baths over a territory of 10,755 square meters, 321 sports facilities over 382,867 square meters, 344 kindergartens over 91,353 square meters, 211 schools over 296,933 square meters, 68 yeshivas over 100,943 square meters and 21 libraries over 8,962 square meters.

As for residential units, the total number of apartments stands at 32,711 spread over a space of around 3.27 million square meters, as well as 22,997 private homes over 5.74 million square meters.

There are 187 shopping centers in the settlements occupying 162,399 square meters, 717 industrial structures on 904,817 square meters of land, 15 banquet halls on 23,186 square meters and paved roads that cover more than 1.02 million square meters.

Macro's team of researchers, however, noted that their calculations did not represent the actual market value.

"The logic behind the economic calculation is to assess the cost of construction and infrastructure in the settlement enterprise," said Macro director general Dr. Robi Nathanson. "This isn't market value, but rather the cost of building infrastructure."

Macro's economists estimated that private homes in the settlements are worth a total of $9 billion, apartments are worth $4.5 billion, roads are worth $1.7 billion, and public institutions, synagogues and bathhouses combined are worth $0.5 billion.