Jeruaslem — Nine in 10 Israeli settlements sprawl beyond their official boundaries in an attempt to grab more land in the West Bank, which the Palestinians claim for a future state, a group that tracks Israeli construction in the territory said Friday.
Israel's settlements encroach on unallocated land even though most of the area in their own jurisdictions remains empty, according to the report from the dovish Peace Now.
According to the report, 91 percent of the land allocated to settlements by the government is still empty, indicating that the use of land outside settlement boundaries does not "derive from a land shortage in the settlements" but from "a desire to expropriate more land." Israeli authorities do little to enforce building laws in the settlements, the report said.
The report also said 10 percent of the land officially allocated to the settlements is privately owned Palestinian land that Israel seized.
There are 122 official Israeli settlements in the West Bank, along with around 100 unauthorized settlement outposts.