West Bank Jewish population exploding

Monday, January 21, 2008 |  by Staff Writer

Israel's Interior Ministry released figures on Sunday showing a major increase in the number of Israelis living in Judea and Samaria.

Over the past year alone, more than 10,000 additional Israelis have been born in or moved to the biblical territories that are the focus of the Middle East land-for-peace process and efforts to birth another Arab Muslim state.

More than 280,000 Israelis call Judea and Samaria home, with more than 80 percent of them living in several large settlement blocs.

Despite the bursting population numbers, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert this month responded to international pressure that Israel surrender Judea and Samaria by ordering a complete freeze on the construction of new Jewish housing.

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