Construction starts in Jewish settlements on occupied Palestinian land have risen by a "drastic" 70 per cent year-on-year in the first half of 2013, an Israeli non-government organisation says.

According to figures released by the anti-settlement group Peace Now, between January and June construction starts were made on 1708 new homes in the West Bank, including annexed east Jerusalem, compared with 995 in the first half of 2012. Billing the figures as a “drastic rise”, Peace Now said on…