Israeli settlement

Israeli settlement

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An Israeli settlement is a Jewish civilian community built on land that was captured by Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 from Jordan
Jordan
Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

, Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

, and Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

 during the 1967 Six-Day War
Six-Day War
The Six-Day War , also known as the June War, 1967 Arab-Israeli War, or Third Arab-Israeli War, was fought between June 5 and 10, 1967, by Israel and the neighboring states of Egypt , Jordan, and Syria...

 and is considered occupied territory
Israeli-occupied territories
The Israeli-occupied territories are the territories which have been designated as occupied territory by the United Nations and other international organizations, governments and others to refer to the territory seized by Israel during the Six-Day War of 1967 from Egypt, Jordan, and Syria...

 by the international community. Such settlements currently exist in the West Bank
West Bank
The West Bank ) of the Jordan River is the landlocked geographical eastern part of the Palestinian territories located in Western Asia. To the west, north, and south, the West Bank shares borders with the state of Israel. To the east, across the Jordan River, lies the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan...

. Israeli neighborhoods in East Jerusalem
East Jerusalem
East Jerusalem or Eastern Jerusalem refer to the parts of Jerusalem captured and annexed by Jordan in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and then captured and annexed by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War...

 and communities in the Golan Heights, areas which have been annexed
Annexation
Annexation is the de jure incorporation of some territory into another geo-political entity . Usually, it is implied that the territory and population being annexed is the smaller, more peripheral, and weaker of the two merging entities, barring physical size...

 by Israel, are considered settlements by the international community, which does not recognize Israel's annexations of these territories. Settlements also existed in the Sinai and Gaza Strip
Gaza Strip
thumb|Gaza city skylineThe Gaza Strip lies on the Eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The Strip borders Egypt on the southwest and Israel on the south, east and north. It is about long, and between 6 and 12 kilometres wide, with a total area of...

 until Israel evacuated the Sinai settlements following the 1979 Israel-Egypt peace agreement and unilaterally disengaged from the Gaza Strip in 2005.

The International Court of Justice
International Court of Justice
The International Court of Justice is the primary judicial organ of the United Nations. It is based in the Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands...

 and the international community say these settlements are illegal, and no foreign government supports Israel's settlements. Israel disputes the position of the international community. The United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 has repeatedly upheld the view that Israel's construction of settlements constitutes violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention
Fourth Geneva Convention
The Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, commonly referred to as the Fourth Geneva Convention and abbreviated as GCIV, is one of the four treaties of the Geneva Conventions. It was adopted in August 1949, and defines humanitarian protections for civilians...

. Israel dismantled 18 settlements in the Sinai Peninsula
Sinai Peninsula
The Sinai Peninsula or Sinai is a triangular peninsula in Egypt about in area. It is situated between the Mediterranean Sea to the north, and the Red Sea to the south, and is the only part of Egyptian territory located in Asia as opposed to Africa, effectively serving as a land bridge between two...

 in 1982, and all 21 in the Gaza Strip
Gaza Strip
thumb|Gaza city skylineThe Gaza Strip lies on the Eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The Strip borders Egypt on the southwest and Israel on the south, east and north. It is about long, and between 6 and 12 kilometres wide, with a total area of...

 and 4 in the West bank
West Bank
The West Bank ) of the Jordan River is the landlocked geographical eastern part of the Palestinian territories located in Western Asia. To the west, north, and south, the West Bank shares borders with the state of Israel. To the east, across the Jordan River, lies the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan...

 in 2005.

As of December 2010, 327,750 Israelis live in the 121 officially-recognised settlements in the West Bank, 192,000 Israelis live in settlements in East Jerusalem and over 20,000 live in settlements in the Golan Heights Settlements range in character from farming communities and frontier villages to urban suburbs and neighborhoods. The three largest settlements, Modi'in Illit
Modi'in Illit
Modi'in Illit is a Haredi Israeli settlement and a city in the West Bank, situated midway between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Modi'in Illit was granted city status by the Israeli government in 2008. It is located six kilometres northeast of Modi'in-Maccabim-Re'ut and is often referred to as Kiryat...

, Maale Adumim and Betar Illit
Betar Illit
Beitar Illit is an Israeli settlement and city west of Gush Etzion, south of Jerusalem, in the Judean Mountains of the West Bank. At the end of 2007, it had a total population of 38,800 consisting of over 6000 families. By 2020, the population is expected to reach 100,000...

, have achieved city status, with over 30,000 residents each.

Israeli policies toward these settlements have ranged from active promotion to removal by force. Since the signing of the Oslo Accords
Oslo Accords
The Oslo Accords, officially called the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements or Declaration of Principles , was an attempt to resolve the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli conflict...

 in 1993, no new settlements have been established in the occupied territories. However, the ongoing expansion of existing settlements by Israel and the construction of settlement outposts is frequently criticized as an obstacle to the peace process by the United Nations and third parties including the United Kingdom, the European Union, and the United States.

Geography and municipal status


Some settlements are self-contained cities with a stable population in the tens of thousands, infrastructure, and all other features of permanence. Examples are Beitar Illit (a city of close to 45,000 residents), Ma'ale Adumim, Modi'in Illit
Modi'in Illit
Modi'in Illit is a Haredi Israeli settlement and a city in the West Bank, situated midway between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Modi'in Illit was granted city status by the Israeli government in 2008. It is located six kilometres northeast of Modi'in-Maccabim-Re'ut and is often referred to as Kiryat...

, and Ariel
Ariel (city)
Ariel is an Israeli settlement and a city in the West Bank. Ariel was established in 1978. Its population at the end of 2009 was 17,600, including 7,000 immigrants who came to Israel after 1990. It is the fourth largest Jewish settlement city in the West Bank., after Modi'in Illit, Beitar Illit,...

 (almost 20,000 residents). Some are towns with a local council
Local council (Israel)
Local councils are one of the three types of local government found in Israel, with the other two being cities and regional councils. As of 2003, there were 144 local councils in Israel, these being settlements which pass a minimum threshold enough to justify their operations as independent...

 status with populations of 2,000–20,0000, such as Alfei Menashe
Alfei Menashe
Alfei Menashe is a Jewish Israeli settlement located in the seam zone on the western edge of the central West Bank. It was granted local council status in 1987. As of 2007, the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics counts 6,200 residents...

, Eli, Elkana
Elkana
Elkana or Elqana is an Israeli settlement and local council in the north-western Samarian hills in the West Bank. Elkana is situated just to the east of the Green Line and the city of Rosh HaAyin. The Trans-Samarian Highway previously cut through the town until 2000 when the road, which now skirts...

, Efrat
Efrat
Efrat , or officially Efrata , is an Israeli settlement established in 1983 and a local council in the Judean Mountains of the West Bank. The international community considers Israeli settlements in the West Bank illegal under international law, but the Israeli government disputes this...

 and Kiryat Arba
Kiryat Arba
Kiryat Arba or Qiryat Arba , lit. "Town of the Four," is an Israeli settlement in the Judean Mountains region of the West Bank on the edge of Hebron. Its settlers consist of a mix of Russian immigrants, American immigrants, and native-born Israelis numbering close to 10,000...

. There are also clusters of villages governed by a local elected committee and regional councils
Regional council (Israel)
Regional councils are one of the three types of local government entities found in Israel, with the other two being cities and local councils. As of 2003, there were 53 regional councils in Israel, usually responsible for governing a number of settlements spread across rural areas...

 that are responsible for municipal services. Examples are Kfar Adumim
Kfar Adumim
Kfar Adumim is a communal Israeli settlement in the West Bank. Located in the Judean Desert, it falls under the jurisdiction of Mateh Binyamin Regional Council. In 2007 it had a population of 2,500...

, Neve Daniel
Neve Daniel
Neve Daniel is an Israeli settlement and communal settlement located in western Gush Etzion in the southern West Bank. Located south of Jerusalem and just west of Bethlehem, it sits atop one of the highest points in the area - close to 1,000 meters above sea level, and has a view of much of the...

, Kfar Tapuach
Kfar Tapuach
Kfar Tapuach is an Israeli settlement in the West Bank, founded in 1978. It sits astride one of the major traffic junctions in the West Bank. The executive director of the village council is Yisrael Blunder. As of December 2007, it had 800 residents...

 and Ateret
Ateret
Ateret is a village and Israeli settlement in the Samarian hills of the West Bank located in the municipal jurisdiction of the Mateh Binyamin Regional Council 40 km north-west of Jerusalem on a hilltop at an elevation of 760 metres. To the west, the view is not obstructed from Hadera in the...

. Kibbutz
Kibbutz
A kibbutz is a collective community in Israel that was traditionally based on agriculture. Today, farming has been partly supplanted by other economic branches, including industrial plants and high-tech enterprises. Kibbutzim began as utopian communities, a combination of socialism and Zionism...

im and moshav
Moshav
Moshav is a type of Israeli town or settlement, in particular a type of cooperative agricultural community of individual farms pioneered by the Labour Zionists during the second aliyah...

im in the territories include Argaman
Argaman
Argaman is a moshav and Israeli settlement in the West Bank. Located in the Jordan Valley eight kilometres north of the Damia Bridge with an area of 4,500 dunams, it falls under the jurisdiction of Bik'at HaYarden Regional Council. In 2006 it had a population of 166...

, Gilgal
Gilgal, Bik'at HaYarden
Gilgal is a kibbutz and Israeli settlement in the West Bank. Located in the Jordan Valley around 16 kilometres north of Jericho with an area of 1,400 dunams, it falls under the jurisdiction of Bik'at HaYarden Regional Council...

, Niran
Niran
Niran is a kibbutz and Israeli settlement in the West Bank. Located in the Jordan Valley near Jericho, it falls under the jurisdiction of Bik'at HaYarden Regional Council. In 2006 it had a population of 80, 30 of whom were new arrivals....

 and Yitav
Yitav
Yitav is an Israeli settlement and moshav shitufi in the southern Jordan Valley of the West Bank. Located just north of Jericho and west of the Palestinian village of al-Auja, it falls under the jurisdiction of Bik'at HaYarden Regional Council...

. Jewish neighborhoods have been built on the outskirts of Arab neighborhoods, for example in Hebron
Hebron
Hebron , is located in the southern West Bank, south of Jerusalem. Nestled in the Judean Mountains, it lies 930 meters above sea level. It is the largest city in the West Bank and home to around 165,000 Palestinians, and over 500 Jewish settlers concentrated in and around the old quarter...

. In Jerusalem, there are urban neighborhoods where Jews and Arabs live together: the Muslim Quarter
Muslim Quarter
The Muslim Quarter is one of the four quarters of the ancient, walled Old City of Jerusalem. It covers 31 hectares of the northeastern sector of the Old City. The quarter is the largest and most populous and extends from the Lions' Gate in the east, along the northern wall of the Temple Mount in...

, Silwan
Silwan
Silwan or Wadi Hilweh is a predominantly Palestinian village adjacent to the Old City of Jerusalem. In recent years a small Jewish minority of 40 families has settled in the area. The village is located in East Jerusalem, an area occupied by Jordan from 1948 until the 1967 Six-day War and by Israel...

, Abu Tor
Abu Tor
Abu Tor is a mixed Jewish and Arab neighborhood in central Jerusalem, Israel, south of the Old City. Abu Tor is bounded by the Valley of Hinnom on the north, Hebron Road and the old Jerusalem Railway Station to the west, and the Sherover Promenade, Armon HaNetziv and Peace Forest to the south...

, Sheikh Jarrah
Sheikh Jarrah
Sheikh Jarrah is a predominantly Palestinian neighborhood in East Jerusalem on the road to Mount Scopus.-History:Sheikh Jarrah was established on the slopes of Mount Scopus, taking its name from the tomb of Sheikh Jarrah. The tomb, dated to 1201, is the burial place of Husam al-Din al-Jarrahi, an...

 and Shimon HaTzadik
Shimon HaTzadik
Shimon HaTzadik is a Jewish neighborhood in East Jerusalem, established around the Tomb of Simeon the Just, after whom it was named. The tomb and surrounding lands was purchased in 1876 by the committee of the Sephardic community and the Ashkenazi Assembly of Israel.In fact, starting shortly after...

.

Types of settlement

  • Urban suburb
    Suburb
    The word suburb mostly refers to a residential area, either existing as part of a city or as a separate residential community within commuting distance of a city . Some suburbs have a degree of administrative autonomy, and most have lower population density than inner city neighborhoods...

    s, such as Har Gilo
    Har Gilo
    Har Gilo is an Israeli settlement and communal village located about five kilometers south of Jerusalem, and two kilometers west of Bethlehem in the northern Judean hills of the West Bank....

    .
  • Block settlement
    Block Settlement
    A block settlement is particular type of land distribution which allows settlers with the same ethnicity to form small colonies.This settlement type was used throughout western Canada between the late 19th and early 20th centuries...

    s, such as Gush Etzion
    Gush Etzion
    Gush Etzion is a cluster of Israeli settlements located in the Judaean Mountains directly south of Jerusalem and Bethlehem in the West Bank, Palestinian territories. The core group includes four agricultural villages that were founded in 1940-1947 on property purchased in the 1920s and 1930s, and ...

     and settlements in the Nablus
    Nablus
    Nablus is a Palestinian city in the northern West Bank, approximately north of Jerusalem, with a population of 126,132. Located in a strategic position between Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim, it is the capital of the Nablus Governorate and a Palestinian commercial and cultural center.Founded by the...

     area.
  • Frontier
    Frontier
    A frontier is a political and geographical term referring to areas near or beyond a boundary. 'Frontier' was absorbed into English from French in the 15th century, with the meaning "borderland"--the region of a country that fronts on another country .The use of "frontier" to mean "a region at the...

     villages, such as those along the Jordan River.
  • Outposts, small settlements, sometimes unauthorized, often on hilltops. The Sasson Report
    Sasson Report
    The Sasson Report is an official Israeli government report published on 8 March 2005 that concluded that Israeli state bodies had been discreetly diverting millions of shekels to build West Bank settlements and outposts that were illegal under Israeli law...

    , commissioned by Ariel Sharon
    Ariel Sharon
    Ariel Sharon is an Israeli statesman and retired general, who served as Israel’s 11th Prime Minister. He has been in a permanent vegetative state since suffering a stroke on 4 January 2006....

    's administration, found that several government ministries had cooperated to establish illegal outposts, spending millions of dollars on infrastructure.

Resettlement of former Jewish communities


Some settlements were established on sites where Jewish communities had existed during the British Mandate of Palestine.
  • Jerusalem—Jewish presence since biblical times, various surrounding communities and neighborhoods, including Kfar Shiloah, also known as Silwan
    Silwan
    Silwan or Wadi Hilweh is a predominantly Palestinian village adjacent to the Old City of Jerusalem. In recent years a small Jewish minority of 40 families has settled in the area. The village is located in East Jerusalem, an area occupied by Jordan from 1948 until the 1967 Six-day War and by Israel...

    —settled by Yemenite Jews in 1884, Jewish residents evacuated in 1938, a few Jewish families move into reclaimed homes in 2004.

Other communities: Shimon HaTzadik
Shimon HaTzadik
Shimon HaTzadik is a Jewish neighborhood in East Jerusalem, established around the Tomb of Simeon the Just, after whom it was named. The tomb and surrounding lands was purchased in 1876 by the committee of the Sephardic community and the Ashkenazi Assembly of Israel.In fact, starting shortly after...

, Neve Yaakov
Neve Yaakov
Neve Yaakov also Neve Ya'aqov, , is a neighborhood located in northeastern Jerusalem, north of Pisgat Ze'ev and south of al-Ram. Established in 1924 during the period of the British Mandate, it was abandoned during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War...

 and Atarot
Atarot
Atarot was a moshav in Mandatory Palestine, north of Jerusalem along the highway to Ramallah. The village was captured and destroyed by the Jordanian Arab Legion during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War...

 which in post-1967 was rebuilt as an industrial zone.
  • Gush Etzion
    Gush Etzion
    Gush Etzion is a cluster of Israeli settlements located in the Judaean Mountains directly south of Jerusalem and Bethlehem in the West Bank, Palestinian territories. The core group includes four agricultural villages that were founded in 1940-1947 on property purchased in the 1920s and 1930s, and ...

    —four communities, established between 1927 and 1947, destroyed 1948, reestablished beginning 1967.
  • Hebron
    Hebron
    Hebron , is located in the southern West Bank, south of Jerusalem. Nestled in the Judean Mountains, it lies 930 meters above sea level. It is the largest city in the West Bank and home to around 165,000 Palestinians, and over 500 Jewish settlers concentrated in and around the old quarter...

    —Jewish presence since biblical times, forced out in the wake of the 1929 Hebron massacre
    1929 Hebron massacre
    The Hebron massacre refers to the killing of sixty-seven Jews on 23 and 24 August 1929 in Hebron, then part of the British Mandate of Palestine, by Arabs incited to violence by rumors that Jews were massacring Arabs in Jerusalem and seizing control of Muslim holy places...

    , some families returned in 1931 but were evacuated by the British, a few buildings resettled in 1967.
  • Kfar Darom
    Kfar Darom
    Kfar Darom was a kibbutz and an Israeli settlement within the Gush Katif bloc in the Gaza Strip.-Original kibbutz:Kfar Darom was founded on 250 dunams of land purchased in 1930 by Tuvia Miller for a fruit orchard on the site of an ancient Jewish settlement of the same name mentioned in the Talmud...

    —established in 1946, evacuated in 1948, resettled in 1970, evacuated in 2005 as part of the withdrawal
    Israel's unilateral disengagement plan
    Israel's unilateral disengagement plan , also known as the "Disengagement plan", "Gaza expulsion plan", and "Hitnatkut", was a proposal by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, adopted by the government on June 6, 2004 and enacted in August 2005, to evict all Israelis from the Gaza Strip and from...

     from the Gaza Strip
    Gaza Strip
    thumb|Gaza city skylineThe Gaza Strip lies on the Eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The Strip borders Egypt on the southwest and Israel on the south, east and north. It is about long, and between 6 and 12 kilometres wide, with a total area of...

    .
  • Kalia and Beit HaArava
    Beit HaArava
    Beit HaArava is an Israeli settlement and kibbutz in the West Bank. Located near the Dead Sea and Jericho at the eponymous Beit HaArava Junction, the intersection of Highway 1 and Highway 90, it falls under the jurisdiction of Megilot Regional Council...

    —the former was built in 1934 as a kibbutz
    Kibbutz
    A kibbutz is a collective community in Israel that was traditionally based on agriculture. Today, farming has been partly supplanted by other economic branches, including industrial plants and high-tech enterprises. Kibbutzim began as utopian communities, a combination of socialism and Zionism...

     for potash mining. The latter was built in 1943 as an agricultural community. Both were abandoned in 1948, and subsequently destroyed by Jordanian forces, and resettled after the Six Day War.
  • Gaza City had a Jewish community for many centuries that was evacuated following riots in 1929. After the Six Day War, Jewish communities were built elsewhere
    Gush Katif
    Gush Katif was a bloc of 17 Israeli settlements in the southern Gaza strip. Gush Katif was specifically mentioned by Yitzhak Rabin, the Israeli prime minister who fell victim to an assassin in 1995, as essential to Israel's security border. In August 2005, the Israeli army moved the 8,600...

     in the Gaza Strip, but not in Gaza City proper.

Demographics



As of July 2009, 304,569 Israelis were living in 121 officially-recognised settlements in the West Bank and 192,000 Israelis were living in East Jerusalem. As of 2009, there were 102 unauthorized outposts in the West Bank. Based on various sources, population dispersal can be estimated as follows:
Jewish population 1948 1966 1972 1983 1993 2004 2007 2009
West Bank (excluding Jerusalem) 480 (see Gush Etzion
Gush Etzion
Gush Etzion is a cluster of Israeli settlements located in the Judaean Mountains directly south of Jerusalem and Bethlehem in the West Bank, Palestinian territories. The core group includes four agricultural villages that were founded in 1940-1947 on property purchased in the 1920s and 1930s, and ...

)
0 1,182 22,800 111,600 234,487 276,462 304,569
Gaza Strip 30 (see Kfar Darom
Kfar Darom
Kfar Darom was a kibbutz and an Israeli settlement within the Gush Katif bloc in the Gaza Strip.-Original kibbutz:Kfar Darom was founded on 250 dunams of land purchased in 1930 by Tuvia Miller for a fruit orchard on the site of an ancient Jewish settlement of the same name mentioned in the Talmud...

)
0 700 1 900 4,800 7,826 0 0
Golan Heights 0 0 77 6,800 12,600 17,265 18,692 20,000
East Jerusalem 2,300 (see Jewish Quarter, Atarot
Atarot
Atarot was a moshav in Mandatory Palestine, north of Jerusalem along the highway to Ramallah. The village was captured and destroyed by the Jordanian Arab Legion during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War...

, Neve Yaakov
Neve Yaakov
Neve Yaakov also Neve Ya'aqov, , is a neighborhood located in northeastern Jerusalem, north of Pisgat Ze'ev and south of al-Ram. Established in 1924 during the period of the British Mandate, it was abandoned during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War...

)
0 8,649 76,095 152,800 181,587 189,708 192,000
Total 2,810 0 10,608 1 106,595 281,800 441,165 484,862 516,569
1 including Sinai


In addition to internal migration, in large though declining numbers, the settlements absorb annually about 1000 new immigrants from outside Israel. In the 1990s, the annual settler population growth was more than three times the annual population growth in Israel. Population growth has continued in the 2000s. According to the BBC, the settlements in the West Bank have been growing at a rate of 5–6% since 2001.

As of 2009, the total number of Israeli settlers was 516,569. This figure includes settlers in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights.

West Bank


Settlements in the West Bank make up the Judea and Samaria District. Authority for planning and construction in the district is held by the Israel Defense Forces
Israel Defense Forces
The Israel Defense Forces , commonly known in Israel by the Hebrew acronym Tzahal , are the military forces of the State of Israel. They consist of the ground forces, air force and navy. It is the sole military wing of the Israeli security forces, and has no civilian jurisdiction within Israel...

 Civil Administration. Since Israeli civil law does not apply to the West Bank, settlers in the area are theoretically subject to martial law. In practice, however, settlers are generally judged in civil courts within Israel proper. The district consists of four cities, thirteen local councils and six regional councils.
  • Cities: Ariel
    Ariel (city)
    Ariel is an Israeli settlement and a city in the West Bank. Ariel was established in 1978. Its population at the end of 2009 was 17,600, including 7,000 immigrants who came to Israel after 1990. It is the fourth largest Jewish settlement city in the West Bank., after Modi'in Illit, Beitar Illit,...

    , Betar Illit
    Betar Illit
    Beitar Illit is an Israeli settlement and city west of Gush Etzion, south of Jerusalem, in the Judean Mountains of the West Bank. At the end of 2007, it had a total population of 38,800 consisting of over 6000 families. By 2020, the population is expected to reach 100,000...

    , Maale Adumim, Modi'in Illit
    Modi'in Illit
    Modi'in Illit is a Haredi Israeli settlement and a city in the West Bank, situated midway between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Modi'in Illit was granted city status by the Israeli government in 2008. It is located six kilometres northeast of Modi'in-Maccabim-Re'ut and is often referred to as Kiryat...

    ;
  • Local councils: Alfei Menashe
    Alfei Menashe
    Alfei Menashe is a Jewish Israeli settlement located in the seam zone on the western edge of the central West Bank. It was granted local council status in 1987. As of 2007, the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics counts 6,200 residents...

    , Beit Aryeh-Ofarim
    Beit Aryeh-Ofarim
    Beit Aryeh-Ofarim is an Israeli settlement and local council in the northern West Bank. The international community considers Israeli settlements in the West Bank illegal under international law, but the Israeli government disputes this....

    , Beit El
    Beit El
    Beit El is an Israeli settlement and a local council in the Benjamin region of the central West Bank, within the borders of the Matte Binyamin Regional Council. The religiously observant town is located in the hills north of Jerusalem east of the Palestinian city of al-Bireh. In 2009, it had a...

    , Efrat
    Efrat
    Efrat , or officially Efrata , is an Israeli settlement established in 1983 and a local council in the Judean Mountains of the West Bank. The international community considers Israeli settlements in the West Bank illegal under international law, but the Israeli government disputes this...

    , Elkana
    Elkana
    Elkana or Elqana is an Israeli settlement and local council in the north-western Samarian hills in the West Bank. Elkana is situated just to the east of the Green Line and the city of Rosh HaAyin. The Trans-Samarian Highway previously cut through the town until 2000 when the road, which now skirts...

    , Giv'at Ze'ev
    Giv'at Ze'ev
    Giv'at Ze'ev is an Israeli settlement and town governed by a local council, located in the West Bank five kilometers northwest of Jerusalem. While it lies within the borders of the Matte Binyamin Regional Council, it is a separate municipal entity...

    , Har Adar
    Har Adar
    -See also:* ....

    , Immanuel
    Immanuel (town)
    Immanuel is an Israeli settlement and a town with local council status in the West Bank. The international community considers Israeli settlements in the West Bank illegal under international law, but the Israeli government disputes this.According to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics ,...

    , Karnei Shomron
    Karnei Shomron
    Karnei Shomron is an Israeli settlement and local council established in 1977 in the northwestern West Bank, east of Kfar Sava. It is north-east of Tel Aviv and north of Jerusalem. In 2006, the population of Karnei Shomron was 6,300...

    , Kedumim
    Kedumim
    Kedumim , also spelled Qedumim, is an Israeli settlement and a town located in the Samarian hills of the West Bank that was founded during Hanukkah 1975 and now enjoys the municipal status of local council. Founded in 1975 by members of the Gush Emunim settlement movement, its current population is...

    , Kiryat Arba
    Kiryat Arba
    Kiryat Arba or Qiryat Arba , lit. "Town of the Four," is an Israeli settlement in the Judean Mountains region of the West Bank on the edge of Hebron. Its settlers consist of a mix of Russian immigrants, American immigrants, and native-born Israelis numbering close to 10,000...

    , Ma'ale Efraim
    Ma'ale Efraim
    Ma'ale Efrayim is an Israeli settlement and local council located along the eastern slopes of the Samarian mountains in the Jordan Valley, within the West Bank. Founded in 1978, the town's municipal status was upgraded to local council in 1981. Over 1,400 people now live in the yishuv...

    , Oranit
    Oranit
    Oranit is an Israeli settlement and local council located off Highway 5 adjacent to Kafr Qasim, north of Rosh HaAyin on the western edge of the West Bank. On the Seam Zone, a sizable amount of the town's land is located within the Green Line...

    ;
  • Regional councils: Gush Etzion
    Gush Etzion
    Gush Etzion is a cluster of Israeli settlements located in the Judaean Mountains directly south of Jerusalem and Bethlehem in the West Bank, Palestinian territories. The core group includes four agricultural villages that were founded in 1940-1947 on property purchased in the 1920s and 1930s, and ...

     (Ezion Bloc), Har Hebron
    Har Hebron Regional Council
    The Har Hevron Regional Council is an Israeli regional council in the southern Judean Hills area of Mount Hebron, in the southern West Bank. The headquarters are located adjacent to Otniel. The council was established in 1983...

     (Mount Hebron
    Mount Hebron
    Mount Hebron is a geographic region and geologic formation in the southern West Bank, with its western foothills extending into Israel. The area was in biblical times a center of the Israelite and Hasmonean kingdoms. The region lends its name to the Mount Hebron Regional Council....

    ), Matte Binyamin (Staff of Benjamin
    Tribe of Benjamin
    According to the Hebrew Bible, the Tribe of Benjamin בִּנְיָמִין was one of the Tribes of Israel.From after the conquest of the land by Joshua until the formation of the first Kingdom of Israel in c. 1050 BCE, the Tribe of Benjamin was a part of a loose confederation of Israelite tribes...

    , named after the ancient Israelite tribe that dwelled in the area), Megilot
    Megilot Regional Council
    Megilot Regional Council , also Megilot Dead Sea Regional Council, is a regional council in the Judean desert near the western shores of the Dead Sea. With only and 1,000 residents, it is Israel's smallest regional council. Its municipal offices are located in Vered Yeriho.-Etymology:The name...

     (Scrolls, named after the Dead Sea scrolls
    Dead Sea scrolls
    The Dead Sea Scrolls are a collection of 972 texts from the Hebrew Bible and extra-biblical documents found between 1947 and 1956 on the northwest shore of the Dead Sea, from which they derive their name...

    , which were discovered in the area), Shomron (Samaria
    Samaria
    Samaria, or the Shomron is a term used for a mountainous region roughly corresponding to the northern part of the West Bank.- Etymology :...

    ), Biq'at HaYarden (Jordan valley
    Jordan Valley (Middle East)
    The Jordan Valley forms part of the larger Jordan Rift Valley. It is 120 kilometers long and 15 kilometers wide, where it runs from Lake Tiberias in the north to northern Dead Sea in the south. It runs for an additional 155 kilometer south of the Dead Sea to Aqaba, an area also known as Wadi...

    ).


The Yesha Council
Yesha Council
The Yesha Council is an umbrella organization of municipal councils of Jewish settlements in the West Bank , known by the Hebrew acronym Yesha.The Chairman of the Yesha Council is Dani Dayan, elected in July 2007...

 is an umbrella organization of municipal councils in the Judea and Samaria district. (Yesha is a Hebrew acronym for Judea
Judea
Judea or Judæa was the name of the mountainous southern part of the historic Land of Israel from the 8th century BCE to the 2nd century CE, when Roman Judea was renamed Syria Palaestina following the Jewish Bar Kokhba revolt.-Etymology:The...

, Samaria
Samaria
Samaria, or the Shomron is a term used for a mountainous region roughly corresponding to the northern part of the West Bank.- Etymology :...

 and Gaza
Gaza
Gaza , also referred to as Gaza City, is a Palestinian city in the Gaza Strip, with a population of about 450,000, making it the largest city in the Palestinian territories.Inhabited since at least the 15th century BC,...

). The jurisdiction of the Israeli settlements and their regional councils includes 42% percent of the West Bank, although the actual buildings of the settlements cover just 1% of the West Bank, according to B'Tselem, which states that the land was seized from Palestinian owners in violation of an Israeli Supreme Court decision.

East Jerusalem



East Jerusalem is defined in the Jerusalem Law
Jerusalem Law
The Jerusalem Law is a common name of Basic Law: Jerusalem, Capital of Israel passed by the Knesset on July 30, 1980 .It began as a private member's bill proposed by Geula Cohen, whose original text stated that "the integrity and unity of greater Jerusalem in its boundaries after the Six-Day War...

 as part of Israel and its capital, Jerusalem. As such it is administered as part of the city and its district, the Jerusalem District
Jerusalem District
The Jerusalem District is one of six administrative districts of Israel. The district capital is Jerusalem. The Jerusalem District has a land area of 652 km². The population of 910,300 is 67.8% Jewish and 30.6% Arab...

. Pre-1967 residents of East Jerusalem and their descendants have residency status in the city but many have refused Israeli citizenship. Thus, the Israeli government maintains an administrative distinction between Israeli citizens and non-citizens in East Jerusalem, but the Jerusalem municipality does not.

Golan Heights



The Golan Heights is administered under Israeli civil law as the Golan sub-district, a part of the North District
North District (Israel)
The Northern District is one of Israel's six administrative districts. The Northern District has a land area of 4,478 km², which increases to 4,638  km² when both land and water are included...

. Israel makes no legal or administrative distinction between pre-1967 communities in the Golan Heights (mainly Druze
Druze
The Druze are an esoteric, monotheistic religious community, found primarily in Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and Jordan, which emerged during the 11th century from Ismailism. The Druze have an eclectic set of beliefs that incorporate several elements from Abrahamic religions, Gnosticism, Neoplatonism...

) and the post-1967 settlements.

Sinai Peninsula


After the capture of the Sinai Peninsula
Sinai Peninsula
The Sinai Peninsula or Sinai is a triangular peninsula in Egypt about in area. It is situated between the Mediterranean Sea to the north, and the Red Sea to the south, and is the only part of Egyptian territory located in Asia as opposed to Africa, effectively serving as a land bridge between two...

 from Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 in the 1967 Six Day War, settlements were established along the Gulf of Aqaba and in the northeast, just below the Gaza Strip
Gaza Strip
thumb|Gaza city skylineThe Gaza Strip lies on the Eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The Strip borders Egypt on the southwest and Israel on the south, east and north. It is about long, and between 6 and 12 kilometres wide, with a total area of...

. It had plans to expand the settlement of Yamit
Yamit
Yamit was an Israeli settlement in the northern part of the Sinai Peninsula with a population of about 2,500 people .The settlement was established during Israel's occupation of the peninsula from the end of the 1967 Six-Day War, until that part of the Sinai was handed over to Egypt in 1982 as...

 into a city with a population of 200,000, though the actual population of Yamit did not exceed 3,000. The Sinai Peninsula was returned to Egypt in stages beginning in 1979 as part of the Egypt–Israel Peace Treaty. As required by the treaty, Israel evacuated the civilian population, which took place in 1982. Some evacuation was done forcefully in some instances, such as the evacuation of Yamit. Israel demolished the settlements and gave the reason that for it feared that settlers might try to return to their homes after the evacuation.

Gaza Strip



Before the Israel's unilateral disengagement plan
Israel's unilateral disengagement plan
Israel's unilateral disengagement plan , also known as the "Disengagement plan", "Gaza expulsion plan", and "Hitnatkut", was a proposal by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, adopted by the government on June 6, 2004 and enacted in August 2005, to evict all Israelis from the Gaza Strip and from...

 there were 21 settlements in the Gaza Strip
Gaza Strip
thumb|Gaza city skylineThe Gaza Strip lies on the Eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The Strip borders Egypt on the southwest and Israel on the south, east and north. It is about long, and between 6 and 12 kilometres wide, with a total area of...

 under the administration of the Hof Aza Regional Council
Hof Aza Regional Council
The Hof Aza Regional Council was a regional council of Israel until 2005 when its residents were evicted from their homes and the area was liquidated as part of Israel's unilateral disengagement plan.The seat was in Neve Dekalim...

.

Strategic significance


Palestinians argue that the policy of settlements constitutes an effort to pre-empt or sabotage a peace treaty
Peace treaty
A peace treaty is an agreement between two or more hostile parties, usually countries or governments, that formally ends a state of war between the parties...

 that includes Palestinian sovereignty
Sovereignty
Sovereignty is the quality of having supreme, independent authority over a geographic area, such as a territory. It can be found in a power to rule and make law that rests on a political fact for which no purely legal explanation can be provided...

, and claim that the presence of settlements harm the ability to have a viable and contiguous state.

The Israel Foreign Ministry
Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Israel)
The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs is one of the most important ministries in the Israeli government. The ministry's role is to implement Israel's foreign policy, and promote economic, cultural, and scientific relations with other countries....

 asserts that some settlements are legitimate, as they took shape when there was no operative diplomatic arrangement, and thus they did not violate any agreement. Based on this, they assert that:
  • Prior to the signing of the Egypt–Israel Peace Treaty, the eruption of the First Intifada
    First Intifada
    The First Intifada was a Palestinian uprising against the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territories. The uprising began in the Jabalia refugee camp and quickly spread throughout Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem....

    , down to the signing of the Israel–Jordan peace treaty in 1994, Israeli governments on the left and right argued that the settlements were of strategic and tactical importance. The location of the settlements was primarily chosen based on the threat of an attack by the bordering hostile countries of Jordan
    Jordan
    Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

    , Syria
    Syria
    Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

    , and Egypt
    Egypt
    Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

     and possible routes of advance into Israeli population areas. These settlements were seen as contributing to the security of Israel at a time when peace treaties had not been signed.

Legal status


The consensus view of the international community
International community
The international community is a term used in international relations to refer to all peoples, cultures and governments of the world or to a group of them. The term is used to imply the existence of common duties and obligations between them...

 is that the existence of Israeli settlements in the West Bank
West Bank
The West Bank ) of the Jordan River is the landlocked geographical eastern part of the Palestinian territories located in Western Asia. To the west, north, and south, the West Bank shares borders with the state of Israel. To the east, across the Jordan River, lies the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan...

 including East Jerusalem
East Jerusalem
East Jerusalem or Eastern Jerusalem refer to the parts of Jerusalem captured and annexed by Jordan in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and then captured and annexed by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War...

 and the Golan Heights is in violation of international law. The Fourth Geneva Convention
Fourth Geneva Convention
The Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, commonly referred to as the Fourth Geneva Convention and abbreviated as GCIV, is one of the four treaties of the Geneva Conventions. It was adopted in August 1949, and defines humanitarian protections for civilians...

 includes statements such as "the Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies".

At present, the predominant view of the international community
International community
The international community is a term used in international relations to refer to all peoples, cultures and governments of the world or to a group of them. The term is used to imply the existence of common duties and obligations between them...

, as reflected in numerous UN resolutions, regards the building and existence of Israeli settlements in the West Bank
West Bank
The West Bank ) of the Jordan River is the landlocked geographical eastern part of the Palestinian territories located in Western Asia. To the west, north, and south, the West Bank shares borders with the state of Israel. To the east, across the Jordan River, lies the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan...

, East Jerusalem
East Jerusalem
East Jerusalem or Eastern Jerusalem refer to the parts of Jerusalem captured and annexed by Jordan in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and then captured and annexed by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War...

 and the Golan Heights as a violation of international law. UN Security Council Resolution 446 refers to the Fourth Geneva Convention
Fourth Geneva Convention
The Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, commonly referred to as the Fourth Geneva Convention and abbreviated as GCIV, is one of the four treaties of the Geneva Conventions. It was adopted in August 1949, and defines humanitarian protections for civilians...

 as the applicable international legal instrument, and calls upon Israel to desist from transferring its own population into the territories or changing their demographic makeup. The reconvened Conference of the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions has declared the settlements illegal as has the primary judicial organ of the UN, the International Court of Justice
International Court of Justice
The International Court of Justice is the primary judicial organ of the United Nations. It is based in the Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands...

.

The position of successive Israeli governments is that all authorized settlements are entirely legal and consistent with international law. In practice, Israel does not accept that the Fourth Geneva Convention applies de jure
De jure
De jure is an expression that means "concerning law", as contrasted with de facto, which means "concerning fact".De jure = 'Legally', De facto = 'In fact'....

, but has stated that on humanitarian issues it will govern itself de facto by its provisions, without specifying which these are. The scholars and jurists Eugene Rostow
Eugene V. Rostow
Eugene V. Rostow , influential legal scholar and public servant, was Dean of Yale Law School, and served as Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs under President Lyndon B...

 and Stephen Schwebel
Stephen M. Schwebel
Stephen Myron Schwebel is an American jurist and expert on international law. He is well known for his separate and dissenting opinions as a Judge of the International Court of Justice 1981-2000 and for his involvement in many cases of the ICSID and Permanent Court of Arbitration.-Biography:Judge...

 have disputed the illegality of authorized settlements.

Under Israeli law, West Bank settlements must meet specific criteria to be legal. In 2009, there were approximately 100 small communities that did not meet these criteria and are referred to as illegal outposts.

Illegality arguments


The International Court of Justice has ruled that Israel is in breach of international law by establishing settlements in Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem. The Court maintains that Israel cannot rely on its right of self-defense or necessity to impose a regime that violates international law. The Court also ruled that Israel violates basic human rights by impeding liberty of movement and the inhabitants' right to work, health, education and an adequate standard of living.

International intergovernmental organizations such as the Conference of the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention
Fourth Geneva Convention
The Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, commonly referred to as the Fourth Geneva Convention and abbreviated as GCIV, is one of the four treaties of the Geneva Conventions. It was adopted in August 1949, and defines humanitarian protections for civilians...

, major organs of the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

, the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

, and Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, regard the settlements as a violation of international law. The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination wrote that "The status of the settlements was clearly inconsistent with Article 3 of the Convention, which, as noted in the Committee's General Recommendation XIX, prohibited all forms of racial segregation in all countries. There is a consensus among publicists that the prohibition of racial discrimination, irrespective of territories, is an imperative norm of international law." Amnesty International
Amnesty International
Amnesty International is an international non-governmental organisation whose stated mission is "to conduct research and generate action to prevent and end grave abuses of human rights, and to demand justice for those whose rights have been violated."Following a publication of Peter Benenson's...

, and Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch is an international non-governmental organization that conducts research and advocacy on human rights. Its headquarters are in New York City and it has offices in Berlin, Beirut, Brussels, Chicago, Geneva, Johannesburg, London, Los Angeles, Moscow, Paris, San Francisco, Tokyo,...

 have also characterized the settlements as a violation of international law. In 1978, the Legal Adviser of the Department of State
Legal Adviser of the Department of State
The Legal Adviser of the Department of State is a position within the United States Department of State. It was created by an Act of Congress on February 23, 1931 and given a rank equivalent to that of an Assistant Secretary...

 reached the same conclusion.

In 1967, Theodor Meron
Theodor Meron
Theodor Meron was the President of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia until 2005, and now serves as a judge on the Appeals Chambers of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and the ICTY. On October 19, 2011, he was elected to a second two-year term as President...

, legal counsel to the Israeli Foreign Ministry stated in a legal opinion to the Prime Minister, "My conclusion is that civilian settlement in the administered territories contravenes the explicit provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention." The legal opinion, forwarded to Prime Minister Levi Eshkol
Levi Eshkol
' served as the third Prime Minister of Israel from 1963 until his death from a heart attack in 1969. He was the first Israeli Prime Minister to die in office.-Biography:...

, was not made public at the time, and the Labor cabinet progressively sanctioned settlements anyway; this action paved the way for future settlement growth. In 2007, Meron stated that "I believe that I would have given the same opinion today."

Legality arguments


Among the legal scholars who dispute this view is Stephen M. Schwebel
Stephen M. Schwebel
Stephen Myron Schwebel is an American jurist and expert on international law. He is well known for his separate and dissenting opinions as a Judge of the International Court of Justice 1981-2000 and for his involvement in many cases of the ICSID and Permanent Court of Arbitration.-Biography:Judge...

. Schwebel, a judge of International Court of Justice
International Court of Justice
The International Court of Justice is the primary judicial organ of the United Nations. It is based in the Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands...

 and Professor of International Law at Johns Hopkins University
Johns Hopkins University
The Johns Hopkins University, commonly referred to as Johns Hopkins, JHU, or simply Hopkins, is a private research university based in Baltimore, Maryland, United States...

 who makes three distinctions specific to the Israeli situation to claim that the territories were seized in self-defense and that Israel has more title to them than the previous holders. Professor Julius Stone
Julius Stone
Julius Stone was Challis Professor of Jurisprudence and International Law at the University of Sydney from 1942 to 1972, and thereafter a visiting Professor of Law at the University of New South Wales and concurrently Distinguished Professor of Jurisprudence and International Law at the Hastings...

 also writes that ”Israel's presence in all these areas pending negotiation of new borders is entirely lawful, since Israel entered them lawfully in self-defense.”

Julius Stone said that the notion that establishing settlements violates Article 49(6) was "irony bordering on the absurd": "We would have to say that the effect of Article 49(6) is to impose an obligation on the State of Israel to ensure (by force if necessary) that these areas, despite their millennial association with Jewish life, shall be forever judenrein. Irony would thus be pushed to the absurdity of claiming that Article 49(6), designed to prevent repetition of Nazi-type genocidal policies of rendering Nazi metropolitan territories judenrein, has now come to mean that . . . the West Bank . . . must be made judenrein and must be so maintained, if necessary by the use of force by the government of Israel against its own inhabitants. Common sense as well as correct historical and functional context exclude so tyrannical a reading of Article 49(6)."

Israel maintains that a temporary use of land and buildings for various purposes is permissible under a plea of military necessity and that the settlements fulfilled security needs. Israel argues that its settlement policy is consistent with international law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention
Fourth Geneva Convention
The Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, commonly referred to as the Fourth Geneva Convention and abbreviated as GCIV, is one of the four treaties of the Geneva Conventions. It was adopted in August 1949, and defines humanitarian protections for civilians...

, while recognizing that some settlements have been constructed illegally on private land. The Israeli Supreme Court has ruled that the power of the Civil Administration and the Military Commander in the occupied territories is limited by the entrenched customary rules of public international law as codified in the Hague Regulations and Geneva Convention IV. In 1998 the Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs produced "The International Criminal Court Background Paper". It concludes
International law has long recognised that there are crimes of such severity they should be considered "international crimes." Such crimes have been established in treaties such as the Genocide Convention and the Geneva Conventions.... The following are Israel's primary issues of concern [ie with the rules of the ICC]: The inclusion of settlement activity as a "war crime" is a cynical attempt to abuse the Court for political ends. The implication that the transfer of civilian population to occupied territories can be classified as a crime equal in gravity to attacks on civilian population centres or mass murder is preposterous and has no basis in international law.

A UN conference held in Rome in 1998, where Israel was one of seven countries to vote against the Rome Statute to establish the International Criminal Court
International Criminal Court
The International Criminal Court is a permanent tribunal to prosecute individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression .It came into being on 1 July 2002—the date its founding treaty, the Rome Statute of the...

. Israel was opposed to a provision that included as a war crime the transfer of civilian populations into territory the government occupies. Israel has signed the statute, but not ratified the treaty.

Land ownership


In November 2006 Peace Now acquired a report, which it claims was leaked from the Israeli Government's Civil Administration, indicating that up to 40 percent of the land Israel plans to retain in the West Bank is privately owned by Palestinians. Peace Now called this a violation of Israeli law. The Washington Post reported that "The 38-page report offers what appears to be a comprehensive argument against the Israeli government's contention that it avoids building on private land, drawing on the state's own data to make the case." Peace Now published statistics and aerial maps for each settlement. In the wake of a legal battle, Peace Now lowered the figure to 32%, which the Civil Administration also denied.In February 2008, the Civil Administration stated that the land on which more than a third of West Bank settlements was built had been expropriated by the IDF for "security purposes." The unauthorized seizure of private Palestinian land was defined by the Civil Administration itself as 'theft.'

The Spiegel report, commissioned by the Israeli Defense Ministry
Ministry of Defense (Israel)
The Ministry of Defence of the government of Israel, is the governmental department responsible for defending the State of Israel from internal and external military threats...

, found that some settlements deemed legal by Israel were illegal outposts, and that large portions of Ofra
Ofra
Ofra is an Israeli settlement located in the northern West Bank in the jurisdiction of the Mateh Binyamin Regional Council. It is situated on the main road between Jerusalem and Nablus , 25 km from Jerusalem and has 3,200 inhabitants ....

, Elon Moreh
Elon Moreh
Elon Moreh is an Israeli settlement located in the Samarian hills of the West Bank northeast of Nablus on the slopes of the Mount Kabir ridge....

 and Beit El
Beit El
Beit El is an Israeli settlement and a local council in the Benjamin region of the central West Bank, within the borders of the Matte Binyamin Regional Council. The religiously observant town is located in the hills north of Jerusalem east of the Palestinian city of al-Bireh. In 2009, it had a...

 were built on private Palestinian land.According to Israel, the bulk of the land was vacant, was leased from the state, or bought fairly from Palestinian landowners.

Invoking the Absentee Property Law to transfer, sell or lease property in East Jerusalem owned by Palestinians who live elsewhere without compensation has been criticized both inside and outside of Israel.Opponents of the settlements claim that "vacant" land belonged to Arabs who fled or collectively to an entire village, a practice that developed under Ottoman
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 rule. B'Tselem
B'Tselem
B'Tselem is an Israeli non-governmental organization . It calls itself "The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories"...

 charged that Israel is using the absence of modern legal documents for the communal land as a legal basis for expropriating it.

Criticism by human rights organizations


Amnesty International argues that Israel's settlement policy is discriminatory and a violation of Palestinian human rights. B'Tselem claims that Israeli travel restrictions impact on Palestinian freedom of movement
Freedom of movement
Freedom of movement, mobility rights or the right to travel is a human right concept that the constitutions of numerous states respect...

 and Palestinian human rights have been violated in Hebron due to the presence of the settlers within the city. According to B'Tselem, over fifty percent of West Bank land expropriated from Palestinians has been used to establish settlements and create reserves of land for their future expansion. The seized lands mainly benefit the settlements and Palestinians cannot use them. The organization also claims that roads built by Israel in the West Bank that are closed to Palestinian vehicles are 'discriminatory.'

Human Rights Watch has filed reports on "settler violence," referring to stoning and shooting incidents involving Israeli settlers. Israel's withdrawal from Gaza and Hebron have led to violent settler protests and disputes over land and resources. Meron Benvenisti
Meron Benvenisti
Meron Benvenisti is an Israeli political scientist who was Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem under Teddy Kollek from 1971 to 1978, during which he administered East Jerusalem and served as Jerusalem's Chief Planning Officer. He is a medieval scholar and published books and maps on the Crusader period in...

 described the settlement enterprise as a "commercial real estate project that conscripts Zionist rhetoric for profit."

The construction of the Israeli West Bank barrier
Israeli West Bank barrier
The Israeli West Bank barrier is a separation barrier being constructed by the State of Israel along and within the West Bank. Upon completion, the barrier’s total length will be approximately...

 has been criticized as an infringement on Palestinian human and land rights. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimated that 10% of the West Bank would fall on the Israeli side of the barrier.

Economy


Palestinian officials estimate that settlers sell goods worth some $500 million to the Palestinian market. In 2009, the UK Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs called for labelling imports from the settlements.

Palestinian labor


Due to high unemployment rates in the West Bank, tens of thousands of Palestinians work in Israeli settlements. According to the Manufacturers Association of Israel
Manufacturers Association of Israel
The Manufacturers Association of Israel is the representative body of all industrial sectors in Israel: private, public, kibbutz and government industries. The association was founded in 1921.-Awards:...

, some 22,000 Palestinians were employed in construction, agriculture, manufacturing and service industries. In 2010, Palestinian leaders banned the practice of working in Israeli settlements, angering Palestinians who depend on this employment. The prospect of losing Palestinian labour has forced farms in the Jordan valley to consider bringing in more workers from East Asia.

Palestinians have been highly involved in the construction of settlements in the West Bank. The Palestinian Authority estimates that over 12,000 Palestinians are employed by Jewish and Arab contractors in settlement construction and expansion projects. A lack of jobs and relatively high salary has been cited as a motivation for Palestinian involvement. Arab workers are said to be paid approximately 3 times as much by Israeli contractors than Palestinian employers.

In 2008, Kav LaOved
Kav LaOved
Kav La'Oved is an Israeli non-profit association, founded in 1991. Its objective is to protect the rights of disadvantaged workers...

 charged that Palestinians who work in Israeli settlements are not granted basic protections of Israeli labor law. Instead, they are employed under Jordan
Jordan
Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

ian labor law, which does not require minimum wage, payment for overtime and other social rights. In 2007, the Supreme Court of Israel
Supreme Court of Israel
The Supreme Court is at the head of the court system and highest judicial instance in Israel. The Supreme Court sits in Jerusalem.The area of its jurisdiction is all of Israel and the Israeli-occupied territories. A ruling of the Supreme Court is binding upon every court, other than the Supreme...

 ruled that Israeli labor law does apply to Palestinians working in West Bank settlements and applying different rules in the same work place constituted discrimination. The ruling allowed Palestinian workers to file lawsuits in Israeli courts. In 2008, the average sum claimed by such lawsuits stood at 100,000 shekels.

According to Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, 63% of Palestinians oppose PA plans to prosecute Palestinians who work in the settlements. However, 72% of Palestinians support a boycott of the products they sell.

Incidents of violence


A UN report recorded 222 acts of Israeli settler violence against Palestinians and IDF troops in the first half of 2008 compared with 291 in 2007. This trend reportedly increased in 2009. Maj-Gen Shamni said that the number had risen from a few dozen individuals to hundreds, and called it "a very grave phenomenon." In 2008–2009, the defense establishment adopted a harder line against the extremists. This group responded with a tactic dubbed "price tagging," vandalizing Palestinian property whenever police or soldiers were sent in to dismantle outposts.

This violence has been harshly condemned by leading religious figures in the West Bank, among them Rabbi Menachem Froman
Menachem Froman
Rabbi Menachem Froman, also Menahem or Fruman , is an Israeli Orthodox rabbi and a peacemaker and negotiator with close ties to Palestinian religious leaders from the PLO and Hamas. A founding member of Gush Emunim, he serves today as the chief rabbi of Tekoa in the West Bank...

 of Tekoa, who said: "Targeting Palestinians and their property is a shocking thing, (...) It's an act of hurting humanity. (...) This builds a wall of fire between Jews and Arabs." The Yesha Council and Hanan Porat
Hanan Porat
-External links:...

 also condemned such actions. Some rabbis, on the other hand, have been accused of inciting violence against non-Jews.

In response to settler violence, the Israeli government has said that it would increase law enforcement and cut off aid to illegal outposts. When buildings were evacuated by the Israeli government, settlers lashed out at Palestinians because they were "easy victims." The United Nations accused Israeli security forces of failing to intervene and arrest settlers suspected of violence.

Israeli civilians living in the Palestinian Territories are not subject to military or local law, but are prosecuted according to Israeli penal law. In 2008, Haaretz wrote that "Israeli society has become accustomed to seeing lawbreaking settlers receive special treatment and no other group could similarly attack Israeli law enforcement agencies without being severely punished."

Gush Emunim Underground
Gush Emunim Underground
The Jewish Underground was a militant organization formed by prominent members of the Israeli political movement Gush Emunim that existed from 1979 to 1984. The group's highest profile plot was to destroy the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem....

 was a militant organization associated with Gush Emunim that operated in 1979–1984. The organization planned attacks on Palestinian officials and an attack on the Dome of the Rock
Dome of the Rock
The Dome of the Rock is a shrine located on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem. The structure has been refurbished many times since its initial completion in 691 CE at the order of Umayyad Caliph Abd al-Malik...

. In 1994, Baruch Goldstein
Baruch Goldstein
Baruch Kopel Goldstein was an American-born Jewish Israeli physician and mass murderer who perpetrated the 1994 Cave of the Patriarchs massacre in the city of Hebron, killing 29 Palestinian Muslim worshipers and wounding another 125....

 of Hebron, a member of Kach
Kach and Kahane Chai
Kach was a far-right political party in Israel. Founded by Rabbi Meir Kahane in the early 1970s, and following his Jewish nationalist ideology , the party entered the Knesset in 1984 after several electoral failures...

 carried out the Cave of the Patriarchs massacre
Cave of the Patriarchs massacre
The Cave of the Patriarchs massacre was a terrorist attack that occurred when Baruch Goldstein, an Israeli settler and member of the far-right Israeli Kach movement, opened fire on unarmed Palestinian Muslims praying inside the Ibrahim Mosque at the Cave of the Patriarchs site in Hebron in the...

, killing 29 Muslim worshipers and injuring 125. The attack was widely condemned by the Israeli government and Jewish community.

The Palestinian leadership has accused Israel of "encouraging and enabling" settler violence in a bid to provoke Palestinian riots and violence in retaliation.

In September 2011, settlers vandalized a mosque and an army base. They slashed tires and cut cables of 12 army vehicles and sprayed graffiti.

In November 2011, the United Nations Office for Coordination of Human Affairs (OCHA) in the Palestinian territories published a report on settler violence against Palestinians in the West Bank that showed significant rises compared with 2010, and 2009. The report covered not only physical harm to Palestinians, but also property damage such as the impact of uprooted olive trees, damaged tractors and murdered sheep. The report states that 90% of complaints filed with the Israeli police by Palestinians of settler violence have been closed without any indictments.

Agricultural vandalism


While the Economy of the Palestinian territories has shown signs of growth, the International Committee of the Red Cross
International Committee of the Red Cross
The International Committee of the Red Cross is a private humanitarian institution based in Geneva, Switzerland. States parties to the four Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Additional Protocols of 1977 and 2005, have given the ICRC a mandate to protect the victims of international and...

 released a report stating restrictions imposed on Palestinians in the West Bank have had a negative impact on Palestinian olive farming. According to the ICRC, 10,000 olive trees were cut down or burned by settlers between 2007 and 2010. Foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said the report ignored official PA data showing that the economic situation for Palestinians had improved substantially. He referred to a comment made by Mahmoud Abbas to The Washington Post
The Washington Post
The Washington Post is Washington, D.C.'s largest newspaper and its oldest still-existing paper, founded in 1877. Located in the capital of the United States, The Post has a particular emphasis on national politics. D.C., Maryland, and Virginia editions are printed for daily circulation...

in May 2009, where he said "in the West Bank, we have a good reality, the people are living a normal life".

Haaretz
Haaretz
Haaretz is Israel's oldest daily newspaper. It was founded in 1918 and is now published in both Hebrew and English in Berliner format. The English edition is published and sold together with the International Herald Tribune. Both Hebrew and English editions can be read on the Internet...

 described the olive harvest as a time of heightened violence due to provocation by a handful of extremist settlers. Court rulings required the army to protect the harvesters. In 2010, however, there were numerous incidents of trees being cut down, poisoned or torched. In the first two weeks of the harvest, some 500 Palestinian trees and 100 Jewish trees had been vandalized.

Violence and provocation of activists


Pro-Palestinian activists who hold regular protests near the settlements have been accused of stone-throwing, physical assault and provocation. In 2008, Avshalom Peled, head of the Israel Police
Israel Police
The Israel Police is the civilian police force of Israel. As with most other police forces in the world, its duties include crime fighting, traffic control, maintaining public safety, and counter-terrorism...

's Hebron district, called "left-wing" activity in the city dangerous and provocative, and accused activists of antagonizing the settlers in the hope of getting a reaction.

Palestinian violence against settlers



Since mid-1990s attacks against settlers became a frequent phenomenon. Settlers are mostly targeted by Palestinian armed groups such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad, whose representatives argue that the settlers have forfeited their civilian status because they reside in illegal settlements. B'tselem rejected this reasoning, and stated:
"The illegality of the settlements has no effect at all on the status of their civilian residents. The settlers constitute a distinctly civilian population, which is entitled to all the protections granted civilians by international law. The Israeli security forces' use of land in the settlements or the membership of some settlers in the Israeli security forces does not affect the status of the other residents living among them, and certainly does not make them proper targets of attack. B'Tselem strongly opposes the attempts to justify attacks against Israeli civilians by using distorted interpretations of international law. Furthermore, B'Tselem demands that the Palestinian Authority do everything within its power to prevent future attacks and to prosecute the individuals involved in past attacks."
The human rights organization Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch is an international non-governmental organization that conducts research and advocacy on human rights. Its headquarters are in New York City and it has offices in Berlin, Beirut, Brussels, Chicago, Geneva, Johannesburg, London, Los Angeles, Moscow, Paris, San Francisco, Tokyo,...

 also issued a similar statement.

Fatal attacks on settlers have included firing of rockets and mortars and drive-by shooting
Drive-by shooting
A drive-by shooting is a form of hit-and-run tactic, a personal attack carried out by an individual or individuals from a moving or momentarily stopped vehicle without use of headlights to avoid being noticed. It often results in bystanders being shot instead of, or as well as, the intended target...

s, also targeting infants and children. Violent incidents include the murder of Shalhevet Pass, a ten-month-old baby shot by a Palestinian sniper in Hebron, and the murder of two teenagers
Murder of Koby Mandell and Yosef Ishran
The murder of Koby Mandell and Yosef Ishran occurred on May 8, 2001, when two Jewish teenagers, Yaakov "Koby" Mandell and Yosef Ishran, were killed on the outskirts of the Israeli settlement of Tekoa in the West Bank, where they lived with their families...

 on May 8, 2001, whose bodies were hidden in a cave near Tekoa. In the Bat Ayin ax attack
Bat Ayin ax attack
The Bat Ayin axe attack was a Palestinian militant attack which occurred on 2 April 2009 in the West Bank, when Moussa Tayet attacked a group of Israeli children with an axe and a knife, killing 13-year-old boy Shlomo Nativ and seriously wounding 7-year-old boy Yair Gamliel, in the Israeli...

, children in Bat Ayin
Bat Ayin
Bat Ayin is a village and an Israeli settlement and in Gush Etzion, on the edge of the Judean hills in the West Bank, between Jerusalem and Hebron. It is administered by the Gush Etzion Regional Council...

 were attacked by a Palestinian wielding an axe and a knife. A 13-year-old boy was killed and another was seriously wounded. Rabbi Meir Hai
Killing of Rabbi Meir Hai
The killing of Rabbi Meir Hai was an attack carried out by Palestinian Fatah militants on 24 December 2009 in the West Bank.- Background :Rabbi Meir Avshalom Hai, was a 45-year-old Israeli Rabbi and father of seven who lived in the Israeli settlement Shavei Shomron located in the northern West...

, a father of seven, was killed in a drive-by shooting.

Environmental issues


Municipal Environmental Associations of Judea and Samaria, an environmental awareness group, was established by the settlers to address sewage treatment problems and cooperate with the Palestinian Authority on environmental issues. According to a Haaretz study, settlers account for 10% of the population in the West Bank but produce 25% of the sewage output. Beit Duqqu
Beit Duqqu
Beit Duqqu is a Palestinian village in the Jerusalem Governorate, located 12 kilometers northwest of Jerusalem in the northern West Bank. According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, the town had a population of 1,600 in 2006....

 and Qalqilyah
Qalqilyah
-Bibliography: p. -External links:**...

 have accused settlers of polluting their farmland and villagers claim children have become ill after swimming in a local stream. Legal action was taken against 14 settlements by the Israeli Ministry of the Environment. The Palestinian Authority has also been criticized by environmentalists for not doing more to prevent water pollution. Settlers and Palestinians share the mountain aquifer as a water source, and both generate sewage and industrial effluents that endanger the aquifer. Friends of the Earth Middle East
Friends of the Earth Middle East
Friends of the Earth Middle East is an organization active in environmental peacemaking in the Middle East.-Group focus and efforts:...

 claimed that sewage treatment was inadequate in both sectors. Sewage from Palestinian sources was estimated at 46 million cubic meters a year, and sources from settler sources at 15 million cubic meters a year. A 2004 study found that sewage was not sufficiently treated in many settlements, while sewage from Palestinian villages and cities flowed into unlined cesspits, streams and the open environment with no treatment at all.

In a 2007 study, the Israel Nature and Parks Authority and Israeli Ministry of Environmental Protection, found that Palestinian towns and cities produced 56 million cubic meters of sewage per year, 94 percent discharged without adequate treatment, while Israeli sources produced 17.5 million cubic meters per year, 31.5 percent without adequate treatment.

According to Palestinian environmentalists, the settlers operate industrial and manufacturing plants that can create pollution as many do not conform to Israeli standards. In 2005, an old quarry between Kedumim
Kedumim
Kedumim , also spelled Qedumim, is an Israeli settlement and a town located in the Samarian hills of the West Bank that was founded during Hanukkah 1975 and now enjoys the municipal status of local council. Founded in 1975 by members of the Gush Emunim settlement movement, its current population is...

 and Nablus
Nablus
Nablus is a Palestinian city in the northern West Bank, approximately north of Jerusalem, with a population of 126,132. Located in a strategic position between Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim, it is the capital of the Nablus Governorate and a Palestinian commercial and cultural center.Founded by the...

 was slated for conversion into an industrial waste dump. Pollution experts warned that the dump would threaten Palestinian water sources.

Impact on peace process



The settlements have been a source of tension between Israel and the U.S. Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter
James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr. is an American politician who served as the 39th President of the United States and was the recipient of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, the only U.S. President to have received the Prize after leaving office...

 regarded the settlements as illegal and tactically unwise. Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

 stated that they were legal but an obstacle to negotiations. In 1991, the U.S. delayed a subsidized loan to pressure Israel on the subject of settlement-building in the Jerusalem-Bethlehem corridor. In 2005, U.S. declared support for "the retention by Israel of major Israeli population centers as an outcome of negotiations," reflecting the statement by George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 that a permanent peace treaty would have to reflect "demographic realities" in the West Bank. In June 2009, Barack Obama said that the United States "does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements."

Palestinians claim that Israel has undermined the Oslo accords and peace process by continuing to expand the settlements. Settlements in the Sinai Peninsula
Sinai Peninsula
The Sinai Peninsula or Sinai is a triangular peninsula in Egypt about in area. It is situated between the Mediterranean Sea to the north, and the Red Sea to the south, and is the only part of Egyptian territory located in Asia as opposed to Africa, effectively serving as a land bridge between two...

 were evacuated and razed in the wake of the peace agreement with Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

.

Final status proposals have called for retaining long-established communities along the Green Line
Green Line (Israel)
Green Line refers to the demarcation lines set out in the 1949 Armistice Agreements between Israel and its neighbours after the 1948 Arab-Israeli War...

 and transferring the same amount of land in Israel to the Palestinian state. The Clinton administration proposed that Israel keep some settlements in the West Bank, especially those in large blocs near the pre-1967 borders of Israel, with the Palestinians receiving concessions of land in other parts of the country.Both Clinton and Tony Blair
Tony Blair
Anthony Charles Lynton Blair is a former British Labour Party politician who served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2 May 1997 to 27 June 2007. He was the Member of Parliament for Sedgefield from 1983 to 2007 and Leader of the Labour Party from 1994 to 2007...

 pointed out the need for territorial and diplomatic compromise based on the validity of some of the claims of both sides.

Fayed Mustafa
Fayed Mustafa
Fayed Mustafa is a Palestinian diplomat and current Ambassador of Palestine to Russia, presenting his credentials to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on 16 December 2009....

, Palestinian ambassador to Russia, called for the return of Palestinian territories to Egypt and Jordan if talks failed.

As Minister of Defense, Ehud Barak approved a plan requiring security commitments in exchange for withdrawal from the West Bank. Barak also expressed readiness to cede parts of East Jerusalem and put the holy sites in the city under a "special regime."

On June 14, 2009, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as an answer to U.S. President Barack Obama's speech in Cairo, delivered a speech setting out his principles for a Palestinian-Israeli peace, among others, he alleged "... we have no intention of building new settlements or of expropriating additional land for existing settlements." In March 2010, the Netanyahu government announced plans for building 1,600 housing units in Ramat Shlomo
Ramat Shlomo
Ramat Shlomo Heights) is a large Jewish housing development in northern East Jerusalem. The population, mostly ultra-Orthodox, is 18,000-20,000....

 across the Green Line in East Jerusalem during U.S. Vice President Joe Biden
Joe Biden
Joseph Robinette "Joe" Biden, Jr. is the 47th and current Vice President of the United States, serving under President Barack Obama...

's visit to Israel causing a diplomatic row.

On 6 September 2010, Jordanian King Abdullah II
Abdullah II of Jordan
Abdullah II ibn al-Hussein is the reigning King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. He ascended the throne on 7 February 1999 after the death of his father King Hussein. King Abdullah, whose mother is Princess Muna al-Hussein, is a member of the Hashemite family...

 and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad
Bashar al-Assad
Bashar al-Assad is the President of Syria and Regional Secretary of the Ba'ath Party. His father Hafez al-Assad ruled Syria for 29 years until his death in 2000. Al-Assad was elected in 2000, re-elected in 2007, unopposed each time.- Early Life :...

 said that Israel would need to withdraw from all of the lands occupied in 1967 in order to achieve peace with the Palestinians.

Bradley Burston has said that a negotiated or unilateral withdraw from most of the settlements in the West Bank is gaining traction in Israel.

In November 2010, the United States offered to "fight against efforts to delegitimize Israel" and provide extra arms to Israel in exchange for a continuation of the settlement freeze and a final peace agreement, but failed to come to an agreement with the Israelis on the exact terms.

In December 2010, the United States criticised efforts by the Palestinian Authority to impose borders for the two states through the United Nations rather than through direct negotiations between the two sides. In February 2011, it vetoed
United Nations Security Council veto power
The United Nations Security Council "power of veto" refers to the veto power wielded solely by the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council , enabling them to prevent the adoption of any "substantive" draft Council resolution, regardless of the level of international support...

 a draft resolution to condemn all Jewish settlements established in the occupied Palestinian territory since 1967 as illegal. The resolution, which was supported by all other Security Council members and co-sponsored by over 120 nations, would have demanded that "Israel, as the occupying power, immediately and completely ceases all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem and that it fully respect its legal obligations in this regard." The U.S. representative
Susan E. Rice
Susan Elizabeth Rice is an American diplomat, former think tank fellow, and civil servant. She is an American foreign policy advisor and United States Ambassador to the United Nations. Rice served on the staff of the National Security Council and as Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs...

 said that while it agreed that the settlements were illegal, the resolution would harm chances for negotiations. Israel's deputy Foreign Minister, Daniel Ayalon, said that the "UN serves as a rubber stamp for the Arab countries and, as such, the General Assembly has an automatic majority," and that the vote "proved that the United States is the only country capable of advancing the peace process and the only righteous one speaking the truth: that direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians are required." Palestinian negotiators, however, have refused to resume direct talks until Israel ceases all settlement activity.

Proposals for land swap


The Clinton Parameters
The Clinton Parameters
The Clinton Parameters is a term attributed to the guidelines for Permanent Status Agreement, that were offered by then President of the United States, Bill Clinton, in late 2000....

 included a plan on which the Palestinian State was to include 94–96% of the West Bank
West Bank
The West Bank ) of the Jordan River is the landlocked geographical eastern part of the Palestinian territories located in Western Asia. To the west, north, and south, the West Bank shares borders with the state of Israel. To the east, across the Jordan River, lies the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan...

, and around 80% of the settlers were to remain under Israeli sovereignty, and in exchange for that, Israel will concede some territory (so called 'Territory Exchange' or 'Land Swap') within the Green Line (1967 borders). The swap would consist of 1–3% of Israeli territory, such that the final borders of the West Bank part of the Palestinian state would include 97% of the land of the original borders.

In 2010, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said that the Palestinians and Israel have agreed on the principle of a land swap. The issue of the ratio of land Israel would give to the Palestinians in exchange for keeping settlement blocs is an issue of dispute, with the Palestinians demanding that the ratio be 1:1, and Israel offering less.

Under any peace deal with the Palestinians, Israel intends to keep the major settlement blocs close to its borders, which contain over 80% of the settlers. Prime Ministers Yitzhak Rabin
Yitzhak Rabin
' was an Israeli politician, statesman and general. He was the fifth Prime Minister of Israel, serving two terms in office, 1974–77 and 1992 until his assassination in 1995....

, Ariel Sharon
Ariel Sharon
Ariel Sharon is an Israeli statesman and retired general, who served as Israel’s 11th Prime Minister. He has been in a permanent vegetative state since suffering a stroke on 4 January 2006....

, and Benjamin Netanyahu
Benjamin Netanyahu
Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu is the current Prime Minister of Israel. He serves also as the Chairman of the Likud Party, as a Knesset member, as the Health Minister of Israel, as the Pensioner Affairs Minister of Israel and as the Economic Strategy Minister of Israel.Netanyahu is the first and, to...

 have all stated Israel's intent to keep such blocs under any peace agreement. U.S. President George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 acknowledged that such areas should be annexed to Israel in a 2004 letter to Prime Minister Sharon.

The European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 position is that any annexation of settlements should be done as part of mutually agreed land swaps, which would see the Palestinians controlling territory equivalent to the territory captured in 1967. The EU says that it will not recognize any changes to the 1967 borders without an agreement between the parties.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has proposed a plan
Lieberman Plan
The Lieberman Plan, also known in Israel as the "Populated-Area Exchange Plan", was proposed in May 2004 by Avigdor Lieberman, the leader of the Israeli political party Yisrael Beiteinu...

 which would see settlement blocs annexed to Israel in exchange for heavily Arab
Arab citizens of Israel
Arab citizens of Israel refers to citizens of Israel who are not Jewish, and whose cultural and linguistic heritage or ethnic identity is Arab....

 areas inside Israel as part of a population exchange.

According to Mitchell G. Bard
Mitchell Bard
Mitchell Geoffrey Bard is an American foreign policy analyst, editor and author who specializes in U.S.-Middle East policy. He is the Executive Director of the non-profit American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise , and the director of the Jewish Virtual Library.-Education:Bard received his B.A...

: "Ultimately, Israel may decide to unilaterally disengage from the West Bank and determine which settlements it will incorporate within the borders it delineates. Israel would prefer, however, to negotiate a peace treaty with the Palestinians that would specify which Jewish communities will remain intact within the mutually agreed border of Israel, and which will need to be evacuated. Israel will undoubtedly insist that some or all of the "consensus" blocs become part of Israel".

Proposal of dual citizenship


A number of proposals for the granting of Palestinian citizenship or residential permits to Jewish settlers in return for the removal of Israeli military installations from the West Bank have been fielded by such individuals as Arafat, Ibrahim Sarsur
Ibrahim Sarsur
Sheikh Ibrahim Sarsur is an Israeli Arab politician and member of the Knesset for the United Arab List, of which he is the party leader.-Biography:...

 and Ahmed Qurei
Ahmed Qurei
Ahmed Ali Mohammed Qurei , also known by his Arabic Kunya Abu Alaa is a former prime minister of the Palestinian Authority...

.

Israeli Minister Moshe Ya'alon
Moshe Ya'alon
Moshe "Bogie" Ya'alon is an Israeli politician and former Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces. He currently serves as a member of the Knesset for Likud, as well as the country's Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Strategic Affairs.-Early life:...

 said in April 2010 that "just as Arabs live in Israel, so, too, should Jews be able to live in Palestine." ... "If we are talking about coexistence and peace, why the [Palestinian] insistence that the territory they receive be ethnically cleansed of Jews?".

The idea has been expressed by both advocates of the two-state solution and supporters of the settlers and conservative or fundamentalist currents in Israeli Judaism that, while objecting to any withdrawal, claim stronger links to the land than to the state of Israel.

However, any retention of Jewish settlers as Palestinian citizens and residents by an independent Palestinian state is uncertain in the long-term, given the current land laws of the current Palestinian territory
Palestinian Land Laws
Palestinian land laws are laws which relate to ownership of land under the Palestinian Authority . These laws prohibit Palestinians from selling Palestinian territory lands to "any man or judicial body [corporation] of Israeli citizenship living in Israel or acting on its behalf." These land laws...

 which prohibit the selling of land to Jews or Israeli citizens under pain of death by hanging (current president Mahmoud Abbas, who is empowered by office to approve death sentences, has consistently refused to do such since coming to office but irregular militias such as those of Hamas often carry out their own executions without PA approval). The Palestinian right of return
Palestinian right of return
The Palestinian right of return is a political position or principle asserting that Palestinian refugees, both first-generation refugees and their descendants, have a right to return, and a right to the property they or their forebears left or which they were forced to leave in what is now Israel...

, if applied, would also further reduce a hypothetical Jewish-Palestinian minority's presence in the state (Jews, including settlers, constitute approximately 17 percent of the West Bank population). And given the legal precedent of unilateral withdrawal from Gaza which resulted in the forcible removal of the Jewish population by the IDF on the basis of personal safety for Israeli citizens, it is less likely that the Israeli government would allow for Jewish settlers to remain in the West Bank and Jerusalem.

Impact on Palestinian demographics


Sushil P. Seth writes that Israelis seem to feel that increasing settlements will force many Palestinians to flee to other countries and that the remainder will be forced to live under Israeli terms.

Human Rights Watch has determined that Israeli settlement policies has had the effect of "forcing residents to leave their communities".

In 2008, Condoleezza Rice
Condoleezza Rice
Condoleezza Rice is an American political scientist and diplomat. She served as the 66th United States Secretary of State, and was the second person to hold that office in the administration of President George W. Bush...

 suggested sending Palestinian refugees to South America, which might reduce pressure on Israel to withdraw from the settlements.

Palestinian Statehood bid of 2011


American refusal to declare the settlements illegal was said to be the determining factor in the 2011 attempt to declare Palestinian statehood at the United Nations.

Israel announced additional settlements in response to the Palestinian statehood bid and Germany responded by moving to stop deliveries of nuclear weapons capable submarines to Israel.

Educational institutions


Ariel University Center of Samaria, formerly the College of Judea and Samaria, is the major Israeli institution of higher education in the West Bank. It is Israel's largest public college. The college was accredited in 1994 and awards bachelor degrees in arts, sciences, technology, architecture and physical therapy. Teacher training colleges include Herzog College
Herzog College
Herzog College is a teacher's college located in Alon Shevut, Gush Etzion, in the West Bank. It is named for the diplomat Yaakov Herzog...

 in Alon Shvut
Alon Shvut
Alon Shvut is an Israeli settlement located southwest of Jerusalem, one kilometer northeast of Kfar Etzion, in the West Bank. Established in June 1970 in the heart of the Etzion bloc, Alon Shvut became the prototype for Jewish settlements in the region. It is administered by the Gush Etzion...

 and Orot Israel College in Elkana
Elkana
Elkana or Elqana is an Israeli settlement and local council in the north-western Samarian hills in the West Bank. Elkana is situated just to the east of the Green Line and the city of Rosh HaAyin. The Trans-Samarian Highway previously cut through the town until 2000 when the road, which now skirts...

. Ohalo College
Ohalo College
Ohalo College , also known as the Ohalo College of Education, is an Israeli teacher training college in the Israeli settlement and town of Katzrin in the Golan Heights. The college is supported by the Israeli Ministry of Education and is recognised by the Israeli Council for Higher Education. As a...

 is located in Katzrin, in the Golan Heights. Curricula at these institutions are overseen by the Council for Higher Education in Judea and Samaria (CHE-JS).

Dismantling of settlements


Neve Dekalim
Neve Dekalim
Neve Dekalim was an Israeli settlement and a community in the Gush Katif settlement bloc in the Gaza Strip. It was founded in 1983 after the Israeli withdrawal from the Sinai Peninsula, on sand dunes that were previously uninhabited. The village served as a regional center for the Gush Katif...

 was Gush Katif's urban center and home to the greatest population, before the dismantling of the settlements as part of Israel's unilateral disengagement plan.

Background


Given the dispute over the territories where the settlements were built, the issue of dismantling them has been considered. Arab parties to the conflict have demanded the dismantlement of the settlements as a condition for peace with Israel. As part of the Egypt–Israel Peace Treaty, Israel was required to evacuate its settlers from the 18 Sinai
Sinai Peninsula
The Sinai Peninsula or Sinai is a triangular peninsula in Egypt about in area. It is situated between the Mediterranean Sea to the north, and the Red Sea to the south, and is the only part of Egyptian territory located in Asia as opposed to Africa, effectively serving as a land bridge between two...

 settlements. The evacuation, which took place in 1982, was done forcefully in some instances, such as the evacuation of Yamit. The settlements were demolished, as it was feared that settlers might try to return to their homes after the evacuation.

During the peace process with the Palestinians, the issue of dismantling the West Bank and Gaza Strip settlements has been raised.

As part of Israel's unilateral disengagement plan
Israel's unilateral disengagement plan
Israel's unilateral disengagement plan , also known as the "Disengagement plan", "Gaza expulsion plan", and "Hitnatkut", was a proposal by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, adopted by the government on June 6, 2004 and enacted in August 2005, to evict all Israelis from the Gaza Strip and from...

, Israel evacuated the Gaza Strip and part of the West Bank, including all 21 settlements in Gaza and four in the West Bank, while retaining control over Gaza's borders, coastline, and airspace. Most of these settlements have existed since the early 1980s, some are over 30 years old, and with a total population of more than 10,000, many of whom have yet to find permanent housing. There was significant opposition to the plan among parts of the Israeli public, and especially those living in the territories. George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 said that a permanent peace deal would have to reflect "demographic realities" in the West Bank regarding Israel's settlements.

Within the former settlements, almost all buildings were demolished by Israel, with the exception of certain government and religious structures, which were completely emptied. Under an international arrangement, productive greenhouses were left to assist the Palestinian economy but these were destroyed within hours by Palestinian looters. Following the withdrawal, many of the former synagogues were torched and destroyed by Palestinians. The Palestinian leadership "maintained" that the synagogues were "symbols of Israeli occupation." Kofi Annan
Kofi Annan
Kofi Atta Annan is a Ghanaian diplomat who served as the seventh Secretary-General of the UN from 1 January 1997 to 31 December 2006...

, the Secretary-General of the United Nations at the time, said the Palestinian Authority had a "moral responsibility to protect the synagogues as places with religious significance."

Some Israelis believe the settlements need not necessarily be dismantled and evacuated, even if Israel withdraws from the territory where they stand, as they can remain under Palestinian rule. These ideas have been expressed both by people from the left, who see this as a possible situation in a two-state solution, and by extreme right-wingers and settlers that, while objecting to any withdrawal, claim stronger links to the land than to the state of Israel.

A July 2009 survey of Israeli public opinion found that people are about evenly divided on the issue, with 46 percent of those polled in support of further construction and 44 percent opposed.
Since 1982, the Sinai Peninsula has not been regarded as occupied territory.

In 2009, Benjamin Netanyahu said: "I have no intention of building new settlements in the West Bank... But like all the governments there have been until now, I will have to meet the needs of natural growth in the population. I will not be able to choke the settlements." On 15 October 2009, he said the settlement row with the United States had been resolved.

On June 19, 2011, Haaretz
Haaretz
Haaretz is Israel's oldest daily newspaper. It was founded in 1918 and is now published in both Hebrew and English in Berliner format. The English edition is published and sold together with the International Herald Tribune. Both Hebrew and English editions can be read on the Internet...

 reported that the Israeli cabinet voted to revoke Defense Minister Ehud Barak
Ehud Barak
Ehud Barak is an Israeli politician who served as Prime Minister from 1999 until 2001. He was leader of the Labor Party until January 2011 and holds the posts of Minister of Defense and Deputy Prime Minister in Binyamin Netanyahu's government....

's authority to veto new settlement construction in the West Bank, by transferring this authority from the Agriculture Ministry, headed by Barak ally Orit Noked, to the Prime Minister's office.

See also

  • Israeli settlement timeline
    Israeli settlement timeline
    This is a timeline of the development of and controversy over Israeli settlements.-1967:* The cease-fire agreement following the 1967 Six-Day War leaves Israel in control of a number of areas captured during hostilities....

  • Jewish land purchase in Palestine
    Jewish land purchase in Palestine
    Jewish land purchase in Palestine refers to the acquisition of land in Palestine by Jews from the 1840s until the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948.-Background:The Talmud mentions the religious duty of colonising the Land of Israel...

  • Palestinian Land Law
  • State of Judea
    State of Judea
    The State of Judea is a proposed halachic state in the West Bank put forward by Israeli Jewish settlers. After the PLO declared the existence of a Palestinian state in 1988, some settler activists feared that international pressure would lead Israel to withdraw from the West Bank and sought to...


Further reading



Viewpoints and commentary