What are the Israeli settlements in the Palestinian Territories?
General Reference (not clearly pro or con)
National Public Radio (NPR), in "A Glossary of Mideast Terms" posted to its website on Feb. 23, 2005, provided the following definition:
"Settlements: New towns for Israeli settlers built in the Palestinian
territories of the West Bank and Gaza after they were seized by Israel
in the wake of the 1967 war. The Israeli government has been building
these settlements since the 1970s. Palestinians say these settlements
represent a colonization of Palestinian lands; but the Israeli settler
movement and its political supporters say these lands are part of the
ancient biblical state of Israel. The construction of new settlements
accelerated in the 1990s. Today, an estimated 210,500 Israeli settlers
live in the West Bank, some 8,000 in Gaza and another 180,000 have
settled in what was Arab East Jerusalem before 1967."
The Palestine Monitor, a Palestinian non-governmental organization and online resource center, in a posted "fact sheet" titled "Israeli Settlements on Occupied Palestinian Territories," on its website (accessed June 5, 2007), wrote:
"What is a settlement?
Settlements are essentially large housing projects built illegally by Israel on land confiscated from Palestinians within the West Bank, Jerusalem and Gaza Strip. These settlements are joined to each other and to Israel through 'by-pass' roads, which are for the exclusive use of Israelis and which are also built on privately owned Palestinian land confiscated by the Israeli government.
Israeli settlements affect Palestinian daily life and impact long-term Palestinian developmental needs. They ensure that Palestinians live in a continuous state of insecurity and fragmentation and therefore prevent economic, social and political development."
Peace Now, the largest extra-parliamentary movement in Israel and the country’s oldest peace movement, in an article titled "Settlements List" posted on its website (accessed June 6, 2007), wrote :
"Since 1967 there is a growing policy of legal and physical separation between the Jewish and Palestinian populations in the occupied territories. Seven months after the 6-day war, the first Israeli settlement, Kfar Etzion, was established in the West Bank. Only one year later, during the Passover of 1968, several families settled in the Park Hotel, Hebron.
In late 1967 the head of the Ministerial Committee for Settlements, Yigal Alon, began to plan the state’s official settlement map. Between the years 1967-1977, around 30 settlements housing approximately 5,000 settlers were established. The majority of these settlements were established on the eastern margins of the West Bank. This construction intended to satisfy the security ideology surrounding the necessity of an Israeli civilian presence in the peripheral areas.
In 1977, with the succession of a Likud government to power, with Menachem Begin as its leader, the settlement effort begun to focus on the western areas in the West Bank. Dozens of such settlements were established at the end of the 1970’s and the beginning of 1980’s. Such measures constituted a direct effort to prevent a split of the country into two, under the political compromise of two states for two peoples.
Today, around 260,000 people live in 121 settlements throughout the West Bank (not including East Jerusalem). 17 settlements in the Gaza strip and 4 in Northern Samaria in the West Bank were evacuated during the Disengagement Plan in August 2005. The settlements cost us at least 556 million dollars per year"
Mitchell G. Bard, PhD, Executive Director of the American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise (AICE), in an article titled "Facts About Settlements" posted on The Jewish Virtual Library's website (accessed Aug. 28, 2006), offered the following:
"Settlements are actually towns and villages where Jews have gone to live since the capture of the West Bank and Gaza Strip in 1967... Strategic concerns led both Labor and Likud governments to establish settlements. The objective is to secure a Jewish majority in key strategic regions of the West Bank, such as the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem corridor -- the scene of heavy fighting in several Arab-Israeli wars.
The Likud government also provided financial incentives for Jews to move to parts of Judea and Samaria [the West Bank] that did not necessarily have any strategic value. Their purpose was to solidify Israel's hold on territory that was part of biblical and historical Palestine / Israel."
David Meir-Levi, MA, Director of Research and Education at the Israel Peace Initiative, in a June 24, 2005 Front Line Magazine article titled "Occupation and Settlement: The Myth and Reality," wrote:
"There are five types of settlements:
1. Agrarian settlements for military purposes manned mostly by soldiers.
2. Settlements of Jews returning to sites occupied by Jews prior to 1948 (Hebron, Gush Etzion, Jewish Quarter).
3. Expanding suburbs of Israeli cities on or near the 'Green Line'.
4. Missionary Settlements unrelated to the previous three types.
5. Patently illegal rogue settlements.
Settlements for Military Purposes
settlements manned by IDF [Israel Defense Force] soldiers were
established soon after the war along what the IDF felt were crucial
corridors of defense, especially along the Jordan river, near the
'Green Line', in the Golan Heights, and near Gaza. Because Egypt, Syria
and Jordan remained belligerent states for decades after the war, and
because the PLO [Palestine Liberation Organization] was actively trying
to develop bases for terrorism in the newly conquered territories, and
because Israel had previously been invaded across these territories,
these settlements were intended primarily to serve a strategic military
Settlements of Jews Returning To Their Pre-1948 Homes
of civilian Israelis in the West Bank began shortly after the 6-day
war, with a small group of Orthodox Jews setting up a few households in
the former Jewish section of Hebron, followed by larger re-settling of
Jews in the rapidly reconstructed Jewish Quarter of East Jerusalem.
Jews had lived in Hebron almost continuously since the days of Joshua
(3100 years), and were expelled only during the horrific Arab pogroms
of 1929 in which hundreds were slaughtered. Jewish habitation in
Jerusalem had a similar millennia-long history, with the 1948 war and
the massacre of about half of the population of the Jewish Quarter
terminating Jewish presence there.
Jews resettled the villages of the Kfar Etzion area (aka Gush Etzion)
southwest of Bethlehem. Since this area had been extensively settled
and developed in the early part of the 20th century by Zionist
pioneers, and most of the Jews of these villages were massacred by Arab
irregulars during the 1948 war, the return of Israelis to these sites
created additional Type B settlements.
areas around Jerusalem and to the east of Kfar Saba and Netania (near
Tel Aviv) and to the northeast of Petah Tiqvah were used as sites for
major building projects that created low cost housing for the expanding
populations of the Jerusalem and Tel-Aviv areas. In most cases, the
land utilized for these projects was Jordanian 'Crown Land,' land to
which no individual could lay claim of private ownership. In the
absence of Jordan's willingness to enter into peace negotiations after
the war, Israel's expropriation of these unoccupied areas was legal in
as much as Israel's sovereignty, having been created via defensive
actions against an aggressor nation (Jordan), was legal.
cases where West Bank Arabs legally owned land that Israel wanted for
these expansion projects, Israel bought the land at fair market prices.
Land sale to Israel was fairly active throughout the decades after the
Six-day war. So much so that when the Palestinian Authority was
established in 1994, Chairman Arafat declared that sale of land to Jews
was punishable by death; as a result, Palestinian families who had
benefited from these sales were suddenly in mortal danger and some were
forced to flee the West Bank.
time, religious and right wing political pressure supported the
creation of settlements elsewhere in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Under Prime Ministers Begin and Rabin, these settlements proliferated.
Often they were founded near ancient Jewish holy sites, such as
Joseph's Tomb near Nablus (Biblical Shehem).
spokespersons claim that these settlements, some of which were built
well inside the West Bank or Gaza Strip areas, stole land from Arab
farmers. Israel claims that most land used for these developments was
unoccupied and un-owned, thus qualifying as 'Crown Land', upon which
Israel had full legal right to build and develop. Where privately owned
land was needed for settlement expansion, Israel claims to have
purchased that land from its legal owners at fair market values.
settlements were set up by break-away settlement occupants, often
contrary to IDF and/or government instructions, sometimes on privately
owned Palestinian land. Palestinian complaints about such illegal land
grabs have been adjudicated in the Israeli court system with decisions
not infrequently in favor of the Palestinians. These settlements,
whether on illegally taken land or not, are considered illegal by many
in Israel. Some have been forcibly dismantled. This is a very emotional
issue in Israel, with orthodox Jews demanding that all Jews be allowed
to settle anywhere in the Promised Land (especially anywhere in the
region where Abraham lived: i.e., the West Bank from Shechem/Nablus to