Last updated on: 7/21/2015 10:46:17 AM PST
What Are the Israeli Settlements in the Palestinian Territories?

General Reference (not clearly pro or con)
Joan Ferrante, PhD, Professor of Sociology at Northern Kentucky University, in her 2015 textbook titled Sociology: Global Perspectives, wrote:

"Settlements are Jewish-populated communities in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. These settlements are diverse in structure, ranging from outposts composed of trailers, campers, and tents to self-contained towns and cities with populations 10,000 or more. An estimated 325 such settlements house 325,000 Jewish residents."

2015 - Joan Ferrante, PhD 

Americans for Peace Now, the sister organization of Shalom Achshav, a non-governmental advocacy and activist group based in Israel, in the "Settlements 101" section of its website, available at (accessed July 17, 2015), wrote:

"'Settlement' is the term used to denote Israeli civilian communities built in territory conquered by Israel in the Six Day War (June 1967). This territory is comprised of the West Bank (including East Jerusalem), the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights and the Sinai Peninsula. These neighborhoods have been a major issue in the peace process since 1967 and remain highly controversial.

Settlements in the Sinai were evacuated and destroyed in 1979, following Israel's historic peace agreement with Egypt and the return of the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt. Settlements in the Gaza Strip were evacuated and destroyed as part of Israel's unilateral 'disengagement' from Gaza in 2005. Therefore, today settlements only exist in the Golan Heights and the West Bank (including East Jerusalem)…

The Israeli government has directly and indirectly funded or subsidized the construction of settlements, spurring debate and controversy in the international community. In addition, settlements receive funding from outside sources, including non-profit organizations that fundraise for them in the United States…

What is an Outpost?
Outposts are settlements built without official Israeli government sanction, typically after the mid-1990's, when the Israeli government undertook to stop approving new settlements. Unlike most settlements in the West Bank, outposts clearly violate Israeli law. However, some of the outposts have received funding from government agencies."

July 17, 2015 - Americans for Peace Now (APN) 

Locations of Israeli Settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem

Israeli settlements 2013

Source: United Nations Human Rights Council, "Report of the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission to Investigate the Implications of the Israeli Settlements on the Civil, Political, Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of the Palestinian People Throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Including East Jerusalem,"

United Nations Human Rights Council website, Feb. 7, 2013

Black dot = location of Israeli settlements
White square = Governorate capital
Dark grey shading = full Israeli control over security, planning and construction

Number of West Bank Settlers, 1993 - June 30, 2014


Settler graphic 2014

Source: Foundation for Middle East Peace,
published in an article by Jonathan Ferziger, "Israeli Settlements," Bloomberg View, June 4, 2015

The David Project, a US-based pro-Israel nonprofit which works to promote Israel on college campuses, in its primer titled "Understanding Settlements" available from their website (accessed July 17, 2015), wrote:

"The term 'settlements' is used by the international community to describe the towns, cities, villages, and outposts built in the territories acquired by Israel in the 1967 War between Israel, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, and Jordan. The term is also used to describe neighborhoods of eastern Jerusalem which have seen new construction and growth over the past 60 years… The communities contained in the disputed territories can be categorized along four major types: urban suburbs, settlement blocs, frontier villages, and outposts…

Urban Suburbs
The most significant settlement growth and development has occurred in the suburban areas in the Jordan Valley (in the West Bank), close to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem… Towns and cities like Ma'ale Adumim fall into this category. The proximity of Ma'ale Adumim to Jerusalem (a distance of five miles) makes it an attractive community for Israeli commuters, who are able to achieve a higher standard of living with less expensive housing costs than in Jerusalem. The community contains both secular and observant Israelis, with many recent immigrants, including a significant number from the United States. During final status negotiations, many believe that Israel will maintain sovereignty over these suburbs as there is little political support for evacuating communities that are essentially contiguous with major Israeli metropolitan areas that contain large populations (Ma'ale Adumim boasts a city population of approximately 40,000).

Bloc Settlements
The term 'bloc settlement' references larger, more urban settlements as well as the cluster of smaller townships surrounding the main urban center. In the West Bank, the largest settlement blocs are Ariel and Gush Etzion, all of which contain core communities surrounded by smaller villages... The Gush Etzion bloc's population is a diverse mix of secular and national-religious Israelis; its 22 settlements contain approximately 70,000 individuals. Ariel's population is also a mix of secular and national-religious Israelis. In final status agreements, Israel hopes to and expects to keep the settlements immediately adjacent to the 1949 armistice lines. However, there is concern regarding settlements further away from the borders, including the Ariel bloc, which is located about 31 miles from Jerusalem and protrudes more deeply into the West Bank.

Frontier Villages
Settlements in largely underdeveloped areas are often referred to as 'frontier villages' or 'outlying settlements.' These settlements are mostly located along the Jordan River, and tend to be populated by ideologically-motivated Israelis, Religious Zionists, and Orthodox Jews, although there are certainly secular Israelis among them… These settlements, along with the outposts (defined below), because of their distance from urban centers and low population density, may be areas that Israel is willing to concede in future negotiations.

Small, fledgling communities constructed throughout the West Bank are often described as 'outposts' in the media and in political discourse. Outposts, making up approximately 1% of Israeli settlements, are commonly divided into two distinct categories: unauthorized and illegal. Unauthorized outposts have been built on Israeli state land in the West Bank, generally between the years 1991-2004, and have never been legalized by the Israeli government. Illegal settlements have been constructed on privately-owned Palestinian land. There are approximately 100 such outposts, generally populated by ideologues, as in the example of Skali's Farm, a hilltop outpost home to 20 individuals."

July 17, 2015 - David Project 

B'Tselem, the Israeli Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, in the "Land Expropriations and Settlements," section of its website, last updated on Jan. 23, 2014, wrote:

"From 1967 to late 2012, 125 Israeli settlements were established in the West Bank that were recognized by the Ministry of the Interior as 'communities'. Also established:

• about 100 outposts (settlements built without official authorization but with support and assistance from government ministries).

• a number of Jewish settlement locales inside Hebron which receive government support.

• 12 neighborhoods in areas of the West Bank annexed by Israel in 1967 and assigned to Jerusalem's jurisdiction. The government has also funded and assisted in the establishment of several settler enclaves in the heart of Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem.

• 16 settlements in the Gaza Strip and four in the northern West Bank that were dismantled in 2005 in the course of the Disengagement Plan.

The settler population in the West Bank is estimated to be upwards of 531,000: in late 2012 the population of the West Bank settlements was 341,400; in late 2011 there were 190,423 individuals living in Israeli neighborhoods in East Jerusalem."

Jan. 23, 2014 - B'Tselem 

The Foundation for Middle East Peace, a Washington-based nonprofit which promotes peace between Israel and Palestine through education and advocacy, in the "Settlements" section of its website, available from (accessed July 17, 2015), wrote:

"By 2014 there were some 700,000 Israeli Jews living in settlements in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Over the years, Israel has abandoned all of its settlements in the Sinai Peninsula (which was returned to Egypt in a peace agreement) and the Gaza Strip, and even a few in the West Bank.

Settlements are divided into Regional Councils and the land surrounding them is held by those councils for future expansion. Because of this, the area of land designated for settlements is much greater than the land on which each settlement is actually built. Settlements are scattered throughout the West Bank, and the roads connecting them to Israel and to each other, which are off-limits to Palestinians, create a labyrinthine network which severely disrupts Palestinian traffic...

Israeli settlers in the West Bank live under Israeli civil law, while Palestinians are governed by Israeli military laws."

July 17, 2015 - Foundation for Middle East Peace (FMEP)