Archive for the ‘West Bank’ Category

3 soldiers lightly injured in suspected West Bank car …

Three IDF soldiers on foot patrol in the West Bank were lightly injured when a car with Palestinian license plates attempted to run them over in a suspected car-ramming attack on Saturday night before fleeing, the Israeli military said in a statement.

The incident occurred outside the Palestinian village of Husan, at the Al Khader Junction near the West Bank settlement of Beitar Illit in the Etzion bloc.

The IDF said it had launched a search for the alleged perpetrator.

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The injured soldiers received initial medical attention at the scene and were being transferred to hospital for further treatment, the military said.

“: 2 . ” 2 ” 1.

Posted by Rescuers Without Borders on Saturday, 23 June 2018

Earlier this month, Israeli troops thwarted an attempted car-ramming attack in the southern West Bank city of Hebron.

The driver of the vehicle tried to run over soldiers stationed on a road leading to the Tomb of the Patriarchs but was shot dead by troops, according to the IDF.

The army said the Palestinian assailant first attempted to run over an officer and another soldier with a small tractor.

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September 10, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: West Bank  Comments Closed

West Bank village prepares for homecoming of Ahed Tamimi

NABI SALEH, West Bank (AP) On the eve of Ahed Tamimi’s release from prison, the father of the Palestinian protest icon said Saturday that he expects her to take a lead in the struggle against Israeli occupation but that the 17-year-old is also weighing college options.

In Tamimi’s village of Nabi Saleh, supporters prepared for Sunday’s homecoming, planting Palestinian flags on the roof of her family home and setting up hundreds of chairs for well-wishers in the courtyard.

Ahed and her mother Nariman were arrested in December, after Ahed slapped two Israeli soldiers outside the family home and Nariman filmed the incident and posted it on Facebook. Both are to be released Sunday.

To Palestinians and their international supporters, Ahed has become a symbol of resistance to Israel’s half-century-old military rule over the Palestinians. She is easily recognizable with her unruly mop of curly hair.

In Israel, she is seen by many as either as a provocateur, an irritation or a threat to the military’s deterrence.

Ahed’s father Bassem said Saturday that after her release from prison, “we expect her to lead and we will support her to lead” in the fight to end occupation. He did not say what this would entail.

Israel captured the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem in the 1967 Mideast war. Palestinians are increasingly disillusioned about efforts to establish a state in those territories, after more than two decades of failed negotiations with Israel.

Bassem Tamimi said that his daughter completed her high school exams in prison, with the help of other prisoners who taught the required material. He said she initially hoped to attend a West Bank university but has also received scholarship offers abroad.

Ahed was 16 when she was arrested and turned 17 in custody. Her case has trained a spotlight on the detention of Palestinian minors by Israel, a practice that has been criticized by international rights groups. Some 300 minors are currently being held, according to Palestinian figures.

Meanwhile, Israeli troops on Saturday detained two Italian artists who had painted a large mural of Ahed Tamimi on Israel’s West Bank separation barrier, according to local activist Munther Amireh and amateur video posted online.

The video shows armed soldiers ordering the two men, along with a Palestinian activist, to get out of a car next to the separation barrier. They are led away through an opening in the barrier. Israel’s military had no immediate comment.

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July 28, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: West Bank  Comments Closed

Jordanian annexation of the West Bank – Wikipedia

The Jordanian annexation of the West Bank was the occupation and consequent annexation of the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) by Jordan (formerly Transjordan) in the aftermath of the 1948 ArabIsraeli War.[1][2] During the war, Jordan’s Arab Legion conquered the Old City of Jerusalem and took control of territory on the western side of the Jordan River, including the cities of Jericho, Bethlehem, Hebron and Nablus.[3] At the end of hostilities, Jordan was in complete control of the West Bank.

Following the December 1948 Jericho Conference, and the 1949 renaming of the country from Transjordan to Jordan, the West Bank was formally annexed on 24 April 1950.

The annexation was widely considered as illegal and void by the international community.[4] A month afterwards, the Arab League declared that they viewed the area “annexed by Jordan as a trust in its hands until the Palestine case is fully solved in the interests of its inhabitants.”[5] Recognition of Jordan’s declaration of annexation was only granted by the United Kingdom, Iraq and Pakistan.[6][7]

When Jordan transferred its full citizenship rights to the residents of the West Bank, the annexation more than doubled the population of Jordan.[3] The naturalized Palestinians enjoyed equal opportunities in all sectors of the state without discrimination, and they were given half of the seats of the Jordanian parliament.[8]

After Jordan lost the West Bank to Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War, the Palestinians there remained Jordanian citizens until Jordan decided to renounce claims and sever administrative ties with the territory in 1988.

Prior to hostilities in 1948, Palestine (modern-day West Bank, Gaza Strip and Israel) had been under the British Mandate for Palestine (legal instrument) control of the British Empire, which captured it from the Ottomans in 1917. The British, as custodians of the land, implemented the land tenure laws in Palestine, which it had inherited from the Ottoman (as defined in the Ottoman Land Code of 1858), applying these laws to both Arab and Jewish tenants, legal or otherwise.[9] Toward the expiration of the British Mandate, Arabs aspired for independence and self-determination, as did the Jews of the country.[10]

Following Israel’s declaration of independence on 14 May 1948, the Jordanian Arab Legion, under the leadership of Sir John Bagot Glubb, known as Glubb Pasha, was ordered to enter Palestine and secure the UN designated Arab area.[11] After the invasion, Jordan began making moves to perpetuate the Jordanian rule over the Arab part of Palestine. King Abdullah appointed governors on his behalf in the Arab cities of Ramallah, Hebron, Nablus, Bethlehem, Ramla and the Arab controlled part of Jerusalem, that were captured by Legion in the invasion. These governors were mostly Palestinians (including Aref al-Aref, Ibrahim Hashem and Ahmed Hilmi Pasha), and the Jordanians described them as “military” governors, so it wouldn’t anger the other Arab states, who opposed Jordan’s plans to incorporate the Arab part of Palestine into the kingdom. The king made other smaller moves towards the annexation of the West Bank: He ordered Palestinian policemen to wear the uniforms of the Jordanian police and its symbols; he instituted the use of Jordanian postage stamps instead of the British ones; Palestinian municipalities were not allowed to collect taxes and issue licenses; the radio of Ramallah called the locals to disobey the instructions of pro-Husseini officials and obey those of the Jordanian-backed governors.[12]

The December 1948 Jericho Conference, a meeting of prominent Palestinian leaders and King Abdullah I, voted in favor of annexation into what was then Transjordan.[13]

By the end of the war, Jordanian forces had control over the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. On 3 April 1949, Israel and Jordan signed an armistice agreement. The main points included:

The remainder of the area designated as part of an Arab state under the UN Partition Plan was partly occupied by Egypt (Gaza Strip), partly occupied and annexed by Israel (West Negev, West Galilee, Jaffa). The intended international enclave of Jerusalem was divided between Israel and Jordan. The Jordanians immediately expelled all the Jewish residents of East Jerusalem.[14] All but one of the 35 synagogues in the Old City were destroyed over the course of the next 19 years, either razed or used as stables and chicken coops. Many other historic and religiously significant buildings were replaced by modern structures.[15][16] The ancient Jewish cemetery on Mount of Olives was desecrated, and the tombstones were used for construction, paving roads and lining latrines; the highway to the Intercontinental Hotel was built on top of the site.[17]

Armistice Demarcation Lines, 19491967

In March 1948, the British Cabinet had agreed that the civil and military authorities in Palestine should make no effort to oppose the setting up of a Jewish State or a move into Palestine from Transjordan.[18]

The United States, together with the United Kingdom favoured the annexation by Transjordan. The UK preferred to permit King Abdullah to annex the territory at the earliest date, while the United States preferred to wait until after the conclusion of the Palestine Conciliation Commission brokered negotiations.[19]

Jordan formally annexed the West Bank on 24 April 1950, giving all residents automatic Jordanian citizenship. West Bank residents had already received the right to claim Jordanian citizenship in December 1949.

Jordan’s annexation was widely regarded as illegal and void by the Arab League and others. Elihu Lauterpacht described it as a move that “entirely lacked legal justification.”[20] The annexation formed part of Jordan’s “Greater Syria Plan” expansionist policy,[21] and in response, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Syria joined Egypt in demanding Jordan’s expulsion from the Arab League.[22][23] A motion to expel Jordan from the League was prevented by the dissenting votes of Yemen and Iraq.[24] On 12 June 1950, the Arab League declared the annexation was a temporary, practical measure and that Jordan was holding the territory as a “trustee” pending a future settlement.[25][26] On 27 July 1953, King Hussein of Jordan announced that East Jerusalem was “the alternative capital of the Hashemite Kingdom” and would form an “integral and inseparable part” of Jordan.[27] In an address to parliament in Jerusalem in 1960, Hussein called the city the “second capital of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan”.[28]

Only the United Kingdom formally recognized the annexation of the West Bank, de facto in the case of East Jerusalem.[29] The United States Department of State also recognized this extension of Jordanian sovereignty.[30][31] Pakistan is often claimed to have recognized Jordan’s annexation too, but this is dubious.[32][33]

In 1950, the British extended formal recognition to the union between the Hashemite Kingdom and that part of Palestine under Jordanian occupation and control – with the exception of Jerusalem. The British government stated that it regarded the provisions of the Anglo-Jordan Treaty of Alliance of 1948 as applicable to all the territory included in the union.[34] Despite Arab League opposition, the inhabitants of the West Bank became citizens of Jordan.

Tensions continued between Jordan and Israel through the early 1950s, with Palestinian guerrillas and Israeli commandos crossing the Green Line. Abdullah I of Jordan, who had become Emir of Transjordan in 1921 and King in 1923, was assassinated in 1951 during a visit to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount in East Jerusalem by a Palestinian gunman following rumours that he was discussing a peace treaty with Israel. The trial found that this assassination had been planned by Colonel Abdullah el-Tell, ex-military governor of Jerusalem, and Musa Abdullah Husseini. He was succeeded by his grandson King Hussein of Jordan once he came of age in 1953, after his father Talal’s brief reign.

Unlike any other Arab country to which they fled after the 1948 ArabIsraeli War, Palestinian refugees in the West Bank (and on the East Bank) were given Jordanian citizenship on the same basis as existing residents.[35] However, many of the refugees continued to live in camps and relied on UNRWA assistance for sustenance. Palestinian refugees constituted more than a third of the kingdom’s population of 1.5 million.

In the Jordanian parliament, the West and East Banks received 30 seats each, having roughly equal populations. The first elections were held on 11 April 1950. Although the West Bank had not yet been annexed, its residents were permitted to vote. The last Jordanian elections in which West Bank residents would vote were those of April 1967, but their parliamentary representatives would continue in office until 1988, when West Bank seats were finally abolished. Palestinians enjoyed equal opportunities in all sectors of the state without discrimination.[8]

Agriculture remained the primary activity of the territory. The West Bank, despite its smaller area, contained half of Jordan’s agricultural land. In 1966, 43% of the labor force of 55,000 worked in agriculture, and 2,300km were under cultivation. (Numbers that have fallen considerably since.) In 1965, 15,000 workers were employed in industry, producing 7% of the GNP. This number fell after the 1967 war, and would not be surpassed until 1983.[36] The tourism industry also played an important role. 26 branches of 8 Arab banks were present. The Jordanian dinar became legal tender, and remains so there today.[citation needed]

There was a significant flow of population from the West Bank to East Bank, in particular to the capital, Amman.

Clauses in the 3 April 1949 Armistice Agreements specified that Israelis would have access to the religious sites in East Jerusalem. However, Jordan refused to implement this clause arguing that Israel’s refusal to permit the return of Palestinians to their homes in West Jerusalem voided that clause in the agreement.[37] Tourists entering East Jerusalem had to present baptismal certificates or other proof they were not Jewish.[38][39][40]

The special committee that was to make arrangements for visits to holy places was never formed and Israelis, irrespective of religion, were barred from entering the Old City and other holy sites.[41] The Jewish Quarter and its ancient synagogues were systematically destroyed such as the Hurva Synagogue[42][43] and gravestones from the Jewish Cemetery on the Mount of Olives were used to build latrines for Jordanian army barracks.[44][45]

By the end of the Six-Day War, the formerly Jordanian-controlled West Bank with its one million Palestinian population had come under Israeli military occupation. About 300,000 Palestinian refugees fled to Jordan. After 1967, all religious groups were granted administration over their own holy sites, while administration of the Temple Mount sacred to Jews, Christians, and Muslims remained in the hands of the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf.

On 31 July 1988, Jordan renounced its claims to the West Bank (with the exception of guardianship over the Muslim and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem), and recognized the Palestine Liberation Organization as “the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.”[46][47]

The 1993 Oslo Accords between the PLO and Israel “opened the road for Jordan to proceed on its own negotiating track with Israel.”[48] The Washington Declaration[49] was initialled one day after the Oslo Accords were signed. “On July 25, 1994, King Hussein met with Israeli Prime Minister Rabin in the Rose Garden of the White House, where they signed the Washington Declaration, formally ending the 46-year state of war between Jordan and Israel.”[48] Finally, on 26 October 1994, Jordan signed the IsraelJordan peace treaty, which normalized relations between the two countries and resolved territorial disputes between them.

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Israeli settlement – Wikipedia

Israeli settlements are civilian communities[i] inhabited by Israeli citizens, almost exclusively of Jewish ethnicity,[1][2] built predominantly on lands within the Palestinian territories, which Israel has militarily occupied since the 1967 Six-Day War,[3] and partly on lands considered Syrian territory also militarily occupied by Israel since the 1967 war. Such settlements within Palestinian territories currently exist in Area C of the West Bank and in East Jerusalem, and within Syrian territory in the Golan Heights.

Following the 1967 war, Israeli settlements also existed within Egyptian territory in the Sinai Peninsula, and within the Palestinian territory of the Gaza Strip; however, Israel evacuated the Sinai settlements following the 1979 EgyptIsrael peace agreement and from the Gaza Strip in 2005 under Israel’s unilateral disengagement plan. Israel dismantled 18 settlements in the Sinai Peninsula in 1982, while in 2005[4] all 21 settlements in the Gaza Strip were dismantled, but only four in the West Bank. In the West Bank, however, Israel continues to expand its remaining settlements as well as settling new areas,[5][6][7][8][9] despite pressure from the international community to desist. According to the Israeli investigative reporter Uri Blau, settlements received funding by private tax-exempt U.S. NGOs of $220 million for 20092013, suggesting that the U.S. is indirectly subsidizing their creation.[10]

The international community considers the settlements in occupied territory to be illegal,[11] and the United Nations has repeatedly upheld the view that Israel’s construction of settlements constitutes a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention.[12][13]

The Israeli-occupied area known as East Jerusalem (Palestinian territory adjacent to West Jerusalem within Israel proper, together forming greater Jerusalem) and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights (within Syrian territory) are also considered settlements by the international community despite Israel having enacted domestic Israeli legislation declaring territorial annexation to Israel, which is also not recognised by the international community.[14] The International Court of Justice also says these purportedly annexed settlements are illegal in a 2004 advisory opinion.[15][16][17]

In April 2012, UN secretary general Ban Ki-Moon, in response to moves by Israel to legalise Israeli outposts, reiterated that all settlement activity is illegal, and “runs contrary to Israel’s obligations under the Road Map and repeated Quartet calls for the parties to refrain from provocations.”[18] Similar criticism was advanced by the EU and the US.[19][20] Israel disputes the position of the international community and the legal arguments that were used to declare the settlements illegal.[21] In December 2016 United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 confirmed the illegality of the settlement enterprise and renders Israeli citizens involved with settling the West Bank vulnerable to lawsuits throughout the world.[22]

The presence and ongoing expansion of existing settlements by Israel and the construction of settlement outposts is frequently criticized as an obstacle to the IsraeliPalestinian peace process by the Palestinians,[23] and third parties such as the OIC,[24] the United Nations,[25] Russia,[26] the United Kingdom,[27] France,[28] the European Union,[29] and the United States have echoed those criticisms.[25]

Settlement has an economic dimension, much of it driven by the significantly lower costs of housing for Israeli citizens living in Israeli settlements compared to the cost of housing and living in Israel proper.[30] Government spending per citizen in the settlements is double that spent per Israeli citizen in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, while government spending for settlers in isolated Israeli settlements is three times the Israeli national average. Most of the spending goes to the security of the Israeli citizens living there.[31]

On 30 June 2014, according to the Yesha Council, 382,031 Israeli citizens lived in the 121 officially recognised Israeli settlements in the West Bank, almost exclusively Jewish citizens of Israel. A number of Palestinian non-Israeli citizens (as opposed to Arab citizens of Israel) also reside in Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem,[32] however, over 300,000 Israeli citizens (both Jewish citizens of Israel and Arab citizens of Israel) lived in settlements in East Jerusalem, and over 20,000 Israeli citizens lived in settlements in the Golan Heights.[33][34][35] In January 2015 the Israeli Interior Ministry gave figures of 389,250 Israeli citizens living in the West Bank and a further 375,000 Israeli citizens living in East Jerusalem.[36]

Settlements range in character from farming communities and frontier villages to urban suburbs and neighborhoods. The four largest settlements, Modi’in Illit, Ma’ale Adumim, Beitar Illit and Ariel, have achieved city status. Ariel has 18,000 residents, while the rest have around 37,000 to 55,500 each.

The 1967 Six-Day War left Israel in control of [37]

As early as 1967, Israeli settlement policy was started by the Labor government of Levi Eshkol. The basis for Israeli settlement in the West Bank became the Allon Plan,[38][39] named after its inventor Yigal Allon. It implied Israeli annexation of major parts of the Israeli-occupied territories, especially East Jerusalem, Gush Etzion and the Jordan Valley.[citation needed] The settlement policy of the government of Yitzhak Rabin, was also derived from the Allon Plan.[40]

The first settlement was Kfar Etzion, in the southern West Bank,[38][41] although that location was outside the Allon Plan. Many settlements began as Nahal settlements. They were established as military outposts and later expanded and populated with civilian inhabitants. According to a secret document dating to 1970, obtained by Haaretz, the settlement of Kiryat Arba was established by confiscating land by military order and falsely representing the project as being strictly for military use while in reality, Kiryat Arba was planned for settler use. The method of confiscating land by military order for establishing civilian settlements was an open secret in Israel throughout the 1970s, but publication of the information was suppressed by the military censor.[42][43]

The Likud government of Menahem Begin, from 1977, was more supportive to settlement in other parts of the West Bank, by organizations like Gush Emunim and the Jewish Agency/World Zionist Organization, and intensified the settlement activities.[40][44][45] In a government statement, Likud declared that the entire historic Land of Israel is the inalienable heritage of the Jewish people, and that no part of the West Bank should be handed over to foreign rule.[46] Ariel Sharon declared in the same year (1977) that there was a plan to settle 2 million Jews in the West Bank by 2000.[47] The government abrogated the prohibition from purchasing occupied land by Israelis; the “Drobles Plan”, a plan for large-scale settlement in the West Bank meant to prevent a Palestinian state under the pretext of security became the framework for its policy.[48][A] The “Drobles Plan” from the World Zionist Organization, dated October 1978 and named “Master Plan for the Development of Settlements in Judea and Samaria, 19791983”, was written by the Jewish Agency director and former Knesset member Matityahu Drobles. In January 1981, the government adopted a follow up-plan from Drobles, dated September 1980 and named “The current state of the settlements in Judea and Samaria”, with more details about settlement strategy and policy.[49][B]

Since 1967, government-funded settlement projects in the West Bank are implemented by the “Settlement Division” of the World Zionist Organization.[50] Though formally a non-governmental organization, it is funded by the Israeli government and leases lands from the Civil Administration to settle in the West Bank. It is authorized to create settlements in the West Bank on lands licensed to it by the Civil Administration.[38] Traditionally, the Settlement Division has been under the responsibility of the Agriculture Ministry. Since the Olso Accords, it was always housed within the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). In 2007, it was moved back to the Agriculture Ministry. In 2009, the Netanyahu Government decided to subject all settlement activities to additional approval of the Prime Minister and the Defense Minister. In 2011, Netanyahu sought to move the Settlement Division again under the direct control of (his own) PMO, and to curtail Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s authority.[50]

At the presentation of the Oslo II Accord on 5 October 1995 in the Knesset, PM Yitzhak Rabin expounded the Israeli settlement policy in connection with the permanent solution to the conflict. Israel wanted “a Palestinian entity, less than a state, which will be a home to most of the Palestinian residents living in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank”. It wanted to keep settlements beyond the Green Line including Ma’ale Adumim and Givat Ze’ev in East Jerusalem. Blocs of settlements should be established in the West Bank. Rabin promised not to return to the 4 June 1967 lines.[51]

In June 1997, the Likud government of Benjamin Netanyahu presented its “Allon Plus Plan”. This plan holds the retention of some 60% of the West Bank, including the “Greater Jerusalem” area with the settlements Gush Etzion and Ma’aleh Adumim, other large concentrations of settlements in the West Bank, the entire Jordan Valley, a “security area”, and a network of Israeli-only bypass roads.[52][53]

In the Road map for peace of 2002, which was never implemented, the establishment of a Palestinian state was acknowledged. Outposts would be dismantled. However, many new outposts appeared instead, few were removed. Israel’s settlement policy remained unchanged. Settlements in East Jerusalem and remaining West Bank were expanded.

While according to official Israeli policy no new settlements were built, at least some hundred unauthorized outposts were established since 2002 with state funding in the 60% of the West Bank that was not under Palestinian administrative control and the population growth of settlers did not diminish.

In 2005, all 21 settlements in the Gaza Strip and four in the northern West Bank were forcibly evacuated as part of Israeli disengagement from the Gaza Strip, known to some in Israel as “the Expulsion”.[4] However, the disengagement was more than compensated by transfers to the West Bank.[54]

After the failure of the Roadmap, several new plans emerged to settle in major parts of the West Bank. In 2011, Haaretz revealed the Civil Administration’s “Blue Line”-plan, written in January 2011, which aims to increase Israeli “state-ownership” of West Bank lands (“state lands”) and settlement in strategic areas like the Jordan Valley and the Palestinian northern Dead Sea area.[55] In March 2012, it was revealed that the Civil Administration over the years covertly allotted 10% of the West Bank for further settlement. Provisional names for future new settlements or settlement expansions were already assigned. The plan includes many Palestinian built-up sites in the Areas A and B.[56]

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, and Ariel (almost 20,000 residents). Some are towns with a local council status with populations of 2,00020,0000, such as Alfei Menashe, Eli, Elkana, Efrat and Kiryat Arba. There are also clusters of villages governed by a local elected committee and regional councils that are responsible for municipal services. Examples are Kfar Adumim, Neve Daniel, Kfar Tapuach and Ateret. Kibbutzim and moshavim in the territories include Argaman, Gilgal, Niran and Yitav. Jewish neighborhoods have been built on the outskirts of Arab neighborhoods, for example in Hebron. In Jerusalem, there are urban neighborhoods where Jews and Arabs live together: the Muslim Quarter, Silwan, Abu Tor, Sheikh Jarrah and Shimon HaTzadik.

Under the Oslo Accords, the West Bank was divided into three separate parts designated as Area A, Area B and Area C. Leaving aside the position of East Jerusalem, all of the settlements are in Area C which comprises about 60% of the West Bank.

Some settlements were established on sites where Jewish communities had existed during the British Mandate of Palestine.

Other communities: Shimon HaTzadik, Neve Yaakov and Atarot which in post-1967 was rebuilt as an industrial zone.

At the end of 2010, 534,224 Jewish Israeli lived in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. 314,132 of them lived in the 121 authorised settlements and 102 unauthorised settlement outposts on the West Bank, 198,629 were living in East Jerusalem, and almost 20,000 lived in settlements in the Golan Heights.

In 2011, 328,423 Israeli Jews were living on the West Bank, excluding Jerusalem, and the Jewish population in the Golan Heights exceeded 20,000.[54]

For the year 2012, the Jewish population in the West Bank settlements excluding East Jerusalem was expected to rise to 350,000.[75]In May 2014, the Israeli Housing Minister Uri Ariel, who himself lives in the West Bank settlement of Kfar Adumim, put the settler population at up to 750,000: 400,000 in the West Bank and up to 350,000 in East Jerusalem. He stated: “I think that in five years there will be 550,000 or 600,000 Jews in Judea and Samaria, rather than 400,000 (now)”.[76]

By the end of 2016, the West Bank Jewish population rose to 420,899, excluding East Jerusalem, where there were more than 200,000 Jews.[77]

Note: due to change of definition, the number of settlements in the West Bank decreased in 1997 from 138 to 121 (outposts not included).

Based on various sources,[54][76][78][79][80][81][82][83] population dispersal can be estimated as follows:

-4,400[85]

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.[88] Population growth has continued in the 2000s.[89] According to the BBC, the settlements in the West Bank have been growing at a rate of 56% since 2001.[90] In 2016, there were sixty thousand American Israelis living in settlements in the West Bank.[91]

The establishment of settlements in the Palestinian territories is linked to the displacement of the Palestinian populations as evidenced by a 1979 Security Council Commission which established a link between Israeli settlements and the displacement of the local population. The commission also found that those who remained were under consistent pressure to leave to make room for further settlers who were being encouraged into the area. In conclusion the commission stated that settlement in the Palestinian territories was causing “profound and irreversible changes of a geographic and demographic nature”.[92]

The Israeli settlements in the West Bank make up what Israel calls the Judea and Samaria Area. Since December 2007, approval by both the Israeli Prime Minister and Israeli Defense Minister of all settlement activities (including planning) in the West Bank is required.[93] Authority for planning and construction is held by the Israel Defense Forces Civil Administration.

The area consists of four cities, thirteen local councils and six regional councils.

The Yesha Council (Hebrew: “, Moatzat Yesha, a Hebrew acronym for Judea, Samaria and Gaza) is the umbrella organization of municipal councils in the West Bank.

The actual buildings of the Israeli settlements cover only 1 percent of the West Bank, but their jurisdiction and their regional councils extend to about 42 percent of the West Bank, according to the Israeli NGO B’Tselem. Yesha Council chairman Dani Dayan disputes the figures and claims that the settlements only control 9.2 percent of the West Bank.[94]

Between 2001 and 2007 more than 10,000 Israeli settlement units were built, while 91 permits were issued for Palestinian construction, and 1,663 Palestinian structures were demolished in Area C.[95]

West Bank Palestinians have their cases tried in Israel’s military courts while Jewish Israeli settlers living in the same occupied territory are tried in civil courts.[96] The arrangement has been described as “de facto segregation” by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.[97] A bill to formally extend Israeli law to the Israeli settlements in the West Bank was rejected in 2012.[98]

On 31 August 2014, Israel announced it was appropriating 400 hectares of land in the West Bank to eventually house 1,000 Israel families. The appropriation was described as the largest in more than 30 years.[99] According to reports on Israel Radio, the development is a response to the 2014 kidnapping and murder of Israeli teenagers.[99]

East Jerusalem is defined in the Jerusalem Law as part of Israel and its capital, Jerusalem. As such it is administered as part of the city and its district, the Jerusalem District. 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.

The Golan Heights is administered under Israeli civil law as the Golan sub-district, a part of the Northern District. Israel makes no legal or administrative distinction between pre-1967 communities in the Golan Heights (mainly Druze) and the post-1967 settlements.

After the capture of the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt in the 1967 Six-Day War, settlements were established along the Gulf of Aqaba and in the northeast, just below the Gaza Strip. It had plans to expand the settlement of Yamit into a city with a population of 200,000,[100] though the actual population of Yamit did not exceed 3,000.[101] The Sinai Peninsula was returned to Egypt in stages beginning in 1979 as part of the EgyptIsrael 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.

Before Israel’s unilateral disengagement plan in which the Israeli settlements were evacuated, there were 21 settlements in the Gaza Strip under the administration of the Hof Aza Regional Council. The land was allocated in such a way that each Israeli settler disposed of 400 times the land available to the Palestinian refugees, and 20 times the volume of water allowed to the peasant farmers of the Strip.[102]

The consensus view[103] in the international community is that the existence of Israeli settlements in the West Bank including East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights is in violation of international law.[104] The Fourth Geneva Convention includes statements such as “the Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies”.[105]

At present, the view of the international community, as reflected in numerous UN resolutions, regards the building and existence of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights as a violation of international law.[106][107][108] UN Security Council Resolution 446 refers to the Fourth Geneva Convention 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[109] as has the primary judicial organ of the UN, the International Court of Justice.[110]

The position of successive Israeli governments is that all authorized settlements are entirely legal and consistent with international law.[111] In practice, Israel does not accept that the Fourth Geneva Convention applies de jure, but has stated that on humanitarian issues it will govern itself de facto by its provisions, without specifying which these are.[112][113] The scholar and jurist Eugene Rostow[114] has disputed the illegality of authorized settlements.

Under Israeli law, West Bank settlements must meet specific criteria to be legal.[115] In 2009, there were approximately 100[90] small communities that did not meet these criteria and are referred to as illegal outposts.[116][117][118]

In 2014 twelve EU countries warned businesses against involving themselves in the settlements. According to the warnings, economic activities relating to the settlements involve legal and economic risks stemming from the fact that the settlements are built on occupied land not recognized as Israel’s.[119][120]

After the Six-Day War, in 1967, Theodor Meron, 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.”[121]

This legal opinion was sent to Prime Minister Levi Eshkol. However, it was not made public at the time. The Labor cabinet allowed settlements despite the warning. This paved the way for future settlement growth. In 2007, Meron stated that “I believe that I would have given the same opinion today.”[122]

In 1978, the Legal Adviser of the Department of State of the United States reached the same conclusion.[116][123]

The International Court of Justice, in its advisory opinion, has since 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.[124]

International intergovernmental organizations such as the Conference of the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention,[125] major organs of the United Nations,[126] the European Union, and Canada,[127] also 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.”[128] Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch have also characterized the settlements as a violation of international law.

In late January 2013 a report drafted by three justices, presided over by Christine Chanet, and issued by the United Nations Human Rights Council declared that Jewish settlements constituted a creeping annexation based on multiple violations of the Geneva Conventions and international law, and stated that if Palestine ratified the Rome Accord, Israel could be tried for “gross violations of human rights law and serious violations of international humanitarian law.’ A spokesman for Israel’s Foreign Ministry declared the report unfortunate’ and accused the UN’s Human Rights Council of a “systematically one-sided and biased approach towards Israel.” [129]

According to Talia Sasson, the High Court of Justice in Israel, with a variety of different justices sitting, has repeatedly stated for more than 4 decades that Israel’s presence in the West Bank is in violation of international law.[130]

Four prominent jurists cited the concept of the “sovereignty vacuum” in the immediate aftermath of the Six-Day War to describe the legal status of the West Bank and Gaza:[131] Yehuda Zvi Blum in 1968,[132] Elihu Lauterpacht in 1968,[133] Julius Stone in 1969[134] and 1981,[135] and Stephen M. Schwebel in 1970.[136] Eugene V. Rostow also argued in 1979 that the occupied territories’ legal status was undetermined.[137]

Professor Ben Saul took exception to this view, arguing that Article 49(6) can be read to include voluntary or assisted transfers, as indeed it was in the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice which had expressed this interpretation in the Israeli Wall Advisory Opinion (2003).[141]

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.[142] Israel argues that its settlement policy is consistent with international law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention, while recognising that some settlements have been constructed illegally on private land.[143] 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.[144][145][146] In 1998 the Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs produced “The International Criminal Court Background Paper”.[147] 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 was held in Rome in 1998, where Israel was one of seven countries to vote against the Rome Statute to establish the International Criminal Court. Israel was opposed to a provision that included as a war crime the transfer of civilian populations into territory the government occupies.[148] Israel has signed the statute, but not ratified the treaty.[149]

By Israeli law, privately owned land can not be part of a settlement, unless the land in question has been confiscated for military purposes.[115] In 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.[150] Peace Now called this a violation of Israeli law.[151] Peace Now published a comprehensive report about settlements on private lands.[152][153] In the wake of a legal battle, Peace Now lowered the figure to 32 percent, which the Civil Administration also denied.[154] 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.”[155]

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.”[156] The unauthorized seizure of private Palestinian land was defined by the Civil Administration itself as ‘theft.'[157] According to B’Tselem, more than 42 percent of the West Bank are under control of the Israeli settlements, 21 percent of which was seized from private Palestinian owners, much of it in violation of the 1979 Israeli Supreme Court decision.[94]

In 1979, the government decided to extend settlements or build new ones only on “state lands”.[55][115]

A secret database, drafted by a retired senior officer, Baruch Spiegel, on orders from former defense minister Shaul Mofaz, found that some settlements deemed legal by Israel were illegal outposts, and that large portions of Ofra, Elon Moreh and Beit El were built on private Palestinian land. The “Spiegel report” was revealed by Haaretz in 2009. Many settlements are largely built on private lands, without approval of the Israeli Government.[158] 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.[159] 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 rule. B’Tselem charged that Israel is using the absence of modern legal documents for the communal land as a legal basis for expropriating it. These “abandoned lands” are sometimes laundered through a series of fraudulent sales.[160]

According to Amira Hass, one of the techniques used by Israel to expropriate Palestinian land is to place desired areas under a ‘military firing zone’ classification, and then issue orders for the evacuation of Palestinians from the villages in that range, while allowing contiguous Jewish settlements to remain unaffected.[161]

Amnesty International argues that Israel’s settlement policy is discriminatory and a violation of Palestinian human rights.[162] B’Tselem claims that Israeli travel restrictions impact on Palestinian freedom of movement[163] and Palestinian human rights have been violated in Hebron due to the presence of the settlers within the city.[164][165][166] 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.[167] The roads built by Israel in the West Bank to serve the settlements are closed to Palestinian vehicles'[168][169] and act as a barrier often between villages and the lands on which they subsist.[170]

Human Rights Watch and other human rights observer volunteer regularly file reports on “settler violence,” referring to stoning and shooting incidents involving Israeli settlers.[171] Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza and Hebron have led to violent settler protests and disputes over land and resources. Meron Benvenisti described the settlement enterprise as a “commercial real estate project that conscripts Zionist rhetoric for profit.”[172]

The construction of the Israeli West Bank barrier 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.[173][174]

In July 2012, the UN Human Rights Council decided to set up a probe into Jewish settlements. The report of the independent international fact-finding mission which investigated the “implications of the Israeli settlements on the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the Palestinian people throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory” was published in February 2013.[175]

Goods produced in Israeli settlements are able to stay competitive on the global market, in part because of massive state subsidies they receive from the Israeli government. Farmers and producers are given state assistance, while companies that set up in the territories receive tax breaks and direct government subsidies. An Israeli government fund has also been established to help companies pay customs penalties.[176] Palestinian officials estimate that settlers sell goods worth some $500 million to the Palestinian market.[177] Israel has built 16 industrial zones, containing roughly 1000 industrial plants, in the West Bank and East Jerusalem on acreage that consumes large parts of the territory planned for a future Palestinian state. According to Jodi Rudoren these installations both entrench the occupation and provide work for Palestinians, even those opposed to it. The 16 parks are located at Shaked, Beka’ot, Baran, Karnei Shomron, Emmanuel, Barkan, Ariel, Shilo, Halamish, Ma’ale Efraim, Sha’ar Binyamin, Atarot, Mishor Adumim, Gush Etzion, Kiryat Arba and Metarim (2001).[178]

According to Israeli government estimates, $230 million worth of settler goods including fruit, vegetables, cosmetics, textiles and toys are exported to the EU each year, accounting for approximately 2% of all Israeli exports to Europe.[176] A 2013 report of Profundo revealed that at least 38 Dutch companies imported settlement products.[179]

European Union law requires a distinction to be made between goods originating in Israel and those from the occupied territories. The former benefit from preferential custom treatment according to the EU-Israel Association Agreement (2000); the latter don’t, having been explicitly excluded from the agreement.[176][180] In practice, however, settler goods often avoid mandatory customs through being labelled as originating in Israel, while European customs authorities commonly fail to complete obligatory postal code checks of products to ensure they have not originated in the occupied territories.[176][179]

In 2009, the United Kingdom’s Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs issued new guidelines concerning labelling of goods imported from the West Bank. The new guidelines require labelling to clarify whether West Bank products originate from settlements or from the Palestinian economy. Israel’s foreign ministry said that the UK was “catering to the demands of those whose ultimate goal is the boycott of Israeli products”; but this was denied by the UK government, who said that the aim of the new regulations was to allow consumers to choose for themselves what produce they buy.[180] Denmark has similar legislation requiring food products from settlements in the occupied territories to be accurately labelled.[176]

A Palestinian report argued in 2011 that settlements have a detrimental effect on the Palestinian economy, equivalent to about 85% of the nominal gross domestic product of Palestine, and that the “occupation enterprise” allows the state of Israel and commercial firms to profit from Palestinian natural resources and tourist potential.[181] A 2013 report published by the World Bank analysed the impact that the limited access to Area C lands and resources had on the Palestinian economy. While settlements represent a single axis of control, it is the largest with 68% of the Area C lands reserved for the settlements. The report goes on to calculate that access to the lands and resources of Area C, including the territory in and around settlements, would increase the Palestinian GDP by some $3.5 billion (or 35%) per year.[182]

The Israeli Supreme Court has ruled that Israeli companies are entitled to exploit the West Bank’s natural resources for economic gain, and that international law must be “adapted” to the “reality on the ground” of long-term occupation.[183]

Due to the availability of jobs offering twice the prevailing salary of the West Bank (as of August2013[update]), as well as high unemployment, tens of thousands of Palestinians work in Israeli settlements.[184][185] According to the Manufacturers Association of Israel, some 22,000 Palestinians were employed in construction, agriculture, manufacturing and service industries.[186] An Al-Quds University study in 2011 found that 82% of Palestinian workers said they would prefer to not work in Israeli settlements if they had alternative employment in the West Bank.[184]

Palestinians have been highly involved in the construction of settlements in the West Bank. In 2013, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics released their survey showing that the number of Palestinian workers who are employed by the Jewish settlements increased from 16,000 to 20,000 in the first quarter.[185] The survey also found that Palestinians who work in Israel and the settlements are paid more than twice their salary compared to what they receive from Palestinian employers.[185]

In 2008, Kav LaOved charged that Palestinians who work in Israeli settlements are not granted basic protections of Israeli labor law. Instead, they are employed under Jordanian labor law, which does not require minimum wage, payment for overtime and other social rights. In 2007, the Supreme Court of Israel 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.[187]

According to Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, 63% of Palestinians opposed PA plans to prosecute Palestinians who work in the settlements. However, 72% of Palestinians support a boycott of the products they sell.[188] Although the Palestinian Authority has criminalized working in the settlements, the director-general at the Palestinian Ministry of Labor, Samer Salameh, described the situation in February 2014 as being “caught between two fires”. He said “We strongly discourage work in the settlements, since the entire enterprise is illegal and illegitimate…but given the high unemployment rate and the lack of alternatives, we do not enforce the law that criminalizes work in the settlements.”[184]

Gush Emunim Underground was a militant organization that operated in 19791984. The organization planned attacks on Palestinian officials and the Dome of the Rock.[189][190] In 1994, Baruch Goldstein of Hebron, a member of Kach carried out the Cave of the Patriarchs massacre, 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.[191] Violence perpetrated by Israeli settlers against Palestinians constitutes terrorism according to the U.S. Department of State, and former IDF Head of Central Command Avi Mizrahi stated that such violence constitutes “terror.”[192]

In mid-2008, a UN report recorded 222 acts of Israeli settler violence against Palestinians and IDF troops compared with 291 in 2007.[193] This trend reportedly increased in 2009.[194] Maj-Gen Shamni said that the number had risen from a few dozen individuals to hundreds, and called it “a very grave phenomenon.”[193] In 20082009, the defense establishment adopted a harder line against the extremists.[194] This group responded with a tactic dubbed “price tagging,” vandalizing Palestinian property whenever police or soldiers were sent in to dismantle outposts.[195] From January through to September 2013, 276 attacks by settlers against Palestinians were recorded.[196]

Leading religious figures in the West Bank have harshly criticized these tactics. Rabbi Menachem Froman of Tekoa said that “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.”[197] The Yesha Council and Hanan Porat also condemned such actions.[198] Other rabbis have been accused of inciting violence against non-Jews.[199] In response to settler violence, the Israeli government said that it would increase law enforcement and cut off aid to illegal outposts.[200] Some settlers are thought to lash out at Palestinians because they are “easy victims.”[201] The United Nations accused Israel of failing to intervene and arrest settlers suspected of violence.[202] 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.”[203]

In September 2011, settlers vandalized a mosque and an army base. They slashed tires and cut cables of 12 army vehicles and sprayed graffiti.[204] In November 2011, the United Nations Office for Coordination of Human Affairs (OCHA) in the Palestinian territories published a report on settler violence that showed a significant rise compared to 2009 and 2010. The report covered physical violence and property damage such as uprooted olive trees, damaged tractors and slaughtered sheep. The report states that 90% of complaints filed by Palestinians have been closed without charge.[205]

According to EU reports, Israel has created an “atmosphere of impunity” for Jewish attackers, which is seen as tantamount to tacit approval by the state. In the West Bank, Jews and Palestinians live under two different legal regimes and it is difficult for Palestinians to lodge complaints, which must be filed in Hebrew in Israeli settlements.[206]

The 27 ministers of foreign affairs of the European Union published a report in May 2012 strongly denouncing policies of the State of Israel in the West Bank and denouncing “continuous settler violence and deliberate provocations against Palestinian civilians.”[207] The report by all EU ministers called “on the government of Israel to bring the perpetrators to justice and to comply with its obligations under international law.”[207]

In July 2014, a day after the burial of three murdered Israeli teens. Khdeir, a 16-year-old Palestinian, was forced into a car by 3 Israeli settlers on an East Jerusalem street. His family immediately reported the fact to Israeli Police who located his charred body a few hours later at Givat Shaul in the Jerusalem Forest. Preliminary results from the autopsy suggested that he was beaten and burnt while still alive.[208][209][210][211] The murder suspects explained the attack as a response to the June abduction and murder of three Israeli teens.[212][213] The murders contributed to a breakout of hostilities in the 2014 IsraelGaza conflict.[214] In July 2015, a similar incident occurred where Israeli settlers made an arson attack on two Palestinian houses, one of which was empty; however, the other was occupied, resulting in the burning to death of a Palestinian infant; the four other members of his family were evacuated to the hospital suffering serious injuries.[215] These two incidents received condemnation from the United States, European Union and the IDF.[216] The European Union criticized Israel for “failing to protect the Palestinian population”.[216]

While the Economy of the Palestinian territories has shown signs of growth, the International Committee of the Red Cross reported that Palestinian olive farming has suffered. According to the ICRC, 10,000 olive trees were cut down or burned by settlers in 2007-2010.[217][218] Foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said the report ignored official PA data showing that the economic situation of Palestinians had improved substantially, citing Mahmoud Abbas’s comment to The Washington Post in May 2009, where he said “in the West Bank, we have a good reality, the people are living a normal life.”[217]

Haaretz blamed the violence during the olive harvest on a handful of extremists.[219] In 2010, trees belonging to both Jews and Arabs were cut down, poisoned or torched. In the first two weeks of the harvest, 500 trees owned by Palestinians and 100 trees owned by Jews had been vandalized.[220] In October 2013, 100 trees were cut down.[221]

Violent attacks on olive trees seem to be facilitated by the apparently systematic refusal of the Israeli authorities to allow Palestinians to visit their own groves, some times for years, especially in cases where the groves are deemed to be too close to settlements.[222]

Pro-Palestinian activists who hold regular protests near the settlements have been accused of stone-throwing, physical assault and provocation.[223][224][225] In 2008, Avshalom Peled, head of the Israel Police’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.[226]

Settlers are targeted by Palestinian armed groups who, according to Human Rights Watch, say that settlers are a legitimate target because they have forfeited their civilian status by residing in settlements that are illegal under international humanitarian law.[227] Both Human Rights Watch and B’tselem rejected this argument on the basis that the legal status of the settlements has no effect on the civilian status of their residents.[227][228] Human Rights Watch said the “prohibition against intentional attacks against civilians is absolute”.[227] B’tselem said “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.”[228]

Fatal attacks on settlers have included firing of rockets and mortars and drive-by shootings, 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,[229] and the murder of two teenagers on 8 May 2001, whose bodies were hidden in a cave near Tekoa.[230] In the Bat Ayin axe attack, children in Bat Ayin were attacked by a Palestinian wielding an axe and a knife. A 13-year-old boy was killed and another was seriously wounded.[231] Rabbi Meir Hai, a father of seven, was killed in a drive-by shooting.[232][233] In August 2011, five members of one family were killed in their beds. The victims were the father Ehud (Udi) Fogel, the mother Ruth Fogel, and three of their six childrenYoav, 11, Elad, 4, and Hadas, the youngest, a three-month-old infant. According to David Ha’ivri,[234] and as reported by multiple sources,[235] the infant was decapitated.[236]

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.[237] According to a Haaretz study, settlers account for 10% of the population in the West Bank but produce 25% of the sewage output.[citation needed] Beit Duqqu and Qalqilyah 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.[237][238] 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 claimed that sewage treatment was inadequate in both sectors. Sewage from Palestinian sources was estimated at 46million cubic meters a year, and sources from settler sources at 15million 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.[237][239]

In a 2007 study, the Israel Nature and Parks Authority and Israeli Ministry of Environmental Protection, found that Palestinian towns and cities produced 56million cubic meters of sewage per year, 94 percent discharged without adequate treatment, while Israeli sources produced 17.5million cubic meters per year, 31.5 percent without adequate treatment.[240]

According to Palestinian environmentalists, the settlers operate industrial and manufacturing plants that can create pollution as many do not conform to Israeli standards.[237][238] In 2005, an old quarry between Kedumim and Nablus was slated for conversion into an industrial waste dump. Pollution experts warned that the dump would threaten Palestinian water sources.[241]

The Consortium for Applied Research on International Migration (CARIM) has reported in their 2011 migration profile for Palestine that the reasons for individuals to leave the country are similar to those of other countries in the region and they attribute less importance to the specific political situation of the occupied Palestinian territory.[242] Human Rights Watch in 2010 reported that Israeli settlement policies have had the effect of “forcing residents to leave their communities”.[243][244]

In 2008, Condoleezza Rice suggested sending Palestinian refugees to South America, which might reduce pressure on Israel to withdraw from the settlements.[245] Sushil P. Seth speculates that Israelis seem to feel[weaselwords] that increasing settlements will force many Palestinians to flee to other countries and that the remainder will be forced to live under Israeli terms.[246] Speaking anonymously with regard to Israeli policies in the South Hebron Hills, a UN expert said that the Israeli crackdown on alternative energy infrastructures like solar panels is part of a deliberate strategy in Area C.

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2 Palestinians Killed, 98 Wounded in Clashes With Israeli …

Two Palestinian protesters were killed and 98 were wounded in clashes with Israeli security forces in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip on Friday. Thousands of protesters took to the streets in a second “Day of Rage” following U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

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A 30-year-old Palestinian was killed by IDF gunfire in the Khan Younis region in Gaza, according to Palestinian health officials. Another man, in his fifties, was killed in a clash in northern Gaza.

Some 3,000 protesters took part in demonstrations around the West Bank, including in the cities of Ramallah, Hebron, Tul Karm and Nublus. According to the Israeli army, protesters threw molotov cocktails and rocks. Security forces responded with live fire, rubber bullets and tear gas. Twenty-eight protesters were arrested.

Fifty-two Palestinians were wounded by rubber bullets at protests in the West Bank, the Palestinian Red Crescent reported. Eleven were reportedly wounded by live fire.Dozens were treated for tear-gas inhalation, according to the Red Crescent.

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Some 4,500 Palestinians protested in six locations along the Strip’s border with Israel.The Red Crescent said 15 people were hurt by live IDF gunfire, and a further 20 wounded by rubber bullets in the area of Khan Younis, in the south of Gaza. Three people are reported to be critical condition. Clashes also took place in Jabalia and the Nahal Oz area, along the Strip’s border.

A number of protesters have been arrested at Jerusalem’s Damascus Gate, where skirmishes between Israeli police forces and Palestinian protesters took place after tens of thousands of Muslim worshippers attended Friday prayers in Al-Aqsa Mosque at the Temple Mount compound.

Further protests were held in the Israeli towns of Umm al-Fahm, Kalansua and Kfar Kana. One man was arrested on suspicion of throwing rocks in the city of Nazareth, where a protest was held.

Thousands of protesters also took to the streets of the Jordanian capital of Amman after midday prayers to protest Trump’s announcement. Similar protests were held in Iraq, Egypt and Turkey, with more expected on Saturday.

Friday’s protests followed a “Day of Rage” on Thursday, in which at least 20 Palestinians were wounded in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza in clashes with Israeli soldiers.

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West Bank – mobile Wiki

The West Bank (Arabic: a-iffah l-arbiyyah; Hebrew: , HaGadah HaMa’aravit) is a landlocked territory near the Mediterranean coast of Western Asia, the bulk of it now under Israeli control, or else under joint Israeli-Palestinian Authority control. The final status of the entire area is yet to be determined by the parties concerned. The West Bank shares boundaries (demarcated by the Jordanian-Israeliarmistice of 1949) to the west, north, and south with Israel, and to the east, across the Jordan River, with Jordan. The West Bank also contains a significant section of the western Dead Sea shore.

The West Bank, including East Jerusalem, has a land area of 5,640km plus a water area of 220km, consisting of the northwest quarter of the Dead Sea. As of July 2015 it has an estimated population of 2,785,366 Palestinians, and approximately 371,000 Israeli settlers, and approximately another 212,000 Jewish Israelis in East Jerusalem. The international community considers Israeli settlements in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, illegal under international law, though Israel disputes this. The International Court of Justice advisory ruling (2004) concluded that events that came after the 1967 occupation of the West Bank by Israel, including the Jerusalem Law, Israel’s peace treaty with Jordan and the Oslo Accords, did not change the status of the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) as occupied territory with Israel as the occupying power.

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The name West Bank is a translation of the Arabic term ad-Diffah I-Garbiyyah, given to the territory west of the Jordan River that fell, in 1948, under occupation and administration by Jordan, which claimed subsequently to have annexed it in 1950. This annexation was recognized only by Britain, Iraq and Pakistan. The term was chosen to differentiate the west bank of the River Jordan from the “east bank” of this river.

The neo-Latin name Cisjordan or Cis-Jordan (literally “on this side of the River Jordan”) is the usual name for the territory in the Romance languages and Hungarian. The name West Bank, however, has become the standard usage for this geopolitical entity in English and some of the other Germanic languages since its creation following the Jordanian army’s conquest.

In English, the name Cisjordan is occasionally used to designate the entire region between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean, particularly in the historical context of the British Mandate and earlier times. The analogous Transjordan (literally “on the other side of the River Jordan”) has historically been used to designate the region now roughly comprising the state of Jordan, which lies to the east of the Jordan River.

From 1517 through 1917, the area now known as the West Bank was under Ottoman rule as part of the provinces of Syria.

At the 1920 San Remo conference, the victorious Allied powers (France, UK, USA, etc.) allocated the area to the British Mandate of Palestine (192047). The San Remo Resolution adopted on 25 April 1920 incorporated the Balfour Declaration of 1917. It and Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations were the basic documents upon which the British Mandate for Palestine was constructed. Faced with the determination of Emir Abdullah to unify Arab lands under the Hashemite banner, the British proclaimed Abdullah ruler of the three districts, known collectively as Transjordan. Confident that his plans for the unity of the Arab nation would eventually come to fruition, the emir established the first centralized governmental system in what is now modern Jordan on 11 April 1921. The West Bank area, was conquered by Jordan during the 1948 war with the new state of Israel.

In 1947, it was subsequently designated as part of a proposed Arab state by the United Nations (UN) partition plan for Palestine. The resolution recommended partition of the British Mandate into a Jewish State, an Arab State, and an internationally administered enclave of Jerusalem; a broader region of the modern-day West Bank was assigned to the Arab State. The resolution designated the territory described as “the hill country of Samaria and Judea” (including what is now also known as the “West Bank”) as part of the proposed Arab state, but following the 1948 Arab-Israeli War this area was captured by Transjordan (renamed Jordan two years after independence in 1946).

1949 Armistice Agreements defined the interim boundary between Israel and Jordan. In 1950, Transjordan annexed the area west of the Jordan River, naming it “West Bank” or “Cisjordan”, as “East Bank” or “Transjordan” designated the area east of the river. Jordan ruled over the West Bank from 1948 until 1967. Jordan’s annexation was never formally recognized by the international community, with the exception of the United Kingdom. A two-state option, dividing Palestine, as opposed to a binary solution arose during the period of the British mandate in the area.The United Nations Partition Plan had envisaged two states, one Jewish and the other Arab/Palestinian, but in the wake of the war only one emerged at the time. King Abdullah of Jordan had been crowned King of Jerusalem by the Coptic Bishop on 15 November 1948. and granted Palestinian Arabs in the West Bank and East Jerusalem Jordanian citizenship.

In June 1967, the West Bank and East Jerusalem were captured by Israel as a result of the Six-Day War. With the exception of East Jerusalem and the former Israeli-Jordanian no man’s land, the West Bank was not annexed by Israel but came under Israeli military control until 1982.

Although the 1974 Arab League summit resolution at Rabat designated the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) as the “sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people”, Jordan did not officially relinquish its claim to the area until 1988, when it severed all administrative and legal ties with the West Bank and eventually stripped West Bank Palestinians of Jordanian citizenship.

In 1982, as a result of the IsraeliEgyptian peace treaty, the direct military rule was transformed into a semi-civil authority, operating directly under the Israeli Ministry of Defense, thus taking control of civil matters of Palestinians from the IDF to civil servants in the Ministry of Defense. The Israeli settlements were, on the other hand, administered subsequently as Judea and Samaria Area directly by Israel.

Since the 1993 Oslo Accords, the Palestinian Authority officially controls a geographically non-contiguous territory comprising approx. 11% of the West Bank (known as Area A) which remains subject to Israeli incursions. Area B (approx. 28%) is subject to joint Israeli-Palestinian military and Palestinian civil control. Area C (approx. 61%) is under full Israeli control. Though 164 nations refer to the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, as “Occupied Palestinian Territory”, the state of Israel is of the view that only territories captured in war from “an established and recognized sovereign” are considered occupied territories. After the 2007 split between Fatah and Hamas, the West Bank areas under Palestinian control are an exclusive part of the Palestinian Authority, while the Gaza Strip is ruled by Hamas.

Area assigned for a Jewish state;

Area assigned for an Arab state;

Israeli controlled territory from 1949;

Arab controlled territory until 1967

From 1517 to 1917 the West Bank was part of the Ottoman Empire. Turkey, successor state to the Ottoman Empire, renounced its territorial claims in 1923, signing the Treaty of Lausanne, and the area now called the West Bank became an integral part of the British Mandate for Palestine. During the Mandate period Britain had no right of sovereignty, which was held by the people under the mandate. Nevertheless, Britain, as custodians of the land, implemented the land tenure laws in Palestine, which it had inherited from the Ottoman Turks (as defined in the Ottoman Land Code of 1858), applying these laws unto, both, Arab and Jewish legal tenants or otherwise. In 1947 the UN General Assembly recommended that the area that became the West Bank become part of a future Arab state, but this proposal was opposed by the Arab states at the time. In 1948, Jordan occupied the West Bank and annexed it in 1950.

In 1967, Israel captured the West Bank from Jordan in the Six-Day War. UN Security Council Resolution 242 that followed called for withdrawal from territories occupied in the conflict in exchange for peace and mutual recognition. Since 1979 the United Nations Security Council, the United Nations General Assembly, the United States, the EU, the International Court of Justice, and the International Committee of the Red Cross refer to the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, as occupied Palestinian territory or the occupied territories. General Assembly resolution 58/292 (17 May 2004) affirmed that the Palestinian people have the right to sovereignty over the area.

The International Court of Justice and the Supreme Court of Israel have ruled that the status of the West Bank is that of military occupation. In its 2004 advisory opinion the International Court of Justice concluded that:

The territories situated between the Green Line and the former eastern boundary of Palestine under the Mandate were occupied by Israel in 1967 during the armed conflict between Israel and Jordan. Under customary international law, the Court observes, these were therefore occupied territories in which Israel had the status of occupying Power. Subsequent events in these territories have done nothing to alter this situation. The Court concludes that all these territories (including East Jerusalem) remain occupied territories and that Israel has continued to have the status of occupying Power.

In the same vein the Israeli Supreme Court stated in the 2004 Beit Sourik case that:

The general point of departure of all parties which is also our point of departure is that Israel holds the area in belligerent occupation (occupatio bellica)……The authority of the military commander flows from the provisions of public international law regarding belligerent occupation. These rules are established principally in the Regulations Concerning the Laws and Customs of War on Land, The Hague, 18 October 1907 [hereinafter the Hague Regulations]. These regulations reflect customary international law. The military commanders authority is also anchored in IV Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War 1949.

The executive branch of the Israeli government, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has defined the West Bank as disputed territory, whose status can only be determined through negotiations. The Ministry says that occupied territories are territories captured in war from an established and recognized sovereign, and that since the West Bank wasn’t under the legitimate and recognized sovereignty of any state prior to the Six-Day War, it shouldn’t be considered an occupied territory.

The International Court of Justice ruling of 9 July 2004, however, found that the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is territory held by Israel under military occupation, regardless of its status prior to it coming under Israeli occupation and the Fourth Geneva convention applies de jure. The international community regards the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) as territories occupied by Israel.

International law (Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention) prohibits “transfers of the population of an occupying power to occupied territories”, incurring a responsibility on the part of Israel’s government to not settle Israeli citizens in the West Bank.

As of 27 September 2013, 134 (69.4%) of the 193 member states of the United Nations have recognised the State of Palestine within the Palestinian territories, which are recognized by Israel to constitute a single territorial unit, and of which the West Bank is the core of the would-be state.

The future status of the West Bank, together with the Gaza Strip on the Mediterranean shore, has been the subject of negotiation between the Palestinians and Israelis, although the current Road Map for Peace, proposed by the “Quartet” comprising the United States, Russia, the European Union, and the United Nations, envisions an independent Palestinian state in these territories living side by side with Israel (see also proposals for a Palestinian state). However, the “Road Map” states that in the first phase, Palestinians must end all attacks on Israel, whereas Israel must dismantle outposts. Since neither condition has been met since the Road Map was “accepted” by all sides, final negotiations have not yet begun on major political differences.

The Palestinian Authority believes that the West Bank ought to be a part of their sovereign nation, and that the presence of Israeli military control is a violation of their right to Palestinian Authority rule. The United Nations calls the West Bank and Gaza Strip Israeli-occupied territories. The United States State Department also refers to the territories as occupied. Many Israelis and their supporters prefer the term disputed territories, because they claim part of the territory for themselves, and state that the land has not for 2000 years been sovereign.

Palestinian public opinion opposes Israeli military and settler presence on the West Bank as a violation of their right to statehood and sovereignty. Israeli opinion is split into a number of views:

In 2005 the United States ambassador to Israel, Daniel C. Kurtzer, expressed U.S. support “for the retention by Israel of major Israeli population centres [in the West Bank] as an outcome of negotiations”, reflecting President Bush’s statement a year earlier that a permanent peace treaty would have to reflect “demographic realities” on the West Bank. In May 2011 US President Barack Obama officially stated US support for a future Palestinian state based on borders prior to the 1967 War, allowing for land swaps where they are mutually agreeable between the two sides. Obama was the first US president to formally support the policy, but he stated that it had been one long held by the US in its Middle East negotiations.

The West Bank has an area of 5,628 square kilometres (2,173sqmi), which comprises 21.2% of former Mandatory Palestine (excluding Jordan) and has generally rugged mountainous terrain. The total length of the land boundaries of the region are 404 kilometres (251 miles). The terrain is mostly rugged dissected upland, some vegetation in the west, but somewhat barren in the east. The elevation span between the shoreline of the Dead Sea at 408 m to the highest point at Mount Nabi Yunis, at 1,030 m (3,379ft) above sea level. The area of West Bank is landlocked; highlands are main recharge area for Israel’s coastal aquifers.

There are few natural resources in the area except the highly arable land, which comprises 27% of the land area of the region. It is mostly used as permanent pastures (32% of arable land) and seasonal agricultural uses (40%). Forests and woodland comprise just 1%, with no permanent crops.

The climate in the West Bank is mostly Mediterranean, slightly cooler at elevated areas compared with the shoreline, west to the area. In the east, the West Bank includes the Judean Desert and the shoreline of the Dead Sea both with dry and hot climate.

The 1993 Oslo Accords declared the final status of the West Bank to be subject to a forthcoming settlement between Israel and the Palestinian leadership. Following these interim accords, Israel withdrew its military rule from some parts of the West Bank, which was divided into three administrative divisions of the Oslo Accords:

Area A, 2.7%, full civil control of the Palestinian Authority, comprises Palestinian towns, and some rural areas away from Israeli settlements in the north (between Jenin, Nablus, Tubas, and Tulkarm), the south (around Hebron), and one in the center south of Salfit. Area B, 25.2%, adds other populated rural areas, many closer to the center of the West Bank. Area C contains all the Israeli settlements (excluding settlements in East Jerusalem), roads used to access the settlements, buffer zones (near settlements, roads, strategic areas, and Israel), and almost all of the Jordan Valley and the Judean Desert.

Areas A and B are themselves divided among 227 separate areas (199 of which are smaller than 2 square kilometers (1sqmi)) that are separated from one another by Israeli-controlled Area C. Areas A, B, and C cross the 11 governorates used as administrative divisions by the Palestinian National Authority, Israel, and the IDF and named after major cities. The mainly open areas of Area C, which contains all of the basic resources of arable and building land, water springs, quarries and sites of touristic value needed to develop a viable Palestinian state, were to be handed over to the Palestinians by 1999 under the Oslo Accords as part of a final status agreement. This agreement was never achieved.

According to B’tselem, while the vast majority of the Palestinian population lives in areas A and B, the vacant land available for construction in dozens of villages and towns across the West Bank is situated on the margins of the communities and defined as area C. Less than 1% of area C is designated for use by Palestinians, who are also unable to legally build in their own existing villages in area C due to Israeli authorities’ restrictions,

An assessment by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in 2007 found that approximately 40% of the West Bank was taken up by Israeli infrastructure. The infrastructure, consisting of settlements, the barrier, military bases and closed military areas, Israeli declared nature reserves and the roads that accompany them is off-limits or tightly controlled to Palestinians.

In June 2011, the Independent Commission for Human Rights published a report that found that Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip were subjected in 2010 to an “almost systematic campaign” of human rights abuse by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, as well as by Israeli authorities, with the security forces of the PA and Hamas being responsible for torture, arrests and arbitrary detentions.

Through the Jerusalem Law, Israel extended its administrative control over East Jerusalem. This has often been interpreted as tantamount to an official annexation, though Ian Lustick, in reviewing the legal status of Israeli measures, has argued that no such annexation ever took place. The Palestinian residents have legal permanent residency status. Rejecting the Jerusalem Law, the UN Security Council passed UN Security Council Resolution 478, declaring that the law was “null and void”. Although permanent residents are permitted, if they wish, to receive Israeli citizenship if they meet certain conditions including swearing allegiance to the State and renouncing any other citizenship, most Palestinians did not apply for Israeli citizenship for political reasons. There are various possible reasons as to why the West Bank had not been annexed to Israel after its capture in 1967. The government of Israel has not formally confirmed an official reason; however, historians and analysts have established a variety of such, most of them demographic. Among those most commonly cited have been:

The importance of demographic concerns to some significant figures in Israel’s leadership was illustrated when Avraham Burg, a former Knesset Speaker and former chair of the Jewish Agency for Israel, wrote in The Guardian in September 2003,

As of December 2010, 327,750 Israelis live in the 121 settlements in the West Bank officially recognised by the Israeli government, 192,000 Israelis live in settlements in East Jerusalem. There are approximately 100 further settlement outposts which are not officially recognized by the Israeli government and are illegal under Israeli law, but have been provided with infrastructure, water, sewage, and other services by the authorities.

The international consensus is that all Israeli settlements on the West Bank beyond the Green Line are illegal under international law. In particular, the European Union as a whole considers the settlements to be illegal. Significant portions of the Israeli public similarly oppose the continuing presence of Jewish Israelis in the West Bank and have supported the 2005 settlement relocation. The majority of legal scholars also hold the settlements to violate international law, however individuals including Julius Stone, and Eugene Rostow have argued that they are legal under international law, on a number of different grounds. Immediately after the 1967 war Theodor Meron, legal counsel of Israel’s Foreign Ministry advised Israeli ministers in a “top secret” memo that any policy of building settlements across occupied territories violated international law and would “contravene the explicit provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention”.

The UN Security Council has issued several non-binding resolutions addressing the issue of the settlements. Typical of these is UN Security Council resolution 446 which states [the] practices of Israel in establishing settlements in the Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied since 1967 have no legal validity, and it calls on Israel as the occupying Power, to abide scrupulously by the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention.

The Conference of High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention held in Geneva on 5 December 2001 called upon “the Occupying Power to fully and effectively respect the Fourth Geneva Convention in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and to refrain from perpetrating any violation of the Convention.” The High Contracting Parties reaffirmed “the illegality of the settlements in the said territories and of the extension thereof.”

On 30 December 2007, Israeli Prime MinisterEhud Olmert issued an order requiring approval by both the Israeli Prime Minister and Israeli Defense Minister of all settlement activities (including planning) in the West Bank. The change had little effect with settlements continuing to expand, and new ones being established. On 31 August 2014, Israel announced it was appropriating 400 hectares of land in the West Bank to eventually house 1,000 Israel families. The appropriation was described as the largest in more than 30 years. According to reports on Israel Radio, the development is a response to the 2014 kidnapping and murder of Israeli teenagers.

The Haaretz published an article in December 2005 about demolition of “Palestinian outposts” in Bil’in, the demolitions sparked a political debate as according to PeaceNow it was a double standard (“After what happened today in Bil’in, there is no reason that the state should defend its decision to continue the construction” credited to Michael Sfard).

In January 2012, the European Union approved the “Area C and Palestinian state building” report. The report said Palestinian presence in Area C has been continuously undermined by Israel and that state building efforts in Area C of the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the EU were of “utmost importance in order to support the creation of a contiguous and viable Palestinian state”. The EU will support various projects to “support the Palestinian people and help maintain their presence”.

In May 2012, a petition was filed to the Israeli Supreme Court about the legality of more 15 Palestinian outposts and Palestinian building in “Area C”. The cases were filed by Regavim.

The petition was one of 30 different petitions with the common ground of illegal land takeover and illegal construction and use of natural resources. Some of the petitions (27) had been set for trials and the majority received a verdict.

Ynet News stated on 11 January 2013 that a group of 200 Palestinians with unknown number of foreign activists created an outpost named Bab al-Shams (“Gate of the Sun”), contains 50 tents

Ynet News stated on 18 January 2013 that Palestinian activists built an outpost on a disputed area in Beit Iksa, where Israel plans to construct part of the separation fence in the Jerusalem vicinity while the Palestinians claim that the area belongs to the residents of Beit Iksa. named Bab al-Krama

The Israeli West Bank barrier is a physical barrier ordered for construction by the Israeli Government, consisting of a network of fences with vehicle-barrier trenches surrounded by an on average 60 meters (197ft) wide exclusion area (90%) and up to 8 meters (26ft) high concrete walls (10%) (although in most areas the wall is not nearly that high). It is located mainly within the West Bank, partly along the 1949 Armistice line, or “Green Line” between the West Bank and Israel. As of April 2006 the length of the barrier as approved by the Israeli government is 703 kilometers (437mi) long. Approximately 58.4% has been constructed, 8.96% is under construction, and construction has not yet begun on 33% of the barrier. The space between the barrier and the green line is a closed military zone known as the Seam Zone, cutting off 8.5% of the West Bank and encompassing dozens of villages and tens of thousands of Palestinians.

The barrier generally runs along or near the 1949 Jordanian-Israeli armistice/Green Line, but diverges in many places to include on the Israeli side several of the highly populated areas of Jewish settlements in the West Bank such as East Jerusalem, Ariel, Gush Etzion, Immanuel, Karnei Shomron, Givat Ze’ev, Oranit, and Maale Adumim.

Supporters of the barrier claim it is necessary for protecting Israeli civilians from Palestinian attacks, which increased significantly during the Al-Aqsa Intifada; it has helped reduce incidents of terrorism by 90% from 2002 to 2005; over a 96% reduction in terror attacks in the six years ending in 2007, though Israel’s State Comptroller has acknowledged that most of the suicide bombers crossed into Israel through existing checkpoints. Its supporters claim that the onus is now on the Palestinian Authority to fight terrorism.

Opponents claim the barrier is an illegal attempt to annex Palestinian land under the guise of security, violates international law, has the intent or effect to pre-empt final status negotiations, and severely restricts Palestinian livelihoods, particularly limiting their freedom of movement within and from the West Bank thereby undermining their economy.

After the signing of the Oslo Accords, the West Bank was divided into 11 governorates under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian National Authority. Since 2007 there are two governments claiming to be the legitimate government of the Palestinian National Authority, one based in the West Bank and one based in the Gaza Strip.

The West Bank is further divided into 8 administrative regions: Menashe (Jenin area), HaBik’a (Jordan Valley), Shomron (Shechem area, known in Arabic as Nablus), Efrayim (Tulkarm area), Binyamin (Ramallah/al-Bireh area), Maccabim (Maccabim area), Etzion (Bethlehem area) and Yehuda (Hebron area).

Allenby Bridge, or King Hussein Bridge, is the main port for the Palestinian in the West Bank to the Jordanian borders. This crossing point is controlled by Israel since 1967. It was inaugurated on 11 December 2011 under the military order “175” entitled An order concerning transition station. Later, Order 446 was issued which annexed the Damia Bridge crossing point to the Allenby Bridge as a commercial crossing point only. Goods were exported to Jordan, while the import was banned for security purposes.

In 1993, the Palestinian National Authority, according to Oslo Accord assigned by PLO and the Israeli government, became a partial supervisor over the Rafah Border Crossing to Gaza Strip. The Palestinian Authority was responsible for issuing passports to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. However, Israel remained the major responsible party for this crossing point. According to the agreement, Israel has the right to independently inspect luggage and to maintain security. In addition, it can prevent anyone from using the crossing.

As of the early-21st century, the economy of the Palestinian territories is chronically depressed, with unemployment rates constantly over 20% since 2000 (19% in the West Bank in first half of 2013).

According to the World Bank, the main reason for economic depression is the Israeli occupation.

According to a 2007 World Bank report, the Israeli occupation of the West Bank has destroyed the Palestinian economy, in violation of the 2005 Agreement on Movement and Access. All major roads (with a total length of 700km) are basically off-limits to Palestinians, making it impossible to do normal business. Economic recovery would reduce Palestinian dependence on international aid by one billion dollars per year.

A more comprehensive 2013 World Bank report calculates that, if the Interim Agreement was respected and restrictions lifted, a few key industries alone would produce USD 2.2 billion per annum more (or 23% of 2011 Palestinian GDP) and reduce by some USD 800 million (50%) the Palestinian Authority’s deficit; the employment would increase by 35%.

In August 2014, Palestinian leaders said they would apply to the United Nations Security Council for the establishment of a timetable for ending the Israeli occupation. The application would be made on 15 September 2014, following an Arab League meeting on 5 September 2014 at which support for the move would be requested. Unless a timetable was established, the Palestinian leadership said it would apply to the International Criminal Court where it would hold Israel responsible for its actions not only in the West Bank, but also in the Gaza Strip.

Amnesty International has criticized the way that the Israeli state is dealing with the regional water resources:

Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) do not have access to adequate, safe water supplies…Discriminatory Israeli policies in the OPT are the root cause of the striking disparity in access to water between Palestinians and Israelis…The inequality is even more pronounced between Palestinian communities and unlawful Israeli settlements, established in the OPT in violation of international law. Swimming pools, well-watered lawns and large irrigated farms in Israeli settlements in the OPT stand in stark contrast next to Palestinian villages whose inhabitants struggle even to meet their essential domestic water needs. In parts of the West Bank, Israeli settlers use up to 20 times more water per capita than neighbouring Palestinian communities, who survive on barely 20 litres of water per capita a day the minimum amount recommended by the WHO for emergency situations response.

In December 2007, an official census conducted by the Palestinian Authority found that the Palestinian Arab population of the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) was 2,345,000. However, the World Bank and American-Israeli Demographic Research Group identified a 32% discrepancy between first-grade enrollment statistics documented by the Palestinian Ministry of Education and Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) 2007 projections, with questions also raised about the PCBS growth assumptions for the period 19972003. The Israeli Civil Administration put the number of Palestinians in the West Bank at 2,657,029 as of May 2012.

There are 389,250 Israeli settlers living in the West Bank excluding East Jerusalem, as well as around 375,000 living in Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem. There are also small ethnic groups, such as the Samaritans living in and around Nablus, numbering in the hundreds.

As of October 2007, around 23,000 Palestinians in the West Bank worked in Israel every day, while another 9,200 worked in Israeli settlements. In addition, around 10,000 Palestinian traders from the West Bank were allowed to travel every day into Israel. By 2014, 92,000 Palestinians worked in Israel legally or illegally, twice as many as in 2010.

In 2008, approximately 30% of Palestinians or 754,263 persons living in the West Bank were refugees or descendants of refugees from villages and towns located in what became Israel during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, according to UNRWA statistics. A 2011 EU report titled “Area C and Palestinian State Building” reported that before the Israeli occupation in 1967, between 200,000 and 320,000 Palestinians used to live in the Jordan Valley, 90% which is in Area C, but demolition of Palestinian homes and prevention of new buildings has seen the number drop to 56,000, 70% of which live in Area A, in Jericho. In a similar period, the Jewish population in Area C has grown from 1,200 to 310,000.

The most densely populated part of the region is a mountainous spine, running north-south, where the cities of Jerusalem, Nablus, Ramallah, al-Bireh, Jenin, Bethlehem, Hebron and Yattah are located as well as the Israeli settlements of Ariel, Ma’ale Adumim and Beitar Illit. Ramallah, although relatively mid in population compared to other major cities as Hebron, Nablus and Jenin, serves as an economic and political center for the Palestinians. Near Ramallah the new city of Rawabi is under construction. Jenin in the extreme north and is the capital of north of the West Bank and is on the southern edge of the Jezreel Valley. Modi’in Illit, Qalqilyah and Tulkarm are in the low foothills adjacent to the Israeli Coastal Plain, and Jericho and Tubas are situated in the Jordan Valley, north of the Dead Sea.

The population of the West Bank is 8085% Muslim (mostly Sunni) and 1214% Jewish. The remainder are Christian (mostly Greek Orthodox) and others.

In 2010, the West Bank and Gaza Strip together had 4,686km (2,912mi) of roadways.

Transportation infrastructure is particularly problematic as Palestinian use of roads in Area C is highly restricted, and travel times can be inordinate; the Palestinian Authority has also been unable to develop roads, airports or railways in or through Area C, while many other roads were restricted only to public transportation and to Palestinians who have special permits from Israeli authorities.

At certain times, Israel maintained more than 600 checkpoints or roadblocks in the region. As such, movement restrictions were also placed on main roads traditionally used by Palestinians to travel between cities, and such restrictions are still blamed for poverty and economic depression in the West Bank. Underpasses and bridges (28 of which have been constructed and 16 of which are planned) link Palestinian areas separated from each other by Israeli settlements and bypass roads”

Israeli restrictions were tightened in 2007.

As of August 2007, a divided highway is currently under construction that will pass through the West Bank. The highway has a concrete wall dividing the two sides, one designated for Israeli vehicles, the other for Palestinian. The wall is designed to allow Palestinians to pass north-south through Israeli-held land and facilitate the building of additional Jewish settlements in the Jerusalem neighborhood.

As of February 2012, a plan for 475-kilometer rail network, establishing 11 new rail lines in West Bank, was confirmed by Israeli Transportation Ministry. The West Bank network would include one line running through Jenin, Nablus, Ramallah, Jerusalem, Ma’aleh Adumim, Bethlehem and Hebron. Another would provide service along the Jordanian border from Eilat to the Dead Sea, Jericho and Beit She’an and from there toward Haifa in the west and in also in a northeasterly direction. The proposed scheme also calls for shorter routes, such as between Nablus and Tul Karm in the West Bank, and from Ramallah to the Allenby Bridge crossing into Jordan.

The only airport in the West Bank is the Atarot Airport near Ramallah, but it has been closed since 2001.

The Palestinian Paltel telecommunication companies provide communication services such as landline, cellular network and Internet in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Dialling code +970 is used in the West Bank and all over the Palestinian territories. Until 2007, the Palestinian mobile market was monopolized by Jawwal. A new mobile operator for the territories launched in 2009 under the name of Wataniya Telecom. The number of Internet users increased from 35,000 in 2000 to 356,000 in 2010.

The Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation broadcasts from an AM station in Ramallah on 675kHz; numerous local privately owned stations are also in operation. Most Palestinian households have a radio and TV, and satellite dishes for receiving international coverage are widespread. Recently, PalTel announced and has begun implementing an initiative to provide ADSL broadband internet service to all households and businesses. Israel’s cable television company HOT, satellite television provider (DBS) Yes, AM and FM radio broadcast stations and public television broadcast stations all operate. Broadband internet service by Bezeq’s ADSL and by the cable company are available as well. The Al-Aqsa Voice broadcasts from Dabas Mall in Tulkarem at 106.7 FM. The Al-Aqsa TV station shares these offices.

Seven universities are operating in the West Bank:

Most universities in the West Bank have politically active student bodies, and elections of student council officers are normally along party affiliations. Although the establishment of the universities was initially allowed by the Israeli authorities, some were sporadically ordered closed by the Israeli Civil Administration during the 1970s and 1980s to prevent political activities and violence against the IDF. Some universities remained closed by military order for extended periods during years immediately preceding and following the first Palestinian Intifada, but have largely remained open since the signing of the Oslo Accords despite the advent of the Al-Aqsa Intifada (Second Intifada) in 2000.

The founding of Palestinian universities has greatly increased education levels among the population in the West Bank. According to a Birzeit University study, the percentage of Palestinians choosing local universities as opposed to foreign institutions has been steadily increasing; as of 1997, 41% of Palestinians with bachelor’s degrees had obtained them from Palestinian institutions. According to UNESCO, Palestinians are one of the most highly educated groups in the Middle East “despite often difficult circumstances”. The literacy rate among Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) is 94.6% for 2009.

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West Bank – mobile Wiki

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Dozens injured in West Bank protests: report | TheHill

Dozens of peoplewere injured on Thursday in the Palestinian-dominated West Bank in protests afterPresident TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Democrat slams Donald Trump Jr. for serious case of amnesia after testimony Skier Lindsey Vonn: I dont want to represent Trump at Olympics Poll: 4 in 10 Republicans think senior Trump advisers had improper dealings with Russia MORE announced the U.S. would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, CNN reported.

Palestinian protestersused slingshots and threw rocks during the demonstrations, according to the network, and Israeli forces responded with tear gas and rubber bullets.

The State Department, on Tuesday, warnedU.S. citizens to avoidJerusalems Old City and the West Bank over fears of protests and violent reaction to the president’s announcement.

Palestinianshave claimed part of Jerusalem as their capital.

The Palestinian militant group Hamas, which controls Gaza, has called foran uprising, or an “intifada,” to take effect on Friday.

The American decision is an aggression on our people and a war on our sanctuaries,Ismail Haniyeh, a Hamas leader, said on Thursday.

We want the uprising to last and continue to let Trump and the occupation regret this decision, he continued.

Palestinians closed schools and shops in preparation, while the Israeli military announced it would deploy several battalions to the West Bank, according to The Associated Press.

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West Bank and Gaza Strip – freedomhouse.org

Key Developments in 2016:

Media freedom in the West Bank and Gaza remained seriously obstructed during 2016, with journalistsespecially local reportersregularly subjected to arrest, detention, and interrogation by Israeli forces, the PA, and Hamas.

Ongoing concerns in Israel about the alleged role of Palestinian news outlets in inciting terrorist violence against Israeli soldiers and civilians prompted a crackdown on Palestinian media, including the closure of broadcasting and printing facilities and the arrest of journalists and managers. In a number of instances, Israeli authorities did not present evidence of direct incitement by the individuals detained.

The PA in the West Bank continued its long-standing practice of arresting and temporarily detaining journalists without charge, while Hamas in the Gaza Strip stepped up its use of summonses and interrogations to intimidate journalists who produced critical coverage.

The Palestinian Basic Law guarantees a free press, enshrines the right to establish media outlets, and prohibits government censorship. However, the 1995 Press and Publication Law imposes burdensome administrative regulations and bans content that undermines the general system or national unity, or that is inconsistent with morals. Defamation is a criminal offense, and journalists have been prosecuted for publishing criticism of Palestinian officials.

The Ramallah-based PA arrested at least 15 journalists in the West Bank in 2016, while Hamas authorities in Gaza arrested at least six others, according to the Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA). At least seven of those arrested reported torture or other mistreatment in custody. Journalists are typically detained over reporting that is deemed critical of the authorities, and Human Rights Watch documented additional cases during the year in which Palestinian security forces arrested activists and others for ridiculing the authorities on Facebook. Such arrests rarely lead to formal charges or prison sentences, amounting instead to a form of harassment and intimidation.

In addition to Palestinian laws, as administered by the different authorities in the West Bank and Gaza, journalists in the territories are subject to controls imposed by the Israeli military, including measures banning incitement to terrorism. The legal standard for incitement under the Israeli military code, to which the West Bank is subject, is much lower than in Israeli civilian law.

Concerns continued to grow in 2016 that Israel was using recent attacks on its security personnel and civilians as a pretext to crack down on Palestinian media and freedom of expression. Scores of Palestinian social media users have been arrested since October 2015 for posts that allegedly incited violence. Israeli forces also arrested Palestinian journalists for alleged incitement or working for outlets affiliated with banned militant groups such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad. MADA reported 46 cases of arrest and administrative detention of Palestinian journalists by Israeli authorities in 2016, up sharply from 20 in 2015 and 13 in 2014. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) confirmed that at least seven Palestinian journalists remained in Israeli custody as of December, including one who had been arrested in late 2015.

Four of the journalists still in Israeli detention at years end had been arrested in August 2016, when Israeli forces raided and shut down Al-Sanabel Radio in Dura, near Hebron in the West Bank. A sound engineer was also detained, and military prosecutors charged the five with offenses including incitement and aiding Hamas. They were referred for trial in September, but final verdicts were still pending at the close of 2016. CPJs review of the indictment found no examples of direct incitement to imminent violence by the accused.

Various freedom of information bills have been under review by Palestinian officials for several years, with progress repeatedly delayed.

The PA regulates all television and radio licenses in the West Bank. In order to obtain a broadcast license, applicants must gain approval from the interior, information, and telecommunications ministries, which review financing sources, content, and technical issues, respectively. Licenses must be renewed each year. Critics accuse the PA of arbitrarily increasing licensing feeseven though prices are supposed to correspond to the strength and reach of the broadcast frequencyin order to force certain outlets off the air. Hamas, which has controlled Gaza since 2007, has introduced a system of accreditation that requires all outlets and journalists to register with its authorities.

Media outlets and journalists in the West Bank and Gaza are affected by political pressure and violence from both Palestinian and Israeli authorities, as well as editorial control by owners or funders with partisan political interests.

Censorship, including self-censorship, is common among Palestinian media organizations. According to a 2014 MADA report, more than 68 percent of journalists in the Palestinian territories said their work or their colleagues work had been barred from publication at least once. The same report found that over 80 percent of Palestinian journalists had engaged in self-censorship.

In 2014, Hamas and the Fatah-led PA lifted bans on each others affiliated newspapers that had prevented them from being published in Gaza and the West Bank, respectively. However, in November 2015, during a spike in violence across the occupied territories, the PA ordered broadcasters in the West Bank to cease airing the Hamas-linked television channel Al-Aqsa, headquartered in Gaza.

Israeli authorities raided and temporarily closed at least four media facilities in the West Bank in 2016. In March, the adjacent offices of Islamic Jihadaffiliated television station Palestine Today and the media production company Trans-Media were raided and closed in Al-Bireh, and three employees were arrested. However, both companies apparently continued to function from other facilities. The August raid on Al-Sanabel Radio resulted in its closure for three months, but it was broadcasting again by December. Later in December, Israeli forces raided and closed the Asayel Yafa printing house and arrested its owner. MADA documented seven other cases during the year in which Israeli authorities raided media outlets and seized or damaged equipment without ordering a shutdown.

Israeli forces in the West Bank regularly obstructed the work of journalists in the field. Checkpointswhich entail searches, interrogations, and sometimes short detentionshave long hindered movement and limited journalists ability to report within and beyond the occupied territories. In one prominent case, columnist Omar Nazzala board member of the Palestinian Journalist Syndicatewas arrested in April 2016 while attempting to cross from the West Bank into Jordan, from where he planned to travel to a journalists conference in Europe. He remained in Israeli administrative detention at years end. Nazzal had written on controversial topics in the weeks leading up to his arrest, and posted Facebook messages criticizing Israel for clamping down on Palestinian media.

The Israeli military has also curbed coverage of regular protests near the Israeli security barrier in the West Bank by declaring such areas closed military zones. Physical assaults on Palestinian journalists often occur in the context of protests. According to MADAs annual report, Israeli forces were responsible for a total of 58 cases of assault in 2016, including the killing of a media student during a military operation; this represented a sharp decline from the previous two years, which featured more general unrest. MADA reported a total of eight assaults by Palestinian authorities in the West Bank and Gaza during 2016.

The Foreign Press Association accused Hamas of imposing various restrictions on the entry and operation of international journalists in Gaza in 2016, including intrusive interrogations and permit denials. Two foreign journalists, including one with the New York Times, were reportedly banned by Hamas as a result of their work.

Palestinian officials in both Gaza and the West Bank used summons and interrogations extensively during the year to harass and intimidate journalists. MADA documented 51 such incidents in 2016, up from 38 in 2015. Gaza accounted for the entire increase, with 28 cases in 2016 versus 15 in 2015.

The PA and Hamas fund four of five major Palestinian newspapers, and they are not editorially independent in practice. In the West Bank, Al-Hayat al-Jadidah is exclusively funded by the PA, which also partially finances Al-Ayyam. Hamas funds the twice-weekly Al-Risala and the daily Filistin. Al-Quds, a family-owned, Jerusalem-based newspaper established in 1951, is considered less vulnerable to partisan influence. Its East Jerusalem location, however, makes it subject to Israeli military censorship.

There are more than a dozen West Bank television stations and between 60 and 70 radio stations, in addition to the handful of television stations and approximately two dozen radio stations operating in Gaza. West Bank broadcasters are generally small outlets that focus on local issues. In Gaza, Hamas operates Al-Aqsa TV and allows transmission of the PA-controlled Palestine TV, based in Ramallah. Much like the subsidized print outlets, these channels are seen as mouthpieces for Hamas and the PA. Residents also have access to a variety of foreign broadcasts.

About 61 percent of Palestinians used the internet in 2016, according to the International Telecommunication Union. However, access to reliable telecommunications technology in the territories is severely limited by Israeli restrictions. Both the West Bank and Gaza rely on Israeli telecommunications infrastructure, with routing switches, cell towers, and gateway switches generally located in Israeli-controlled territory. In addition, Israel controls access to the electromagnetic spectrum across the territories, and has long prohibited Palestinian companies from offering 3G mobile internet services, leaving that market in the hands of Israeli carriers. The prohibition was due to be lifted under a November 2015 agreement, but it had yet to be implemented at the end of 2016.

Because the fragile Palestinian economy generates little commercial advertising revenue, local media outlets are often dependent on funding from the PA, political factions, and foreign donors, which affects their editorial autonomy.

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West Bank and Gaza Strip – freedomhouse.org

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West Bank – Wikitravel

West Bank

The West Bank is a territory under Israeli occupation with areas of Palestinian Autonomous Control pockmarked with Israeli military/civilian settlements in the Middle East between Israel and Jordan, to the north of the Dead Sea. It forms the larger portion of the semi-autonomous Palestinian Territories (the smaller being the Gaza Strip). Depending on where one travels the area is controlled by Palestinian authorities, Israel, or even both. It has been under Israeli administration since 1967 with its future status uncertain and still to be resolved, between Israel and the PA.

It is known as the West Bank because it lies on the western bank of the Jordan River. This part of the world is steeped in biblical history and contains many sites of religious and archaeological significance.

About 2 million Palestinians live in the West Bank and hundreds of thousands of Israeli settlers reside in approximately 100 official and unofficial Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

Within the political dispute between the Palestinians and Israelis there are at least two presentations of the West Bank:

In Israeli terms it is called the regions of Judea, Samaria, and Benjamin. Some Israelis see the West Bank territories as historically Jewish land and claim a biblical/historical birthright to resettle it by building settlements there. Israel is also building a huge concrete barrier and/or fence system partly within the West Bank, officially aimed at preventing the infiltration of Palestinians into Israel’s official pre-1967 borders and to isolate Jewish settlements from Palestinian populated areas. Proponents argue the completion of the security barrier can be credited for dramatically reducing the occurrences of terrorism within Israel. However, opponents claim it seeks to annex Palestinian land under the guise of security and undermines peace negotiations by unilaterally establishing new borders.

The Palestinians and the PNA claim this region, in addition the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, as the territory of a future Palestinian state. There are 400,000 Jews and around 2.5 million Palestinians living in the West Bank in addition to the 1.7 million Palestinians in Gaza and another 208 thousand in Jerusalem (though there are also Arab-Israelis that live in Jerusalem) (Est. 2011). As of November 2012, Palestine is formally recognized as an non-member state by the UN though remains deemed under Israeli occupation until a final peace agreement is made between the two above parties.

Temperate; temperature and precipitation vary with altitude, warm to hot summers, cool to mild winters.

Mostly rugged dissected upland, very hilly and mountainous, heavy vegetation is very common in most places.

The Israel-PLO Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements (the DOP), signed in Washington on 13 September 1993, provided for a transitional period not exceeding five years of Palestinian interim self-government in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Under the DOP, Israel agreed to transfer certain powers and responsibilities to the Palestinian Authority, which includes the Palestinian Legislative Council elected in January 1996, as part of the interim self-governing arrangements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. A transfer of powers and responsibilities for the Gaza Strip and Jericho took place pursuant to the Israel-PLO 4 May 1994 Cairo Agreement on the Gaza Strip and the Jericho Area and in additional areas of the West Bank pursuant to the Israel-PLO 28 September 1995 Interim Agreement, the Israel-PLO 15 January 1997 Protocol Concerning Redeployment in Hebron, the Israel-PLO 23 October 1998 Wye River Memorandum, and the 4 September 1999 Sharm el-Sheikh Agreement. The DOP provides that Israel will retain responsibility during the transitional period for foreign and domestic security and public order of settlements and Israeli citizens. Direct negotiations to determine the permanent status of Gaza and West Bank had begun in September 1999 after a three-year hiatus, but have been derailed by a second intifadah that broke out in September 2000. Fatah control Palestinian Cities, whilst the Yesha Council via the authority of Israel controls and manages Jewish settlements.

Getting into the West Bank is difficult.

There are no civilian airports within the West Bank, and the nearest major airport is Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion. From Ben Gurion Airport, it is possible to take a 50 minute taxi or shuttle ride to Jerusalem and from Jerusalem to continue on to the major West Bank cities of Bethlehem or Ramallah.

Note that Palestinian ID card-holders cannot travel to Israel or the Palestinian Authority through Ben Gurion Airport. The Israeli government requires them to fly to Amman, Jordan and enter via the Allenby Bridge border crossing located nearby Jericho in the West Bank. It is best for people who may be listed under the Israeli census as having a Palestinian ID-card (by birth to a card-holder, etc.) or who once had a Palestinian ID card to just use the airport in Amman rather than risk being sent back home on a flight from Tel Aviv for using the wrong airport.

There are numerous ways to enter the West Bank by road. Probably the most common is to take a bus from East Jerusalem (go to Damascus Gate in the Old City and ask around) to Ramallah. From there, shared taxis (know as Servis, pronounced [ser-vees]) are available throughout the West Bank. Before entering Area A, you will come to a checkpoint, where you will be required to show your Israeli-issued tourist visa. From the checkpoint you can take a shared taxi to your destination.

Driving in the West Bank is relatively safe and has some wonderful scenery, particularly along route 90. As most car-hire companies in Israel have different rules, agreements and regulations, you may or may not be able to drive a hired/rented car to areas in the West Bank. Inquire with whatever company you plan on using to get their policy on the issue.

There are numerous car hire companies that will rent you a car in Ramallah which you can freely drive around the West Bank although you cannot enter Jewish settlements. Palestinian car-hire companies located in East Jerusalem will rent you Israeli cars which can travel in most parts of the West Bank and throughout Israel. The optimistically named Good Luck Cars [1] have great service.

If you do happen to drive to areas within the West Bank, take heed and uphold security precautions at all times. Roads in the West Bank may not be in a good condition. Damage to cars resulted from driving in the West Bank may not be covered, as many insurance policies are invalid outside of Israel proper. As in any foreign country in which you plan to drive, you must be cautious about the security of your vehicle.

Also, it must be noted that taking a taxi on Palestinian roads can take several times longer if you are stopped at an Israeli Army checkpoint, and may in some circumstances require walking across road blocks and catching another taxi on the other side. As at 2015, few of these roadblocks exist but this can change at any point. Taxi drivers are generally very clued up about the situation and will be able to advise the best approach to get from A to B.

Bus service to Jewish settlements in the West Bank can generally be found in the major Israeli city which is closest to each West Bank town – particularly Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. The Egged () bus company runs buses from Jerusalem, Beer Sheva, Netanya, and Beit Shean. The Dan bus company runs from Tel Aviv and Petach Tikva. Due to ongoing terror attacks, the Israeli government has installed enhanced security on buses such as bullet proof windows (on certain routes) and crash barriers at bus stops.

There are also Arab bus companies going into the West Bank from the bus depot in East Jerusalem, for prices comparable to service taxis, theoretically running on schedules.The main bus station is across the street from the Damascus gate.

Bus 21 goes from Jerusalem to Bethlehem (through Beit Jala) it takes at least 45 minutes, more if there is traffic. The cost is 8 NIS. When the bus parks you have arrived in Bethlehem. You will be at the street called Bab ilSkak. The UNRWA building will be across the street. If you are wanting to go to Manger Square, it is an easy 3NIS a person taxi ride there. Hail down the yellow taxi with the black on the front and back bumpers. THey do the same circle and will drop you off right at manger square. Ask before getting in and double check that is the route they are taking.

Bus 24 also goes to Bethlehem, these are much smaller busses and will only take you to the closer Bethlehem Check point. From there you can walk through the check point. There are always plenty of taxis on the otherside. They can take you to your destination. Ask them to turn on the meter. Most of the cars have them now.

For reaching Palestinian other cities in the West Bank, Service Taxis (shared taxis, pronounced Servees) are preferable over Egged buses. They are extremely cheap, and travel quite fast on the road. The service taxi is a great place to mingle with the locals.

There are no train routes in the West Bank, though proposals for train service are occasionally made. Likely by 2020, via Ari”el.

Highways: total: 4,500 km paved: 2,700 km unpaved: 1,800 km (1997 est.)

Taxis are your best bet. If you’re part of a tour, your tour bus is even better. Delays at checkpoints are common when you enter or leave Palestinian cities.

Hitching through the West Bank is easy and enjoyable.

The main languages in the West Bank are Palestinian Arabic (‘amiya) and Hebrew, although English and French are also understood. Many Palestinians understand Hebrew, due to business and governmental contacts over the last 40+ years. But avoid speaking Hebrew in Palestinian settlements and Arabic in Jewish cities, as it may arouse suspicion. Russian is also common among students who have gone to university in Russia or Eastern Europe. A few Israeli settlements contain Ashkenazi Hasidic Jews who speak Yiddish, and Mizrahi Jews who speak non-Palestinian dialects of Arabic (especially Maghrebi / Moroccan Arabic or Iraqi Arabic).

Currency is Israeli Shekels, though US dollars seem to be widely accepted, especially at tourist shops (Jericho and Bethlehem, for example)

Ramallah has a number of good restaurants, including Tropicana, Darna, Pronto, Ziryab, Stone’s and Sangria’s. Tropicana Restaurant in Al-Massyoun has a lush garden, and the food is excellent.There are two excellent ice cream shops in the main street. The locally-made ice cream is a real treat on a hot day, in addition to the fresh juice shops around the central square, Al-Manara.

Falafel, Shawarma, Hummus, Musakhan, Tabouli, Kofta, Knafeh, Kibbeh, Maqluba, Baba Ghanoush, and other local snackfoods are widely available.

In cities, such as Ramallah, alcohol is often available at restaurants, because Ramallah used to be a Christian city. Most Christian Palestinians drink alcohol, and there is an excellent microbrewery in Taybeh. It is however smart not to get really intoxicated; proper manners and behavior is wiser.

Ramallah: few budget hotels and hostel in the center of the city first youth hostel (HOSTEL in RAMALLAH) 50nis bed and breakfast tours and activities can be found at hostel daily events political and hiking tours http://hostelinramallah.com

Grand Park Hotel, Best Eastern, City Inn, Rocky. The Movenpick is due to open by the end of 2009.

In the settlement of Ariel, Eshel HaShomron 5* Deluxe Hotel [2].

Birzeit University, just outside of Ramallah, has a long and illustrious history, and offers Arabic immersion classes for foreigners. In addition, there are simillar programs at the Bethlehem Bible College and Bethlehem University in Bethlehem, the Palestinian-American University in Jenin and An-Najah in Nablus. There is also the Palestinian-American University of Jenin located in the Christian Palestinian village of Zababdeh. Alternative travel agencies like Green Olive Tours [3], as well as NGO’s such as the Holy Land Trust [4] and the Alternative Tourism Group [5] in Bethlehem offer day and multi-day tours, as well as enticing summer programs for internationals that combine homestays, culture and language classes with volunteering and site-seeing.

Ariel University Center is the largest Israeli-run educational institute in the West Bank. For religious education, many Yeshivot are located in various Israeli settlements in the West BankIf you are interested in learning about the social, political and cultural facets of life in the West Bank, there is a first hand experience tour, run by the All Nations Cafe [6] from Jerusalem and Bethlehem, where you can get to know Palestinians and Jews who promote co-existence in the Holy Land. Abraham Tours also run a dual-narrative tour of Hebron [7], with a Jewish and Palestinian residents of Hebron each showing their side of the divided city, and telling their version of its history.

Watch the news and check the situation before you go. It isn’t a good idea to visit if fighting between the Palestinians and Israelis happens to be intense at the given time. However, violence in the West Bank tends to be very localized. Violence in Nablus, for instance, shouldn’t necessarily hinder travel to Ramallah. Still, use discretion.

While non-Israeli Jews are generally left alone and sometimes even openly welcomed as long as they don’t speak Hebrew, symbols associated with the State of Israel or Zionism, such as the Star of David, are best left at home. Espousing blantly pro-Israeli views will highly offend many ordinary Palestinians and is not recommended.

The West Bank is less ‘religious’ than most Arab nations, so women travelers don’t need to be completely covered. But it is still a good idea to dress fairly conservatively. With Palestinians, one should not insult with western mocking jibes at Islam or Arab heroes. Again, like Israel, one should not talk disdainfully about Torah, Holocaust, or Jewish history.

Be very wary of bringing up politics and the Israel-Palestine conflict, for obvious reasons.

Israeli company Bezeq and the Palestinian company Paltel provide communication services in the West Bank.Many retailers in the West Bank offer cell-phones to rent. Popular companies to go with are: Jawwal (only able to be used in the Palestinian territories), Wataniyya (only able to be used in the Palestinian territories), and Cellcom (an Israeli company that is able to be used in both Israel and the Palestinian territories).

Delays may occur at checkpoints unexpectedly, especially if there has been recent violence or political events. Sometimes it may be quicker to walk through a checkpoint on foot rather than on a vehicle, and then take a taxi to your destination once you get through. If you are using the Allenby Bridge to exit Israel or the Palestinian territories, you must have a multi-entry visa for Jordan before coming to the crossing. You can get this visa beforehand at the Jordanian Embassy in Ramallah or the embassy in Tel Aviv. You can also get it in Jordan if you were in Jordan before coming to the Palestinian territories.

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West Bank – Wikitravel

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November 16, 2017   Posted in: West Bank  Comments Closed

3 soldiers lightly injured in suspected West Bank car …

Three IDF soldiers on foot patrol in the West Bank were lightly injured when a car with Palestinian license plates attempted to run them over in a suspected car-ramming attack on Saturday night before fleeing, the Israeli military said in a statement. The incident occurred outside the Palestinian village of Husan, at the Al Khader Junction near the West Bank settlement of Beitar Illit in the Etzion bloc. The IDF said it had launched a search for the alleged perpetrator. Get The Times of Israel’s Daily Edition by email and never miss our top storiesFree Sign Up The injured soldiers received initial medical attention at the scene and were being transferred to hospital for further treatment, the military said. “: 2 . ” 2 ” 1. Posted by Rescuers Without Borders on Saturday, 23 June 2018 Earlier this month, Israeli troops thwarted an attempted car-ramming attack in the southern West Bank city of Hebron. The driver of the vehicle tried to run over soldiers stationed on a road leading to the Tomb of the Patriarchs but was shot dead by troops, according to the IDF. The army said the Palestinian assailant first attempted to run over an officer and another soldier with a small tractor.

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West Bank village prepares for homecoming of Ahed Tamimi

NABI SALEH, West Bank (AP) On the eve of Ahed Tamimi’s release from prison, the father of the Palestinian protest icon said Saturday that he expects her to take a lead in the struggle against Israeli occupation but that the 17-year-old is also weighing college options. In Tamimi’s village of Nabi Saleh, supporters prepared for Sunday’s homecoming, planting Palestinian flags on the roof of her family home and setting up hundreds of chairs for well-wishers in the courtyard. Ahed and her mother Nariman were arrested in December, after Ahed slapped two Israeli soldiers outside the family home and Nariman filmed the incident and posted it on Facebook. Both are to be released Sunday. To Palestinians and their international supporters, Ahed has become a symbol of resistance to Israel’s half-century-old military rule over the Palestinians. She is easily recognizable with her unruly mop of curly hair. In Israel, she is seen by many as either as a provocateur, an irritation or a threat to the military’s deterrence. Ahed’s father Bassem said Saturday that after her release from prison, “we expect her to lead and we will support her to lead” in the fight to end occupation. He did not say what this would entail. Israel captured the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem in the 1967 Mideast war. Palestinians are increasingly disillusioned about efforts to establish a state in those territories, after more than two decades of failed negotiations with Israel. Bassem Tamimi said that his daughter completed her high school exams in prison, with the help of other prisoners who taught the required material. He said she initially hoped to attend a West Bank university but has also received scholarship offers abroad. Ahed was 16 when she was arrested and turned 17 in custody. Her case has trained a spotlight on the detention of Palestinian minors by Israel, a practice that has been criticized by international rights groups. Some 300 minors are currently being held, according to Palestinian figures. Meanwhile, Israeli troops on Saturday detained two Italian artists who had painted a large mural of Ahed Tamimi on Israel’s West Bank separation barrier, according to local activist Munther Amireh and amateur video posted online. The video shows armed soldiers ordering the two men, along with a Palestinian activist, to get out of a car next to the separation barrier. They are led away through an opening in the barrier. Israel’s military had no immediate comment.

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Jordanian annexation of the West Bank – Wikipedia

The Jordanian annexation of the West Bank was the occupation and consequent annexation of the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) by Jordan (formerly Transjordan) in the aftermath of the 1948 ArabIsraeli War.[1][2] During the war, Jordan’s Arab Legion conquered the Old City of Jerusalem and took control of territory on the western side of the Jordan River, including the cities of Jericho, Bethlehem, Hebron and Nablus.[3] At the end of hostilities, Jordan was in complete control of the West Bank. Following the December 1948 Jericho Conference, and the 1949 renaming of the country from Transjordan to Jordan, the West Bank was formally annexed on 24 April 1950. The annexation was widely considered as illegal and void by the international community.[4] A month afterwards, the Arab League declared that they viewed the area “annexed by Jordan as a trust in its hands until the Palestine case is fully solved in the interests of its inhabitants.”[5] Recognition of Jordan’s declaration of annexation was only granted by the United Kingdom, Iraq and Pakistan.[6][7] When Jordan transferred its full citizenship rights to the residents of the West Bank, the annexation more than doubled the population of Jordan.[3] The naturalized Palestinians enjoyed equal opportunities in all sectors of the state without discrimination, and they were given half of the seats of the Jordanian parliament.[8] After Jordan lost the West Bank to Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War, the Palestinians there remained Jordanian citizens until Jordan decided to renounce claims and sever administrative ties with the territory in 1988. Prior to hostilities in 1948, Palestine (modern-day West Bank, Gaza Strip and Israel) had been under the British Mandate for Palestine (legal instrument) control of the British Empire, which captured it from the Ottomans in 1917. The British, as custodians of the land, implemented the land tenure laws in Palestine, which it had inherited from the Ottoman (as defined in the Ottoman Land Code of 1858), applying these laws to both Arab and Jewish tenants, legal or otherwise.[9] Toward the expiration of the British Mandate, Arabs aspired for independence and self-determination, as did the Jews of the country.[10] Following Israel’s declaration of independence on 14 May 1948, the Jordanian Arab Legion, under the leadership of Sir John Bagot Glubb, known as Glubb Pasha, was ordered to enter Palestine and secure the UN designated Arab area.[11] After the invasion, Jordan began making moves to perpetuate the Jordanian rule over the Arab part of Palestine. King Abdullah appointed governors on his behalf in the Arab cities of Ramallah, Hebron, Nablus, Bethlehem, Ramla and the Arab controlled part of Jerusalem, that were captured by Legion in the invasion. These governors were mostly Palestinians (including Aref al-Aref, Ibrahim Hashem and Ahmed Hilmi Pasha), and the Jordanians described them as “military” governors, so it wouldn’t anger the other Arab states, who opposed Jordan’s plans to incorporate the Arab part of Palestine into the kingdom. The king made other smaller moves towards the annexation of the West Bank: He ordered Palestinian policemen to wear the uniforms of the Jordanian police and its symbols; he instituted the use of Jordanian postage stamps instead of the British ones; Palestinian municipalities were not allowed to collect taxes and issue licenses; the radio of Ramallah called the locals to disobey the instructions of pro-Husseini officials and obey those of the Jordanian-backed governors.[12] The December 1948 Jericho Conference, a meeting of prominent Palestinian leaders and King Abdullah I, voted in favor of annexation into what was then Transjordan.[13] By the end of the war, Jordanian forces had control over the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. On 3 April 1949, Israel and Jordan signed an armistice agreement. The main points included: The remainder of the area designated as part of an Arab state under the UN Partition Plan was partly occupied by Egypt (Gaza Strip), partly occupied and annexed by Israel (West Negev, West Galilee, Jaffa). The intended international enclave of Jerusalem was divided between Israel and Jordan. The Jordanians immediately expelled all the Jewish residents of East Jerusalem.[14] All but one of the 35 synagogues in the Old City were destroyed over the course of the next 19 years, either razed or used as stables and chicken coops. Many other historic and religiously significant buildings were replaced by modern structures.[15][16] The ancient Jewish cemetery on Mount of Olives was desecrated, and the tombstones were used for construction, paving roads and lining latrines; the highway to the Intercontinental Hotel was built on top of the site.[17] Armistice Demarcation Lines, 19491967 In March 1948, the British Cabinet had agreed that the civil and military authorities in Palestine should make no effort to oppose the setting up of a Jewish State or a move into Palestine from Transjordan.[18] The United States, together with the United Kingdom favoured the annexation by Transjordan. The UK preferred to permit King Abdullah to annex the territory at the earliest date, while the United States preferred to wait until after the conclusion of the Palestine Conciliation Commission brokered negotiations.[19] Jordan formally annexed the West Bank on 24 April 1950, giving all residents automatic Jordanian citizenship. West Bank residents had already received the right to claim Jordanian citizenship in December 1949. Jordan’s annexation was widely regarded as illegal and void by the Arab League and others. Elihu Lauterpacht described it as a move that “entirely lacked legal justification.”[20] The annexation formed part of Jordan’s “Greater Syria Plan” expansionist policy,[21] and in response, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Syria joined Egypt in demanding Jordan’s expulsion from the Arab League.[22][23] A motion to expel Jordan from the League was prevented by the dissenting votes of Yemen and Iraq.[24] On 12 June 1950, the Arab League declared the annexation was a temporary, practical measure and that Jordan was holding the territory as a “trustee” pending a future settlement.[25][26] On 27 July 1953, King Hussein of Jordan announced that East Jerusalem was “the alternative capital of the Hashemite Kingdom” and would form an “integral and inseparable part” of Jordan.[27] In an address to parliament in Jerusalem in 1960, Hussein called the city the “second capital of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan”.[28] Only the United Kingdom formally recognized the annexation of the West Bank, de facto in the case of East Jerusalem.[29] The United States Department of State also recognized this extension of Jordanian sovereignty.[30][31] Pakistan is often claimed to have recognized Jordan’s annexation too, but this is dubious.[32][33] In 1950, the British extended formal recognition to the union between the Hashemite Kingdom and that part of Palestine under Jordanian occupation and control – with the exception of Jerusalem. The British government stated that it regarded the provisions of the Anglo-Jordan Treaty of Alliance of 1948 as applicable to all the territory included in the union.[34] Despite Arab League opposition, the inhabitants of the West Bank became citizens of Jordan. Tensions continued between Jordan and Israel through the early 1950s, with Palestinian guerrillas and Israeli commandos crossing the Green Line. Abdullah I of Jordan, who had become Emir of Transjordan in 1921 and King in 1923, was assassinated in 1951 during a visit to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount in East Jerusalem by a Palestinian gunman following rumours that he was discussing a peace treaty with Israel. The trial found that this assassination had been planned by Colonel Abdullah el-Tell, ex-military governor of Jerusalem, and Musa Abdullah Husseini. He was succeeded by his grandson King Hussein of Jordan once he came of age in 1953, after his father Talal’s brief reign. Unlike any other Arab country to which they fled after the 1948 ArabIsraeli War, Palestinian refugees in the West Bank (and on the East Bank) were given Jordanian citizenship on the same basis as existing residents.[35] However, many of the refugees continued to live in camps and relied on UNRWA assistance for sustenance. Palestinian refugees constituted more than a third of the kingdom’s population of 1.5 million. In the Jordanian parliament, the West and East Banks received 30 seats each, having roughly equal populations. The first elections were held on 11 April 1950. Although the West Bank had not yet been annexed, its residents were permitted to vote. The last Jordanian elections in which West Bank residents would vote were those of April 1967, but their parliamentary representatives would continue in office until 1988, when West Bank seats were finally abolished. Palestinians enjoyed equal opportunities in all sectors of the state without discrimination.[8] Agriculture remained the primary activity of the territory. The West Bank, despite its smaller area, contained half of Jordan’s agricultural land. In 1966, 43% of the labor force of 55,000 worked in agriculture, and 2,300km were under cultivation. (Numbers that have fallen considerably since.) In 1965, 15,000 workers were employed in industry, producing 7% of the GNP. This number fell after the 1967 war, and would not be surpassed until 1983.[36] The tourism industry also played an important role. 26 branches of 8 Arab banks were present. The Jordanian dinar became legal tender, and remains so there today.[citation needed] There was a significant flow of population from the West Bank to East Bank, in particular to the capital, Amman. Clauses in the 3 April 1949 Armistice Agreements specified that Israelis would have access to the religious sites in East Jerusalem. However, Jordan refused to implement this clause arguing that Israel’s refusal to permit the return of Palestinians to their homes in West Jerusalem voided that clause in the agreement.[37] Tourists entering East Jerusalem had to present baptismal certificates or other proof they were not Jewish.[38][39][40] The special committee that was to make arrangements for visits to holy places was never formed and Israelis, irrespective of religion, were barred from entering the Old City and other holy sites.[41] The Jewish Quarter and its ancient synagogues were systematically destroyed such as the Hurva Synagogue[42][43] and gravestones from the Jewish Cemetery on the Mount of Olives were used to build latrines for Jordanian army barracks.[44][45] By the end of the Six-Day War, the formerly Jordanian-controlled West Bank with its one million Palestinian population had come under Israeli military occupation. About 300,000 Palestinian refugees fled to Jordan. After 1967, all religious groups were granted administration over their own holy sites, while administration of the Temple Mount sacred to Jews, Christians, and Muslims remained in the hands of the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf. On 31 July 1988, Jordan renounced its claims to the West Bank (with the exception of guardianship over the Muslim and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem), and recognized the Palestine Liberation Organization as “the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.”[46][47] The 1993 Oslo Accords between the PLO and Israel “opened the road for Jordan to proceed on its own negotiating track with Israel.”[48] The Washington Declaration[49] was initialled one day after the Oslo Accords were signed. “On July 25, 1994, King Hussein met with Israeli Prime Minister Rabin in the Rose Garden of the White House, where they signed the Washington Declaration, formally ending the 46-year state of war between Jordan and Israel.”[48] Finally, on 26 October 1994, Jordan signed the IsraelJordan peace treaty, which normalized relations between the two countries and resolved territorial disputes between them.

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July 4, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: West Bank  Comments Closed

Israeli settlement – Wikipedia

Israeli settlements are civilian communities[i] inhabited by Israeli citizens, almost exclusively of Jewish ethnicity,[1][2] built predominantly on lands within the Palestinian territories, which Israel has militarily occupied since the 1967 Six-Day War,[3] and partly on lands considered Syrian territory also militarily occupied by Israel since the 1967 war. Such settlements within Palestinian territories currently exist in Area C of the West Bank and in East Jerusalem, and within Syrian territory in the Golan Heights. Following the 1967 war, Israeli settlements also existed within Egyptian territory in the Sinai Peninsula, and within the Palestinian territory of the Gaza Strip; however, Israel evacuated the Sinai settlements following the 1979 EgyptIsrael peace agreement and from the Gaza Strip in 2005 under Israel’s unilateral disengagement plan. Israel dismantled 18 settlements in the Sinai Peninsula in 1982, while in 2005[4] all 21 settlements in the Gaza Strip were dismantled, but only four in the West Bank. In the West Bank, however, Israel continues to expand its remaining settlements as well as settling new areas,[5][6][7][8][9] despite pressure from the international community to desist. According to the Israeli investigative reporter Uri Blau, settlements received funding by private tax-exempt U.S. NGOs of $220 million for 20092013, suggesting that the U.S. is indirectly subsidizing their creation.[10] The international community considers the settlements in occupied territory to be illegal,[11] and the United Nations has repeatedly upheld the view that Israel’s construction of settlements constitutes a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention.[12][13] The Israeli-occupied area known as East Jerusalem (Palestinian territory adjacent to West Jerusalem within Israel proper, together forming greater Jerusalem) and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights (within Syrian territory) are also considered settlements by the international community despite Israel having enacted domestic Israeli legislation declaring territorial annexation to Israel, which is also not recognised by the international community.[14] The International Court of Justice also says these purportedly annexed settlements are illegal in a 2004 advisory opinion.[15][16][17] In April 2012, UN secretary general Ban Ki-Moon, in response to moves by Israel to legalise Israeli outposts, reiterated that all settlement activity is illegal, and “runs contrary to Israel’s obligations under the Road Map and repeated Quartet calls for the parties to refrain from provocations.”[18] Similar criticism was advanced by the EU and the US.[19][20] Israel disputes the position of the international community and the legal arguments that were used to declare the settlements illegal.[21] In December 2016 United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 confirmed the illegality of the settlement enterprise and renders Israeli citizens involved with settling the West Bank vulnerable to lawsuits throughout the world.[22] The presence and ongoing expansion of existing settlements by Israel and the construction of settlement outposts is frequently criticized as an obstacle to the IsraeliPalestinian peace process by the Palestinians,[23] and third parties such as the OIC,[24] the United Nations,[25] Russia,[26] the United Kingdom,[27] France,[28] the European Union,[29] and the United States have echoed those criticisms.[25] Settlement has an economic dimension, much of it driven by the significantly lower costs of housing for Israeli citizens living in Israeli settlements compared to the cost of housing and living in Israel proper.[30] Government spending per citizen in the settlements is double that spent per Israeli citizen in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, while government spending for settlers in isolated Israeli settlements is three times the Israeli national average. Most of the spending goes to the security of the Israeli citizens living there.[31] On 30 June 2014, according to the Yesha Council, 382,031 Israeli citizens lived in the 121 officially recognised Israeli settlements in the West Bank, almost exclusively Jewish citizens of Israel. A number of Palestinian non-Israeli citizens (as opposed to Arab citizens of Israel) also reside in Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem,[32] however, over 300,000 Israeli citizens (both Jewish citizens of Israel and Arab citizens of Israel) lived in settlements in East Jerusalem, and over 20,000 Israeli citizens lived in settlements in the Golan Heights.[33][34][35] In January 2015 the Israeli Interior Ministry gave figures of 389,250 Israeli citizens living in the West Bank and a further 375,000 Israeli citizens living in East Jerusalem.[36] Settlements range in character from farming communities and frontier villages to urban suburbs and neighborhoods. The four largest settlements, Modi’in Illit, Ma’ale Adumim, Beitar Illit and Ariel, have achieved city status. Ariel has 18,000 residents, while the rest have around 37,000 to 55,500 each. The 1967 Six-Day War left Israel in control of [37] As early as 1967, Israeli settlement policy was started by the Labor government of Levi Eshkol. The basis for Israeli settlement in the West Bank became the Allon Plan,[38][39] named after its inventor Yigal Allon. It implied Israeli annexation of major parts of the Israeli-occupied territories, especially East Jerusalem, Gush Etzion and the Jordan Valley.[citation needed] The settlement policy of the government of Yitzhak Rabin, was also derived from the Allon Plan.[40] The first settlement was Kfar Etzion, in the southern West Bank,[38][41] although that location was outside the Allon Plan. Many settlements began as Nahal settlements. They were established as military outposts and later expanded and populated with civilian inhabitants. According to a secret document dating to 1970, obtained by Haaretz, the settlement of Kiryat Arba was established by confiscating land by military order and falsely representing the project as being strictly for military use while in reality, Kiryat Arba was planned for settler use. The method of confiscating land by military order for establishing civilian settlements was an open secret in Israel throughout the 1970s, but publication of the information was suppressed by the military censor.[42][43] The Likud government of Menahem Begin, from 1977, was more supportive to settlement in other parts of the West Bank, by organizations like Gush Emunim and the Jewish Agency/World Zionist Organization, and intensified the settlement activities.[40][44][45] In a government statement, Likud declared that the entire historic Land of Israel is the inalienable heritage of the Jewish people, and that no part of the West Bank should be handed over to foreign rule.[46] Ariel Sharon declared in the same year (1977) that there was a plan to settle 2 million Jews in the West Bank by 2000.[47] The government abrogated the prohibition from purchasing occupied land by Israelis; the “Drobles Plan”, a plan for large-scale settlement in the West Bank meant to prevent a Palestinian state under the pretext of security became the framework for its policy.[48][A] The “Drobles Plan” from the World Zionist Organization, dated October 1978 and named “Master Plan for the Development of Settlements in Judea and Samaria, 19791983”, was written by the Jewish Agency director and former Knesset member Matityahu Drobles. In January 1981, the government adopted a follow up-plan from Drobles, dated September 1980 and named “The current state of the settlements in Judea and Samaria”, with more details about settlement strategy and policy.[49][B] Since 1967, government-funded settlement projects in the West Bank are implemented by the “Settlement Division” of the World Zionist Organization.[50] Though formally a non-governmental organization, it is funded by the Israeli government and leases lands from the Civil Administration to settle in the West Bank. It is authorized to create settlements in the West Bank on lands licensed to it by the Civil Administration.[38] Traditionally, the Settlement Division has been under the responsibility of the Agriculture Ministry. Since the Olso Accords, it was always housed within the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). In 2007, it was moved back to the Agriculture Ministry. In 2009, the Netanyahu Government decided to subject all settlement activities to additional approval of the Prime Minister and the Defense Minister. In 2011, Netanyahu sought to move the Settlement Division again under the direct control of (his own) PMO, and to curtail Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s authority.[50] At the presentation of the Oslo II Accord on 5 October 1995 in the Knesset, PM Yitzhak Rabin expounded the Israeli settlement policy in connection with the permanent solution to the conflict. Israel wanted “a Palestinian entity, less than a state, which will be a home to most of the Palestinian residents living in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank”. It wanted to keep settlements beyond the Green Line including Ma’ale Adumim and Givat Ze’ev in East Jerusalem. Blocs of settlements should be established in the West Bank. Rabin promised not to return to the 4 June 1967 lines.[51] In June 1997, the Likud government of Benjamin Netanyahu presented its “Allon Plus Plan”. This plan holds the retention of some 60% of the West Bank, including the “Greater Jerusalem” area with the settlements Gush Etzion and Ma’aleh Adumim, other large concentrations of settlements in the West Bank, the entire Jordan Valley, a “security area”, and a network of Israeli-only bypass roads.[52][53] In the Road map for peace of 2002, which was never implemented, the establishment of a Palestinian state was acknowledged. Outposts would be dismantled. However, many new outposts appeared instead, few were removed. Israel’s settlement policy remained unchanged. Settlements in East Jerusalem and remaining West Bank were expanded. While according to official Israeli policy no new settlements were built, at least some hundred unauthorized outposts were established since 2002 with state funding in the 60% of the West Bank that was not under Palestinian administrative control and the population growth of settlers did not diminish. In 2005, all 21 settlements in the Gaza Strip and four in the northern West Bank were forcibly evacuated as part of Israeli disengagement from the Gaza Strip, known to some in Israel as “the Expulsion”.[4] However, the disengagement was more than compensated by transfers to the West Bank.[54] After the failure of the Roadmap, several new plans emerged to settle in major parts of the West Bank. In 2011, Haaretz revealed the Civil Administration’s “Blue Line”-plan, written in January 2011, which aims to increase Israeli “state-ownership” of West Bank lands (“state lands”) and settlement in strategic areas like the Jordan Valley and the Palestinian northern Dead Sea area.[55] In March 2012, it was revealed that the Civil Administration over the years covertly allotted 10% of the West Bank for further settlement. Provisional names for future new settlements or settlement expansions were already assigned. The plan includes many Palestinian built-up sites in the Areas A and B.[56] 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, and Ariel (almost 20,000 residents). Some are towns with a local council status with populations of 2,00020,0000, such as Alfei Menashe, Eli, Elkana, Efrat and Kiryat Arba. There are also clusters of villages governed by a local elected committee and regional councils that are responsible for municipal services. Examples are Kfar Adumim, Neve Daniel, Kfar Tapuach and Ateret. Kibbutzim and moshavim in the territories include Argaman, Gilgal, Niran and Yitav. Jewish neighborhoods have been built on the outskirts of Arab neighborhoods, for example in Hebron. In Jerusalem, there are urban neighborhoods where Jews and Arabs live together: the Muslim Quarter, Silwan, Abu Tor, Sheikh Jarrah and Shimon HaTzadik. Under the Oslo Accords, the West Bank was divided into three separate parts designated as Area A, Area B and Area C. Leaving aside the position of East Jerusalem, all of the settlements are in Area C which comprises about 60% of the West Bank. Some settlements were established on sites where Jewish communities had existed during the British Mandate of Palestine. Other communities: Shimon HaTzadik, Neve Yaakov and Atarot which in post-1967 was rebuilt as an industrial zone. At the end of 2010, 534,224 Jewish Israeli lived in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. 314,132 of them lived in the 121 authorised settlements and 102 unauthorised settlement outposts on the West Bank, 198,629 were living in East Jerusalem, and almost 20,000 lived in settlements in the Golan Heights. In 2011, 328,423 Israeli Jews were living on the West Bank, excluding Jerusalem, and the Jewish population in the Golan Heights exceeded 20,000.[54] For the year 2012, the Jewish population in the West Bank settlements excluding East Jerusalem was expected to rise to 350,000.[75]In May 2014, the Israeli Housing Minister Uri Ariel, who himself lives in the West Bank settlement of Kfar Adumim, put the settler population at up to 750,000: 400,000 in the West Bank and up to 350,000 in East Jerusalem. He stated: “I think that in five years there will be 550,000 or 600,000 Jews in Judea and Samaria, rather than 400,000 (now)”.[76] By the end of 2016, the West Bank Jewish population rose to 420,899, excluding East Jerusalem, where there were more than 200,000 Jews.[77] Note: due to change of definition, the number of settlements in the West Bank decreased in 1997 from 138 to 121 (outposts not included). Based on various sources,[54][76][78][79][80][81][82][83] population dispersal can be estimated as follows: -4,400[85] 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.[88] Population growth has continued in the 2000s.[89] According to the BBC, the settlements in the West Bank have been growing at a rate of 56% since 2001.[90] In 2016, there were sixty thousand American Israelis living in settlements in the West Bank.[91] The establishment of settlements in the Palestinian territories is linked to the displacement of the Palestinian populations as evidenced by a 1979 Security Council Commission which established a link between Israeli settlements and the displacement of the local population. The commission also found that those who remained were under consistent pressure to leave to make room for further settlers who were being encouraged into the area. In conclusion the commission stated that settlement in the Palestinian territories was causing “profound and irreversible changes of a geographic and demographic nature”.[92] The Israeli settlements in the West Bank make up what Israel calls the Judea and Samaria Area. Since December 2007, approval by both the Israeli Prime Minister and Israeli Defense Minister of all settlement activities (including planning) in the West Bank is required.[93] Authority for planning and construction is held by the Israel Defense Forces Civil Administration. The area consists of four cities, thirteen local councils and six regional councils. The Yesha Council (Hebrew: “, Moatzat Yesha, a Hebrew acronym for Judea, Samaria and Gaza) is the umbrella organization of municipal councils in the West Bank. The actual buildings of the Israeli settlements cover only 1 percent of the West Bank, but their jurisdiction and their regional councils extend to about 42 percent of the West Bank, according to the Israeli NGO B’Tselem. Yesha Council chairman Dani Dayan disputes the figures and claims that the settlements only control 9.2 percent of the West Bank.[94] Between 2001 and 2007 more than 10,000 Israeli settlement units were built, while 91 permits were issued for Palestinian construction, and 1,663 Palestinian structures were demolished in Area C.[95] West Bank Palestinians have their cases tried in Israel’s military courts while Jewish Israeli settlers living in the same occupied territory are tried in civil courts.[96] The arrangement has been described as “de facto segregation” by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.[97] A bill to formally extend Israeli law to the Israeli settlements in the West Bank was rejected in 2012.[98] On 31 August 2014, Israel announced it was appropriating 400 hectares of land in the West Bank to eventually house 1,000 Israel families. The appropriation was described as the largest in more than 30 years.[99] According to reports on Israel Radio, the development is a response to the 2014 kidnapping and murder of Israeli teenagers.[99] East Jerusalem is defined in the Jerusalem Law as part of Israel and its capital, Jerusalem. As such it is administered as part of the city and its district, the Jerusalem District. 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. The Golan Heights is administered under Israeli civil law as the Golan sub-district, a part of the Northern District. Israel makes no legal or administrative distinction between pre-1967 communities in the Golan Heights (mainly Druze) and the post-1967 settlements. After the capture of the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt in the 1967 Six-Day War, settlements were established along the Gulf of Aqaba and in the northeast, just below the Gaza Strip. It had plans to expand the settlement of Yamit into a city with a population of 200,000,[100] though the actual population of Yamit did not exceed 3,000.[101] The Sinai Peninsula was returned to Egypt in stages beginning in 1979 as part of the EgyptIsrael 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. Before Israel’s unilateral disengagement plan in which the Israeli settlements were evacuated, there were 21 settlements in the Gaza Strip under the administration of the Hof Aza Regional Council. The land was allocated in such a way that each Israeli settler disposed of 400 times the land available to the Palestinian refugees, and 20 times the volume of water allowed to the peasant farmers of the Strip.[102] The consensus view[103] in the international community is that the existence of Israeli settlements in the West Bank including East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights is in violation of international law.[104] The Fourth Geneva Convention includes statements such as “the Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies”.[105] At present, the view of the international community, as reflected in numerous UN resolutions, regards the building and existence of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights as a violation of international law.[106][107][108] UN Security Council Resolution 446 refers to the Fourth Geneva Convention 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[109] as has the primary judicial organ of the UN, the International Court of Justice.[110] The position of successive Israeli governments is that all authorized settlements are entirely legal and consistent with international law.[111] In practice, Israel does not accept that the Fourth Geneva Convention applies de jure, but has stated that on humanitarian issues it will govern itself de facto by its provisions, without specifying which these are.[112][113] The scholar and jurist Eugene Rostow[114] has disputed the illegality of authorized settlements. Under Israeli law, West Bank settlements must meet specific criteria to be legal.[115] In 2009, there were approximately 100[90] small communities that did not meet these criteria and are referred to as illegal outposts.[116][117][118] In 2014 twelve EU countries warned businesses against involving themselves in the settlements. According to the warnings, economic activities relating to the settlements involve legal and economic risks stemming from the fact that the settlements are built on occupied land not recognized as Israel’s.[119][120] After the Six-Day War, in 1967, Theodor Meron, 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.”[121] This legal opinion was sent to Prime Minister Levi Eshkol. However, it was not made public at the time. The Labor cabinet allowed settlements despite the warning. This paved the way for future settlement growth. In 2007, Meron stated that “I believe that I would have given the same opinion today.”[122] In 1978, the Legal Adviser of the Department of State of the United States reached the same conclusion.[116][123] The International Court of Justice, in its advisory opinion, has since 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.[124] International intergovernmental organizations such as the Conference of the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention,[125] major organs of the United Nations,[126] the European Union, and Canada,[127] also 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.”[128] Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch have also characterized the settlements as a violation of international law. In late January 2013 a report drafted by three justices, presided over by Christine Chanet, and issued by the United Nations Human Rights Council declared that Jewish settlements constituted a creeping annexation based on multiple violations of the Geneva Conventions and international law, and stated that if Palestine ratified the Rome Accord, Israel could be tried for “gross violations of human rights law and serious violations of international humanitarian law.’ A spokesman for Israel’s Foreign Ministry declared the report unfortunate’ and accused the UN’s Human Rights Council of a “systematically one-sided and biased approach towards Israel.” [129] According to Talia Sasson, the High Court of Justice in Israel, with a variety of different justices sitting, has repeatedly stated for more than 4 decades that Israel’s presence in the West Bank is in violation of international law.[130] Four prominent jurists cited the concept of the “sovereignty vacuum” in the immediate aftermath of the Six-Day War to describe the legal status of the West Bank and Gaza:[131] Yehuda Zvi Blum in 1968,[132] Elihu Lauterpacht in 1968,[133] Julius Stone in 1969[134] and 1981,[135] and Stephen M. Schwebel in 1970.[136] Eugene V. Rostow also argued in 1979 that the occupied territories’ legal status was undetermined.[137] Professor Ben Saul took exception to this view, arguing that Article 49(6) can be read to include voluntary or assisted transfers, as indeed it was in the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice which had expressed this interpretation in the Israeli Wall Advisory Opinion (2003).[141] 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.[142] Israel argues that its settlement policy is consistent with international law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention, while recognising that some settlements have been constructed illegally on private land.[143] 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.[144][145][146] In 1998 the Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs produced “The International Criminal Court Background Paper”.[147] 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 was held in Rome in 1998, where Israel was one of seven countries to vote against the Rome Statute to establish the International Criminal Court. Israel was opposed to a provision that included as a war crime the transfer of civilian populations into territory the government occupies.[148] Israel has signed the statute, but not ratified the treaty.[149] By Israeli law, privately owned land can not be part of a settlement, unless the land in question has been confiscated for military purposes.[115] In 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.[150] Peace Now called this a violation of Israeli law.[151] Peace Now published a comprehensive report about settlements on private lands.[152][153] In the wake of a legal battle, Peace Now lowered the figure to 32 percent, which the Civil Administration also denied.[154] 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.”[155] 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.”[156] The unauthorized seizure of private Palestinian land was defined by the Civil Administration itself as ‘theft.'[157] According to B’Tselem, more than 42 percent of the West Bank are under control of the Israeli settlements, 21 percent of which was seized from private Palestinian owners, much of it in violation of the 1979 Israeli Supreme Court decision.[94] In 1979, the government decided to extend settlements or build new ones only on “state lands”.[55][115] A secret database, drafted by a retired senior officer, Baruch Spiegel, on orders from former defense minister Shaul Mofaz, found that some settlements deemed legal by Israel were illegal outposts, and that large portions of Ofra, Elon Moreh and Beit El were built on private Palestinian land. The “Spiegel report” was revealed by Haaretz in 2009. Many settlements are largely built on private lands, without approval of the Israeli Government.[158] 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.[159] 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 rule. B’Tselem charged that Israel is using the absence of modern legal documents for the communal land as a legal basis for expropriating it. These “abandoned lands” are sometimes laundered through a series of fraudulent sales.[160] According to Amira Hass, one of the techniques used by Israel to expropriate Palestinian land is to place desired areas under a ‘military firing zone’ classification, and then issue orders for the evacuation of Palestinians from the villages in that range, while allowing contiguous Jewish settlements to remain unaffected.[161] Amnesty International argues that Israel’s settlement policy is discriminatory and a violation of Palestinian human rights.[162] B’Tselem claims that Israeli travel restrictions impact on Palestinian freedom of movement[163] and Palestinian human rights have been violated in Hebron due to the presence of the settlers within the city.[164][165][166] 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.[167] The roads built by Israel in the West Bank to serve the settlements are closed to Palestinian vehicles'[168][169] and act as a barrier often between villages and the lands on which they subsist.[170] Human Rights Watch and other human rights observer volunteer regularly file reports on “settler violence,” referring to stoning and shooting incidents involving Israeli settlers.[171] Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza and Hebron have led to violent settler protests and disputes over land and resources. Meron Benvenisti described the settlement enterprise as a “commercial real estate project that conscripts Zionist rhetoric for profit.”[172] The construction of the Israeli West Bank barrier 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.[173][174] In July 2012, the UN Human Rights Council decided to set up a probe into Jewish settlements. The report of the independent international fact-finding mission which investigated the “implications of the Israeli settlements on the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the Palestinian people throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory” was published in February 2013.[175] Goods produced in Israeli settlements are able to stay competitive on the global market, in part because of massive state subsidies they receive from the Israeli government. Farmers and producers are given state assistance, while companies that set up in the territories receive tax breaks and direct government subsidies. An Israeli government fund has also been established to help companies pay customs penalties.[176] Palestinian officials estimate that settlers sell goods worth some $500 million to the Palestinian market.[177] Israel has built 16 industrial zones, containing roughly 1000 industrial plants, in the West Bank and East Jerusalem on acreage that consumes large parts of the territory planned for a future Palestinian state. According to Jodi Rudoren these installations both entrench the occupation and provide work for Palestinians, even those opposed to it. The 16 parks are located at Shaked, Beka’ot, Baran, Karnei Shomron, Emmanuel, Barkan, Ariel, Shilo, Halamish, Ma’ale Efraim, Sha’ar Binyamin, Atarot, Mishor Adumim, Gush Etzion, Kiryat Arba and Metarim (2001).[178] According to Israeli government estimates, $230 million worth of settler goods including fruit, vegetables, cosmetics, textiles and toys are exported to the EU each year, accounting for approximately 2% of all Israeli exports to Europe.[176] A 2013 report of Profundo revealed that at least 38 Dutch companies imported settlement products.[179] European Union law requires a distinction to be made between goods originating in Israel and those from the occupied territories. The former benefit from preferential custom treatment according to the EU-Israel Association Agreement (2000); the latter don’t, having been explicitly excluded from the agreement.[176][180] In practice, however, settler goods often avoid mandatory customs through being labelled as originating in Israel, while European customs authorities commonly fail to complete obligatory postal code checks of products to ensure they have not originated in the occupied territories.[176][179] In 2009, the United Kingdom’s Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs issued new guidelines concerning labelling of goods imported from the West Bank. The new guidelines require labelling to clarify whether West Bank products originate from settlements or from the Palestinian economy. Israel’s foreign ministry said that the UK was “catering to the demands of those whose ultimate goal is the boycott of Israeli products”; but this was denied by the UK government, who said that the aim of the new regulations was to allow consumers to choose for themselves what produce they buy.[180] Denmark has similar legislation requiring food products from settlements in the occupied territories to be accurately labelled.[176] A Palestinian report argued in 2011 that settlements have a detrimental effect on the Palestinian economy, equivalent to about 85% of the nominal gross domestic product of Palestine, and that the “occupation enterprise” allows the state of Israel and commercial firms to profit from Palestinian natural resources and tourist potential.[181] A 2013 report published by the World Bank analysed the impact that the limited access to Area C lands and resources had on the Palestinian economy. While settlements represent a single axis of control, it is the largest with 68% of the Area C lands reserved for the settlements. The report goes on to calculate that access to the lands and resources of Area C, including the territory in and around settlements, would increase the Palestinian GDP by some $3.5 billion (or 35%) per year.[182] The Israeli Supreme Court has ruled that Israeli companies are entitled to exploit the West Bank’s natural resources for economic gain, and that international law must be “adapted” to the “reality on the ground” of long-term occupation.[183] Due to the availability of jobs offering twice the prevailing salary of the West Bank (as of August2013[update]), as well as high unemployment, tens of thousands of Palestinians work in Israeli settlements.[184][185] According to the Manufacturers Association of Israel, some 22,000 Palestinians were employed in construction, agriculture, manufacturing and service industries.[186] An Al-Quds University study in 2011 found that 82% of Palestinian workers said they would prefer to not work in Israeli settlements if they had alternative employment in the West Bank.[184] Palestinians have been highly involved in the construction of settlements in the West Bank. In 2013, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics released their survey showing that the number of Palestinian workers who are employed by the Jewish settlements increased from 16,000 to 20,000 in the first quarter.[185] The survey also found that Palestinians who work in Israel and the settlements are paid more than twice their salary compared to what they receive from Palestinian employers.[185] In 2008, Kav LaOved charged that Palestinians who work in Israeli settlements are not granted basic protections of Israeli labor law. Instead, they are employed under Jordanian labor law, which does not require minimum wage, payment for overtime and other social rights. In 2007, the Supreme Court of Israel 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.[187] According to Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, 63% of Palestinians opposed PA plans to prosecute Palestinians who work in the settlements. However, 72% of Palestinians support a boycott of the products they sell.[188] Although the Palestinian Authority has criminalized working in the settlements, the director-general at the Palestinian Ministry of Labor, Samer Salameh, described the situation in February 2014 as being “caught between two fires”. He said “We strongly discourage work in the settlements, since the entire enterprise is illegal and illegitimate…but given the high unemployment rate and the lack of alternatives, we do not enforce the law that criminalizes work in the settlements.”[184] Gush Emunim Underground was a militant organization that operated in 19791984. The organization planned attacks on Palestinian officials and the Dome of the Rock.[189][190] In 1994, Baruch Goldstein of Hebron, a member of Kach carried out the Cave of the Patriarchs massacre, 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.[191] Violence perpetrated by Israeli settlers against Palestinians constitutes terrorism according to the U.S. Department of State, and former IDF Head of Central Command Avi Mizrahi stated that such violence constitutes “terror.”[192] In mid-2008, a UN report recorded 222 acts of Israeli settler violence against Palestinians and IDF troops compared with 291 in 2007.[193] This trend reportedly increased in 2009.[194] Maj-Gen Shamni said that the number had risen from a few dozen individuals to hundreds, and called it “a very grave phenomenon.”[193] In 20082009, the defense establishment adopted a harder line against the extremists.[194] This group responded with a tactic dubbed “price tagging,” vandalizing Palestinian property whenever police or soldiers were sent in to dismantle outposts.[195] From January through to September 2013, 276 attacks by settlers against Palestinians were recorded.[196] Leading religious figures in the West Bank have harshly criticized these tactics. Rabbi Menachem Froman of Tekoa said that “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.”[197] The Yesha Council and Hanan Porat also condemned such actions.[198] Other rabbis have been accused of inciting violence against non-Jews.[199] In response to settler violence, the Israeli government said that it would increase law enforcement and cut off aid to illegal outposts.[200] Some settlers are thought to lash out at Palestinians because they are “easy victims.”[201] The United Nations accused Israel of failing to intervene and arrest settlers suspected of violence.[202] 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.”[203] In September 2011, settlers vandalized a mosque and an army base. They slashed tires and cut cables of 12 army vehicles and sprayed graffiti.[204] In November 2011, the United Nations Office for Coordination of Human Affairs (OCHA) in the Palestinian territories published a report on settler violence that showed a significant rise compared to 2009 and 2010. The report covered physical violence and property damage such as uprooted olive trees, damaged tractors and slaughtered sheep. The report states that 90% of complaints filed by Palestinians have been closed without charge.[205] According to EU reports, Israel has created an “atmosphere of impunity” for Jewish attackers, which is seen as tantamount to tacit approval by the state. In the West Bank, Jews and Palestinians live under two different legal regimes and it is difficult for Palestinians to lodge complaints, which must be filed in Hebrew in Israeli settlements.[206] The 27 ministers of foreign affairs of the European Union published a report in May 2012 strongly denouncing policies of the State of Israel in the West Bank and denouncing “continuous settler violence and deliberate provocations against Palestinian civilians.”[207] The report by all EU ministers called “on the government of Israel to bring the perpetrators to justice and to comply with its obligations under international law.”[207] In July 2014, a day after the burial of three murdered Israeli teens. Khdeir, a 16-year-old Palestinian, was forced into a car by 3 Israeli settlers on an East Jerusalem street. His family immediately reported the fact to Israeli Police who located his charred body a few hours later at Givat Shaul in the Jerusalem Forest. Preliminary results from the autopsy suggested that he was beaten and burnt while still alive.[208][209][210][211] The murder suspects explained the attack as a response to the June abduction and murder of three Israeli teens.[212][213] The murders contributed to a breakout of hostilities in the 2014 IsraelGaza conflict.[214] In July 2015, a similar incident occurred where Israeli settlers made an arson attack on two Palestinian houses, one of which was empty; however, the other was occupied, resulting in the burning to death of a Palestinian infant; the four other members of his family were evacuated to the hospital suffering serious injuries.[215] These two incidents received condemnation from the United States, European Union and the IDF.[216] The European Union criticized Israel for “failing to protect the Palestinian population”.[216] While the Economy of the Palestinian territories has shown signs of growth, the International Committee of the Red Cross reported that Palestinian olive farming has suffered. According to the ICRC, 10,000 olive trees were cut down or burned by settlers in 2007-2010.[217][218] Foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said the report ignored official PA data showing that the economic situation of Palestinians had improved substantially, citing Mahmoud Abbas’s comment to The Washington Post in May 2009, where he said “in the West Bank, we have a good reality, the people are living a normal life.”[217] Haaretz blamed the violence during the olive harvest on a handful of extremists.[219] In 2010, trees belonging to both Jews and Arabs were cut down, poisoned or torched. In the first two weeks of the harvest, 500 trees owned by Palestinians and 100 trees owned by Jews had been vandalized.[220] In October 2013, 100 trees were cut down.[221] Violent attacks on olive trees seem to be facilitated by the apparently systematic refusal of the Israeli authorities to allow Palestinians to visit their own groves, some times for years, especially in cases where the groves are deemed to be too close to settlements.[222] Pro-Palestinian activists who hold regular protests near the settlements have been accused of stone-throwing, physical assault and provocation.[223][224][225] In 2008, Avshalom Peled, head of the Israel Police’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.[226] Settlers are targeted by Palestinian armed groups who, according to Human Rights Watch, say that settlers are a legitimate target because they have forfeited their civilian status by residing in settlements that are illegal under international humanitarian law.[227] Both Human Rights Watch and B’tselem rejected this argument on the basis that the legal status of the settlements has no effect on the civilian status of their residents.[227][228] Human Rights Watch said the “prohibition against intentional attacks against civilians is absolute”.[227] B’tselem said “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.”[228] Fatal attacks on settlers have included firing of rockets and mortars and drive-by shootings, 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,[229] and the murder of two teenagers on 8 May 2001, whose bodies were hidden in a cave near Tekoa.[230] In the Bat Ayin axe attack, children in Bat Ayin were attacked by a Palestinian wielding an axe and a knife. A 13-year-old boy was killed and another was seriously wounded.[231] Rabbi Meir Hai, a father of seven, was killed in a drive-by shooting.[232][233] In August 2011, five members of one family were killed in their beds. The victims were the father Ehud (Udi) Fogel, the mother Ruth Fogel, and three of their six childrenYoav, 11, Elad, 4, and Hadas, the youngest, a three-month-old infant. According to David Ha’ivri,[234] and as reported by multiple sources,[235] the infant was decapitated.[236] 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.[237] According to a Haaretz study, settlers account for 10% of the population in the West Bank but produce 25% of the sewage output.[citation needed] Beit Duqqu and Qalqilyah 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.[237][238] 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 claimed that sewage treatment was inadequate in both sectors. Sewage from Palestinian sources was estimated at 46million cubic meters a year, and sources from settler sources at 15million 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.[237][239] In a 2007 study, the Israel Nature and Parks Authority and Israeli Ministry of Environmental Protection, found that Palestinian towns and cities produced 56million cubic meters of sewage per year, 94 percent discharged without adequate treatment, while Israeli sources produced 17.5million cubic meters per year, 31.5 percent without adequate treatment.[240] According to Palestinian environmentalists, the settlers operate industrial and manufacturing plants that can create pollution as many do not conform to Israeli standards.[237][238] In 2005, an old quarry between Kedumim and Nablus was slated for conversion into an industrial waste dump. Pollution experts warned that the dump would threaten Palestinian water sources.[241] The Consortium for Applied Research on International Migration (CARIM) has reported in their 2011 migration profile for Palestine that the reasons for individuals to leave the country are similar to those of other countries in the region and they attribute less importance to the specific political situation of the occupied Palestinian territory.[242] Human Rights Watch in 2010 reported that Israeli settlement policies have had the effect of “forcing residents to leave their communities”.[243][244] In 2008, Condoleezza Rice suggested sending Palestinian refugees to South America, which might reduce pressure on Israel to withdraw from the settlements.[245] Sushil P. Seth speculates that Israelis seem to feel[weaselwords] that increasing settlements will force many Palestinians to flee to other countries and that the remainder will be forced to live under Israeli terms.[246] Speaking anonymously with regard to Israeli policies in the South Hebron Hills, a UN expert said that the Israeli crackdown on alternative energy infrastructures like solar panels is part of a deliberate strategy in Area C.

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May 22, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: West Bank  Comments Closed

2 Palestinians Killed, 98 Wounded in Clashes With Israeli …

Two Palestinian protesters were killed and 98 were wounded in clashes with Israeli security forces in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip on Friday. Thousands of protesters took to the streets in a second “Day of Rage” following U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. To really understand the Middle East – subscribe to Haaretz A 30-year-old Palestinian was killed by IDF gunfire in the Khan Younis region in Gaza, according to Palestinian health officials. Another man, in his fifties, was killed in a clash in northern Gaza. Some 3,000 protesters took part in demonstrations around the West Bank, including in the cities of Ramallah, Hebron, Tul Karm and Nublus. According to the Israeli army, protesters threw molotov cocktails and rocks. Security forces responded with live fire, rubber bullets and tear gas. Twenty-eight protesters were arrested. Fifty-two Palestinians were wounded by rubber bullets at protests in the West Bank, the Palestinian Red Crescent reported. Eleven were reportedly wounded by live fire.Dozens were treated for tear-gas inhalation, according to the Red Crescent. We’ve got more newsletters we think you’ll find interesting. Please try again later. This email address has already registered for this newsletter. > > Jerusalem for dummies: Why the world doesn’t recognize Jerusalam as Israel’s capital> > Some 4,500 Palestinians protested in six locations along the Strip’s border with Israel.The Red Crescent said 15 people were hurt by live IDF gunfire, and a further 20 wounded by rubber bullets in the area of Khan Younis, in the south of Gaza. Three people are reported to be critical condition. Clashes also took place in Jabalia and the Nahal Oz area, along the Strip’s border. A number of protesters have been arrested at Jerusalem’s Damascus Gate, where skirmishes between Israeli police forces and Palestinian protesters took place after tens of thousands of Muslim worshippers attended Friday prayers in Al-Aqsa Mosque at the Temple Mount compound. Further protests were held in the Israeli towns of Umm al-Fahm, Kalansua and Kfar Kana. One man was arrested on suspicion of throwing rocks in the city of Nazareth, where a protest was held. Thousands of protesters also took to the streets of the Jordanian capital of Amman after midday prayers to protest Trump’s announcement. Similar protests were held in Iraq, Egypt and Turkey, with more expected on Saturday. Friday’s protests followed a “Day of Rage” on Thursday, in which at least 20 Palestinians were wounded in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza in clashes with Israeli soldiers.

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December 9, 2017   Posted in: West Bank  Comments Closed

West Bank – mobile Wiki

The West Bank (Arabic: a-iffah l-arbiyyah; Hebrew: , HaGadah HaMa’aravit) is a landlocked territory near the Mediterranean coast of Western Asia, the bulk of it now under Israeli control, or else under joint Israeli-Palestinian Authority control. The final status of the entire area is yet to be determined by the parties concerned. The West Bank shares boundaries (demarcated by the Jordanian-Israeliarmistice of 1949) to the west, north, and south with Israel, and to the east, across the Jordan River, with Jordan. The West Bank also contains a significant section of the western Dead Sea shore. The West Bank, including East Jerusalem, has a land area of 5,640km plus a water area of 220km, consisting of the northwest quarter of the Dead Sea. As of July 2015 it has an estimated population of 2,785,366 Palestinians, and approximately 371,000 Israeli settlers, and approximately another 212,000 Jewish Israelis in East Jerusalem. The international community considers Israeli settlements in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, illegal under international law, though Israel disputes this. The International Court of Justice advisory ruling (2004) concluded that events that came after the 1967 occupation of the West Bank by Israel, including the Jerusalem Law, Israel’s peace treaty with Jordan and the Oslo Accords, did not change the status of the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) as occupied territory with Israel as the occupying power. Contents The name West Bank is a translation of the Arabic term ad-Diffah I-Garbiyyah, given to the territory west of the Jordan River that fell, in 1948, under occupation and administration by Jordan, which claimed subsequently to have annexed it in 1950. This annexation was recognized only by Britain, Iraq and Pakistan. The term was chosen to differentiate the west bank of the River Jordan from the “east bank” of this river. The neo-Latin name Cisjordan or Cis-Jordan (literally “on this side of the River Jordan”) is the usual name for the territory in the Romance languages and Hungarian. The name West Bank, however, has become the standard usage for this geopolitical entity in English and some of the other Germanic languages since its creation following the Jordanian army’s conquest. In English, the name Cisjordan is occasionally used to designate the entire region between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean, particularly in the historical context of the British Mandate and earlier times. The analogous Transjordan (literally “on the other side of the River Jordan”) has historically been used to designate the region now roughly comprising the state of Jordan, which lies to the east of the Jordan River. From 1517 through 1917, the area now known as the West Bank was under Ottoman rule as part of the provinces of Syria. At the 1920 San Remo conference, the victorious Allied powers (France, UK, USA, etc.) allocated the area to the British Mandate of Palestine (192047). The San Remo Resolution adopted on 25 April 1920 incorporated the Balfour Declaration of 1917. It and Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations were the basic documents upon which the British Mandate for Palestine was constructed. Faced with the determination of Emir Abdullah to unify Arab lands under the Hashemite banner, the British proclaimed Abdullah ruler of the three districts, known collectively as Transjordan. Confident that his plans for the unity of the Arab nation would eventually come to fruition, the emir established the first centralized governmental system in what is now modern Jordan on 11 April 1921. The West Bank area, was conquered by Jordan during the 1948 war with the new state of Israel. In 1947, it was subsequently designated as part of a proposed Arab state by the United Nations (UN) partition plan for Palestine. The resolution recommended partition of the British Mandate into a Jewish State, an Arab State, and an internationally administered enclave of Jerusalem; a broader region of the modern-day West Bank was assigned to the Arab State. The resolution designated the territory described as “the hill country of Samaria and Judea” (including what is now also known as the “West Bank”) as part of the proposed Arab state, but following the 1948 Arab-Israeli War this area was captured by Transjordan (renamed Jordan two years after independence in 1946). 1949 Armistice Agreements defined the interim boundary between Israel and Jordan. In 1950, Transjordan annexed the area west of the Jordan River, naming it “West Bank” or “Cisjordan”, as “East Bank” or “Transjordan” designated the area east of the river. Jordan ruled over the West Bank from 1948 until 1967. Jordan’s annexation was never formally recognized by the international community, with the exception of the United Kingdom. A two-state option, dividing Palestine, as opposed to a binary solution arose during the period of the British mandate in the area.The United Nations Partition Plan had envisaged two states, one Jewish and the other Arab/Palestinian, but in the wake of the war only one emerged at the time. King Abdullah of Jordan had been crowned King of Jerusalem by the Coptic Bishop on 15 November 1948. and granted Palestinian Arabs in the West Bank and East Jerusalem Jordanian citizenship. In June 1967, the West Bank and East Jerusalem were captured by Israel as a result of the Six-Day War. With the exception of East Jerusalem and the former Israeli-Jordanian no man’s land, the West Bank was not annexed by Israel but came under Israeli military control until 1982. Although the 1974 Arab League summit resolution at Rabat designated the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) as the “sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people”, Jordan did not officially relinquish its claim to the area until 1988, when it severed all administrative and legal ties with the West Bank and eventually stripped West Bank Palestinians of Jordanian citizenship. In 1982, as a result of the IsraeliEgyptian peace treaty, the direct military rule was transformed into a semi-civil authority, operating directly under the Israeli Ministry of Defense, thus taking control of civil matters of Palestinians from the IDF to civil servants in the Ministry of Defense. The Israeli settlements were, on the other hand, administered subsequently as Judea and Samaria Area directly by Israel. Since the 1993 Oslo Accords, the Palestinian Authority officially controls a geographically non-contiguous territory comprising approx. 11% of the West Bank (known as Area A) which remains subject to Israeli incursions. Area B (approx. 28%) is subject to joint Israeli-Palestinian military and Palestinian civil control. Area C (approx. 61%) is under full Israeli control. Though 164 nations refer to the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, as “Occupied Palestinian Territory”, the state of Israel is of the view that only territories captured in war from “an established and recognized sovereign” are considered occupied territories. After the 2007 split between Fatah and Hamas, the West Bank areas under Palestinian control are an exclusive part of the Palestinian Authority, while the Gaza Strip is ruled by Hamas. Area assigned for a Jewish state; Area assigned for an Arab state; Israeli controlled territory from 1949; Arab controlled territory until 1967 From 1517 to 1917 the West Bank was part of the Ottoman Empire. Turkey, successor state to the Ottoman Empire, renounced its territorial claims in 1923, signing the Treaty of Lausanne, and the area now called the West Bank became an integral part of the British Mandate for Palestine. During the Mandate period Britain had no right of sovereignty, which was held by the people under the mandate. Nevertheless, Britain, as custodians of the land, implemented the land tenure laws in Palestine, which it had inherited from the Ottoman Turks (as defined in the Ottoman Land Code of 1858), applying these laws unto, both, Arab and Jewish legal tenants or otherwise. In 1947 the UN General Assembly recommended that the area that became the West Bank become part of a future Arab state, but this proposal was opposed by the Arab states at the time. In 1948, Jordan occupied the West Bank and annexed it in 1950. In 1967, Israel captured the West Bank from Jordan in the Six-Day War. UN Security Council Resolution 242 that followed called for withdrawal from territories occupied in the conflict in exchange for peace and mutual recognition. Since 1979 the United Nations Security Council, the United Nations General Assembly, the United States, the EU, the International Court of Justice, and the International Committee of the Red Cross refer to the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, as occupied Palestinian territory or the occupied territories. General Assembly resolution 58/292 (17 May 2004) affirmed that the Palestinian people have the right to sovereignty over the area. The International Court of Justice and the Supreme Court of Israel have ruled that the status of the West Bank is that of military occupation. In its 2004 advisory opinion the International Court of Justice concluded that: The territories situated between the Green Line and the former eastern boundary of Palestine under the Mandate were occupied by Israel in 1967 during the armed conflict between Israel and Jordan. Under customary international law, the Court observes, these were therefore occupied territories in which Israel had the status of occupying Power. Subsequent events in these territories have done nothing to alter this situation. The Court concludes that all these territories (including East Jerusalem) remain occupied territories and that Israel has continued to have the status of occupying Power. In the same vein the Israeli Supreme Court stated in the 2004 Beit Sourik case that: The general point of departure of all parties which is also our point of departure is that Israel holds the area in belligerent occupation (occupatio bellica)……The authority of the military commander flows from the provisions of public international law regarding belligerent occupation. These rules are established principally in the Regulations Concerning the Laws and Customs of War on Land, The Hague, 18 October 1907 [hereinafter the Hague Regulations]. These regulations reflect customary international law. The military commanders authority is also anchored in IV Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War 1949. The executive branch of the Israeli government, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has defined the West Bank as disputed territory, whose status can only be determined through negotiations. The Ministry says that occupied territories are territories captured in war from an established and recognized sovereign, and that since the West Bank wasn’t under the legitimate and recognized sovereignty of any state prior to the Six-Day War, it shouldn’t be considered an occupied territory. The International Court of Justice ruling of 9 July 2004, however, found that the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is territory held by Israel under military occupation, regardless of its status prior to it coming under Israeli occupation and the Fourth Geneva convention applies de jure. The international community regards the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) as territories occupied by Israel. International law (Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention) prohibits “transfers of the population of an occupying power to occupied territories”, incurring a responsibility on the part of Israel’s government to not settle Israeli citizens in the West Bank. As of 27 September 2013, 134 (69.4%) of the 193 member states of the United Nations have recognised the State of Palestine within the Palestinian territories, which are recognized by Israel to constitute a single territorial unit, and of which the West Bank is the core of the would-be state. The future status of the West Bank, together with the Gaza Strip on the Mediterranean shore, has been the subject of negotiation between the Palestinians and Israelis, although the current Road Map for Peace, proposed by the “Quartet” comprising the United States, Russia, the European Union, and the United Nations, envisions an independent Palestinian state in these territories living side by side with Israel (see also proposals for a Palestinian state). However, the “Road Map” states that in the first phase, Palestinians must end all attacks on Israel, whereas Israel must dismantle outposts. Since neither condition has been met since the Road Map was “accepted” by all sides, final negotiations have not yet begun on major political differences. The Palestinian Authority believes that the West Bank ought to be a part of their sovereign nation, and that the presence of Israeli military control is a violation of their right to Palestinian Authority rule. The United Nations calls the West Bank and Gaza Strip Israeli-occupied territories. The United States State Department also refers to the territories as occupied. Many Israelis and their supporters prefer the term disputed territories, because they claim part of the territory for themselves, and state that the land has not for 2000 years been sovereign. Palestinian public opinion opposes Israeli military and settler presence on the West Bank as a violation of their right to statehood and sovereignty. Israeli opinion is split into a number of views: In 2005 the United States ambassador to Israel, Daniel C. Kurtzer, expressed U.S. support “for the retention by Israel of major Israeli population centres [in the West Bank] as an outcome of negotiations”, reflecting President Bush’s statement a year earlier that a permanent peace treaty would have to reflect “demographic realities” on the West Bank. In May 2011 US President Barack Obama officially stated US support for a future Palestinian state based on borders prior to the 1967 War, allowing for land swaps where they are mutually agreeable between the two sides. Obama was the first US president to formally support the policy, but he stated that it had been one long held by the US in its Middle East negotiations. The West Bank has an area of 5,628 square kilometres (2,173sqmi), which comprises 21.2% of former Mandatory Palestine (excluding Jordan) and has generally rugged mountainous terrain. The total length of the land boundaries of the region are 404 kilometres (251 miles). The terrain is mostly rugged dissected upland, some vegetation in the west, but somewhat barren in the east. The elevation span between the shoreline of the Dead Sea at 408 m to the highest point at Mount Nabi Yunis, at 1,030 m (3,379ft) above sea level. The area of West Bank is landlocked; highlands are main recharge area for Israel’s coastal aquifers. There are few natural resources in the area except the highly arable land, which comprises 27% of the land area of the region. It is mostly used as permanent pastures (32% of arable land) and seasonal agricultural uses (40%). Forests and woodland comprise just 1%, with no permanent crops. The climate in the West Bank is mostly Mediterranean, slightly cooler at elevated areas compared with the shoreline, west to the area. In the east, the West Bank includes the Judean Desert and the shoreline of the Dead Sea both with dry and hot climate. The 1993 Oslo Accords declared the final status of the West Bank to be subject to a forthcoming settlement between Israel and the Palestinian leadership. Following these interim accords, Israel withdrew its military rule from some parts of the West Bank, which was divided into three administrative divisions of the Oslo Accords: Area A, 2.7%, full civil control of the Palestinian Authority, comprises Palestinian towns, and some rural areas away from Israeli settlements in the north (between Jenin, Nablus, Tubas, and Tulkarm), the south (around Hebron), and one in the center south of Salfit. Area B, 25.2%, adds other populated rural areas, many closer to the center of the West Bank. Area C contains all the Israeli settlements (excluding settlements in East Jerusalem), roads used to access the settlements, buffer zones (near settlements, roads, strategic areas, and Israel), and almost all of the Jordan Valley and the Judean Desert. Areas A and B are themselves divided among 227 separate areas (199 of which are smaller than 2 square kilometers (1sqmi)) that are separated from one another by Israeli-controlled Area C. Areas A, B, and C cross the 11 governorates used as administrative divisions by the Palestinian National Authority, Israel, and the IDF and named after major cities. The mainly open areas of Area C, which contains all of the basic resources of arable and building land, water springs, quarries and sites of touristic value needed to develop a viable Palestinian state, were to be handed over to the Palestinians by 1999 under the Oslo Accords as part of a final status agreement. This agreement was never achieved. According to B’tselem, while the vast majority of the Palestinian population lives in areas A and B, the vacant land available for construction in dozens of villages and towns across the West Bank is situated on the margins of the communities and defined as area C. Less than 1% of area C is designated for use by Palestinians, who are also unable to legally build in their own existing villages in area C due to Israeli authorities’ restrictions, An assessment by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in 2007 found that approximately 40% of the West Bank was taken up by Israeli infrastructure. The infrastructure, consisting of settlements, the barrier, military bases and closed military areas, Israeli declared nature reserves and the roads that accompany them is off-limits or tightly controlled to Palestinians. In June 2011, the Independent Commission for Human Rights published a report that found that Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip were subjected in 2010 to an “almost systematic campaign” of human rights abuse by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, as well as by Israeli authorities, with the security forces of the PA and Hamas being responsible for torture, arrests and arbitrary detentions. Through the Jerusalem Law, Israel extended its administrative control over East Jerusalem. This has often been interpreted as tantamount to an official annexation, though Ian Lustick, in reviewing the legal status of Israeli measures, has argued that no such annexation ever took place. The Palestinian residents have legal permanent residency status. Rejecting the Jerusalem Law, the UN Security Council passed UN Security Council Resolution 478, declaring that the law was “null and void”. Although permanent residents are permitted, if they wish, to receive Israeli citizenship if they meet certain conditions including swearing allegiance to the State and renouncing any other citizenship, most Palestinians did not apply for Israeli citizenship for political reasons. There are various possible reasons as to why the West Bank had not been annexed to Israel after its capture in 1967. The government of Israel has not formally confirmed an official reason; however, historians and analysts have established a variety of such, most of them demographic. Among those most commonly cited have been: The importance of demographic concerns to some significant figures in Israel’s leadership was illustrated when Avraham Burg, a former Knesset Speaker and former chair of the Jewish Agency for Israel, wrote in The Guardian in September 2003, As of December 2010, 327,750 Israelis live in the 121 settlements in the West Bank officially recognised by the Israeli government, 192,000 Israelis live in settlements in East Jerusalem. There are approximately 100 further settlement outposts which are not officially recognized by the Israeli government and are illegal under Israeli law, but have been provided with infrastructure, water, sewage, and other services by the authorities. The international consensus is that all Israeli settlements on the West Bank beyond the Green Line are illegal under international law. In particular, the European Union as a whole considers the settlements to be illegal. Significant portions of the Israeli public similarly oppose the continuing presence of Jewish Israelis in the West Bank and have supported the 2005 settlement relocation. The majority of legal scholars also hold the settlements to violate international law, however individuals including Julius Stone, and Eugene Rostow have argued that they are legal under international law, on a number of different grounds. Immediately after the 1967 war Theodor Meron, legal counsel of Israel’s Foreign Ministry advised Israeli ministers in a “top secret” memo that any policy of building settlements across occupied territories violated international law and would “contravene the explicit provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention”. The UN Security Council has issued several non-binding resolutions addressing the issue of the settlements. Typical of these is UN Security Council resolution 446 which states [the] practices of Israel in establishing settlements in the Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied since 1967 have no legal validity, and it calls on Israel as the occupying Power, to abide scrupulously by the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention. The Conference of High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention held in Geneva on 5 December 2001 called upon “the Occupying Power to fully and effectively respect the Fourth Geneva Convention in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and to refrain from perpetrating any violation of the Convention.” The High Contracting Parties reaffirmed “the illegality of the settlements in the said territories and of the extension thereof.” On 30 December 2007, Israeli Prime MinisterEhud Olmert issued an order requiring approval by both the Israeli Prime Minister and Israeli Defense Minister of all settlement activities (including planning) in the West Bank. The change had little effect with settlements continuing to expand, and new ones being established. On 31 August 2014, Israel announced it was appropriating 400 hectares of land in the West Bank to eventually house 1,000 Israel families. The appropriation was described as the largest in more than 30 years. According to reports on Israel Radio, the development is a response to the 2014 kidnapping and murder of Israeli teenagers. The Haaretz published an article in December 2005 about demolition of “Palestinian outposts” in Bil’in, the demolitions sparked a political debate as according to PeaceNow it was a double standard (“After what happened today in Bil’in, there is no reason that the state should defend its decision to continue the construction” credited to Michael Sfard). In January 2012, the European Union approved the “Area C and Palestinian state building” report. The report said Palestinian presence in Area C has been continuously undermined by Israel and that state building efforts in Area C of the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the EU were of “utmost importance in order to support the creation of a contiguous and viable Palestinian state”. The EU will support various projects to “support the Palestinian people and help maintain their presence”. In May 2012, a petition was filed to the Israeli Supreme Court about the legality of more 15 Palestinian outposts and Palestinian building in “Area C”. The cases were filed by Regavim. The petition was one of 30 different petitions with the common ground of illegal land takeover and illegal construction and use of natural resources. Some of the petitions (27) had been set for trials and the majority received a verdict. Ynet News stated on 11 January 2013 that a group of 200 Palestinians with unknown number of foreign activists created an outpost named Bab al-Shams (“Gate of the Sun”), contains 50 tents Ynet News stated on 18 January 2013 that Palestinian activists built an outpost on a disputed area in Beit Iksa, where Israel plans to construct part of the separation fence in the Jerusalem vicinity while the Palestinians claim that the area belongs to the residents of Beit Iksa. named Bab al-Krama The Israeli West Bank barrier is a physical barrier ordered for construction by the Israeli Government, consisting of a network of fences with vehicle-barrier trenches surrounded by an on average 60 meters (197ft) wide exclusion area (90%) and up to 8 meters (26ft) high concrete walls (10%) (although in most areas the wall is not nearly that high). It is located mainly within the West Bank, partly along the 1949 Armistice line, or “Green Line” between the West Bank and Israel. As of April 2006 the length of the barrier as approved by the Israeli government is 703 kilometers (437mi) long. Approximately 58.4% has been constructed, 8.96% is under construction, and construction has not yet begun on 33% of the barrier. The space between the barrier and the green line is a closed military zone known as the Seam Zone, cutting off 8.5% of the West Bank and encompassing dozens of villages and tens of thousands of Palestinians. The barrier generally runs along or near the 1949 Jordanian-Israeli armistice/Green Line, but diverges in many places to include on the Israeli side several of the highly populated areas of Jewish settlements in the West Bank such as East Jerusalem, Ariel, Gush Etzion, Immanuel, Karnei Shomron, Givat Ze’ev, Oranit, and Maale Adumim. Supporters of the barrier claim it is necessary for protecting Israeli civilians from Palestinian attacks, which increased significantly during the Al-Aqsa Intifada; it has helped reduce incidents of terrorism by 90% from 2002 to 2005; over a 96% reduction in terror attacks in the six years ending in 2007, though Israel’s State Comptroller has acknowledged that most of the suicide bombers crossed into Israel through existing checkpoints. Its supporters claim that the onus is now on the Palestinian Authority to fight terrorism. Opponents claim the barrier is an illegal attempt to annex Palestinian land under the guise of security, violates international law, has the intent or effect to pre-empt final status negotiations, and severely restricts Palestinian livelihoods, particularly limiting their freedom of movement within and from the West Bank thereby undermining their economy. After the signing of the Oslo Accords, the West Bank was divided into 11 governorates under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian National Authority. Since 2007 there are two governments claiming to be the legitimate government of the Palestinian National Authority, one based in the West Bank and one based in the Gaza Strip. The West Bank is further divided into 8 administrative regions: Menashe (Jenin area), HaBik’a (Jordan Valley), Shomron (Shechem area, known in Arabic as Nablus), Efrayim (Tulkarm area), Binyamin (Ramallah/al-Bireh area), Maccabim (Maccabim area), Etzion (Bethlehem area) and Yehuda (Hebron area). Allenby Bridge, or King Hussein Bridge, is the main port for the Palestinian in the West Bank to the Jordanian borders. This crossing point is controlled by Israel since 1967. It was inaugurated on 11 December 2011 under the military order “175” entitled An order concerning transition station. Later, Order 446 was issued which annexed the Damia Bridge crossing point to the Allenby Bridge as a commercial crossing point only. Goods were exported to Jordan, while the import was banned for security purposes. In 1993, the Palestinian National Authority, according to Oslo Accord assigned by PLO and the Israeli government, became a partial supervisor over the Rafah Border Crossing to Gaza Strip. The Palestinian Authority was responsible for issuing passports to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. However, Israel remained the major responsible party for this crossing point. According to the agreement, Israel has the right to independently inspect luggage and to maintain security. In addition, it can prevent anyone from using the crossing. As of the early-21st century, the economy of the Palestinian territories is chronically depressed, with unemployment rates constantly over 20% since 2000 (19% in the West Bank in first half of 2013). According to the World Bank, the main reason for economic depression is the Israeli occupation. According to a 2007 World Bank report, the Israeli occupation of the West Bank has destroyed the Palestinian economy, in violation of the 2005 Agreement on Movement and Access. All major roads (with a total length of 700km) are basically off-limits to Palestinians, making it impossible to do normal business. Economic recovery would reduce Palestinian dependence on international aid by one billion dollars per year. A more comprehensive 2013 World Bank report calculates that, if the Interim Agreement was respected and restrictions lifted, a few key industries alone would produce USD 2.2 billion per annum more (or 23% of 2011 Palestinian GDP) and reduce by some USD 800 million (50%) the Palestinian Authority’s deficit; the employment would increase by 35%. In August 2014, Palestinian leaders said they would apply to the United Nations Security Council for the establishment of a timetable for ending the Israeli occupation. The application would be made on 15 September 2014, following an Arab League meeting on 5 September 2014 at which support for the move would be requested. Unless a timetable was established, the Palestinian leadership said it would apply to the International Criminal Court where it would hold Israel responsible for its actions not only in the West Bank, but also in the Gaza Strip. Amnesty International has criticized the way that the Israeli state is dealing with the regional water resources: Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) do not have access to adequate, safe water supplies…Discriminatory Israeli policies in the OPT are the root cause of the striking disparity in access to water between Palestinians and Israelis…The inequality is even more pronounced between Palestinian communities and unlawful Israeli settlements, established in the OPT in violation of international law. Swimming pools, well-watered lawns and large irrigated farms in Israeli settlements in the OPT stand in stark contrast next to Palestinian villages whose inhabitants struggle even to meet their essential domestic water needs. In parts of the West Bank, Israeli settlers use up to 20 times more water per capita than neighbouring Palestinian communities, who survive on barely 20 litres of water per capita a day the minimum amount recommended by the WHO for emergency situations response. In December 2007, an official census conducted by the Palestinian Authority found that the Palestinian Arab population of the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) was 2,345,000. However, the World Bank and American-Israeli Demographic Research Group identified a 32% discrepancy between first-grade enrollment statistics documented by the Palestinian Ministry of Education and Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) 2007 projections, with questions also raised about the PCBS growth assumptions for the period 19972003. The Israeli Civil Administration put the number of Palestinians in the West Bank at 2,657,029 as of May 2012. There are 389,250 Israeli settlers living in the West Bank excluding East Jerusalem, as well as around 375,000 living in Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem. There are also small ethnic groups, such as the Samaritans living in and around Nablus, numbering in the hundreds. As of October 2007, around 23,000 Palestinians in the West Bank worked in Israel every day, while another 9,200 worked in Israeli settlements. In addition, around 10,000 Palestinian traders from the West Bank were allowed to travel every day into Israel. By 2014, 92,000 Palestinians worked in Israel legally or illegally, twice as many as in 2010. In 2008, approximately 30% of Palestinians or 754,263 persons living in the West Bank were refugees or descendants of refugees from villages and towns located in what became Israel during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, according to UNRWA statistics. A 2011 EU report titled “Area C and Palestinian State Building” reported that before the Israeli occupation in 1967, between 200,000 and 320,000 Palestinians used to live in the Jordan Valley, 90% which is in Area C, but demolition of Palestinian homes and prevention of new buildings has seen the number drop to 56,000, 70% of which live in Area A, in Jericho. In a similar period, the Jewish population in Area C has grown from 1,200 to 310,000. The most densely populated part of the region is a mountainous spine, running north-south, where the cities of Jerusalem, Nablus, Ramallah, al-Bireh, Jenin, Bethlehem, Hebron and Yattah are located as well as the Israeli settlements of Ariel, Ma’ale Adumim and Beitar Illit. Ramallah, although relatively mid in population compared to other major cities as Hebron, Nablus and Jenin, serves as an economic and political center for the Palestinians. Near Ramallah the new city of Rawabi is under construction. Jenin in the extreme north and is the capital of north of the West Bank and is on the southern edge of the Jezreel Valley. Modi’in Illit, Qalqilyah and Tulkarm are in the low foothills adjacent to the Israeli Coastal Plain, and Jericho and Tubas are situated in the Jordan Valley, north of the Dead Sea. The population of the West Bank is 8085% Muslim (mostly Sunni) and 1214% Jewish. The remainder are Christian (mostly Greek Orthodox) and others. In 2010, the West Bank and Gaza Strip together had 4,686km (2,912mi) of roadways. Transportation infrastructure is particularly problematic as Palestinian use of roads in Area C is highly restricted, and travel times can be inordinate; the Palestinian Authority has also been unable to develop roads, airports or railways in or through Area C, while many other roads were restricted only to public transportation and to Palestinians who have special permits from Israeli authorities. At certain times, Israel maintained more than 600 checkpoints or roadblocks in the region. As such, movement restrictions were also placed on main roads traditionally used by Palestinians to travel between cities, and such restrictions are still blamed for poverty and economic depression in the West Bank. Underpasses and bridges (28 of which have been constructed and 16 of which are planned) link Palestinian areas separated from each other by Israeli settlements and bypass roads” Israeli restrictions were tightened in 2007. As of August 2007, a divided highway is currently under construction that will pass through the West Bank. The highway has a concrete wall dividing the two sides, one designated for Israeli vehicles, the other for Palestinian. The wall is designed to allow Palestinians to pass north-south through Israeli-held land and facilitate the building of additional Jewish settlements in the Jerusalem neighborhood. As of February 2012, a plan for 475-kilometer rail network, establishing 11 new rail lines in West Bank, was confirmed by Israeli Transportation Ministry. The West Bank network would include one line running through Jenin, Nablus, Ramallah, Jerusalem, Ma’aleh Adumim, Bethlehem and Hebron. Another would provide service along the Jordanian border from Eilat to the Dead Sea, Jericho and Beit She’an and from there toward Haifa in the west and in also in a northeasterly direction. The proposed scheme also calls for shorter routes, such as between Nablus and Tul Karm in the West Bank, and from Ramallah to the Allenby Bridge crossing into Jordan. The only airport in the West Bank is the Atarot Airport near Ramallah, but it has been closed since 2001. The Palestinian Paltel telecommunication companies provide communication services such as landline, cellular network and Internet in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Dialling code +970 is used in the West Bank and all over the Palestinian territories. Until 2007, the Palestinian mobile market was monopolized by Jawwal. A new mobile operator for the territories launched in 2009 under the name of Wataniya Telecom. The number of Internet users increased from 35,000 in 2000 to 356,000 in 2010. The Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation broadcasts from an AM station in Ramallah on 675kHz; numerous local privately owned stations are also in operation. Most Palestinian households have a radio and TV, and satellite dishes for receiving international coverage are widespread. Recently, PalTel announced and has begun implementing an initiative to provide ADSL broadband internet service to all households and businesses. Israel’s cable television company HOT, satellite television provider (DBS) Yes, AM and FM radio broadcast stations and public television broadcast stations all operate. Broadband internet service by Bezeq’s ADSL and by the cable company are available as well. The Al-Aqsa Voice broadcasts from Dabas Mall in Tulkarem at 106.7 FM. The Al-Aqsa TV station shares these offices. Seven universities are operating in the West Bank: Most universities in the West Bank have politically active student bodies, and elections of student council officers are normally along party affiliations. Although the establishment of the universities was initially allowed by the Israeli authorities, some were sporadically ordered closed by the Israeli Civil Administration during the 1970s and 1980s to prevent political activities and violence against the IDF. Some universities remained closed by military order for extended periods during years immediately preceding and following the first Palestinian Intifada, but have largely remained open since the signing of the Oslo Accords despite the advent of the Al-Aqsa Intifada (Second Intifada) in 2000. The founding of Palestinian universities has greatly increased education levels among the population in the West Bank. According to a Birzeit University study, the percentage of Palestinians choosing local universities as opposed to foreign institutions has been steadily increasing; as of 1997, 41% of Palestinians with bachelor’s degrees had obtained them from Palestinian institutions. According to UNESCO, Palestinians are one of the most highly educated groups in the Middle East “despite often difficult circumstances”. The literacy rate among Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) is 94.6% for 2009.

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December 7, 2017   Posted in: West Bank  Comments Closed

Dozens injured in West Bank protests: report | TheHill

Dozens of peoplewere injured on Thursday in the Palestinian-dominated West Bank in protests afterPresident TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Democrat slams Donald Trump Jr. for serious case of amnesia after testimony Skier Lindsey Vonn: I dont want to represent Trump at Olympics Poll: 4 in 10 Republicans think senior Trump advisers had improper dealings with Russia MORE announced the U.S. would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, CNN reported. Palestinian protestersused slingshots and threw rocks during the demonstrations, according to the network, and Israeli forces responded with tear gas and rubber bullets. The State Department, on Tuesday, warnedU.S. citizens to avoidJerusalems Old City and the West Bank over fears of protests and violent reaction to the president’s announcement. Palestinianshave claimed part of Jerusalem as their capital. The Palestinian militant group Hamas, which controls Gaza, has called foran uprising, or an “intifada,” to take effect on Friday. The American decision is an aggression on our people and a war on our sanctuaries,Ismail Haniyeh, a Hamas leader, said on Thursday. We want the uprising to last and continue to let Trump and the occupation regret this decision, he continued. Palestinians closed schools and shops in preparation, while the Israeli military announced it would deploy several battalions to the West Bank, according to The Associated Press.

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December 7, 2017   Posted in: West Bank  Comments Closed

West Bank and Gaza Strip – freedomhouse.org

Key Developments in 2016: Media freedom in the West Bank and Gaza remained seriously obstructed during 2016, with journalistsespecially local reportersregularly subjected to arrest, detention, and interrogation by Israeli forces, the PA, and Hamas. Ongoing concerns in Israel about the alleged role of Palestinian news outlets in inciting terrorist violence against Israeli soldiers and civilians prompted a crackdown on Palestinian media, including the closure of broadcasting and printing facilities and the arrest of journalists and managers. In a number of instances, Israeli authorities did not present evidence of direct incitement by the individuals detained. The PA in the West Bank continued its long-standing practice of arresting and temporarily detaining journalists without charge, while Hamas in the Gaza Strip stepped up its use of summonses and interrogations to intimidate journalists who produced critical coverage. The Palestinian Basic Law guarantees a free press, enshrines the right to establish media outlets, and prohibits government censorship. However, the 1995 Press and Publication Law imposes burdensome administrative regulations and bans content that undermines the general system or national unity, or that is inconsistent with morals. Defamation is a criminal offense, and journalists have been prosecuted for publishing criticism of Palestinian officials. The Ramallah-based PA arrested at least 15 journalists in the West Bank in 2016, while Hamas authorities in Gaza arrested at least six others, according to the Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA). At least seven of those arrested reported torture or other mistreatment in custody. Journalists are typically detained over reporting that is deemed critical of the authorities, and Human Rights Watch documented additional cases during the year in which Palestinian security forces arrested activists and others for ridiculing the authorities on Facebook. Such arrests rarely lead to formal charges or prison sentences, amounting instead to a form of harassment and intimidation. In addition to Palestinian laws, as administered by the different authorities in the West Bank and Gaza, journalists in the territories are subject to controls imposed by the Israeli military, including measures banning incitement to terrorism. The legal standard for incitement under the Israeli military code, to which the West Bank is subject, is much lower than in Israeli civilian law. Concerns continued to grow in 2016 that Israel was using recent attacks on its security personnel and civilians as a pretext to crack down on Palestinian media and freedom of expression. Scores of Palestinian social media users have been arrested since October 2015 for posts that allegedly incited violence. Israeli forces also arrested Palestinian journalists for alleged incitement or working for outlets affiliated with banned militant groups such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad. MADA reported 46 cases of arrest and administrative detention of Palestinian journalists by Israeli authorities in 2016, up sharply from 20 in 2015 and 13 in 2014. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) confirmed that at least seven Palestinian journalists remained in Israeli custody as of December, including one who had been arrested in late 2015. Four of the journalists still in Israeli detention at years end had been arrested in August 2016, when Israeli forces raided and shut down Al-Sanabel Radio in Dura, near Hebron in the West Bank. A sound engineer was also detained, and military prosecutors charged the five with offenses including incitement and aiding Hamas. They were referred for trial in September, but final verdicts were still pending at the close of 2016. CPJs review of the indictment found no examples of direct incitement to imminent violence by the accused. Various freedom of information bills have been under review by Palestinian officials for several years, with progress repeatedly delayed. The PA regulates all television and radio licenses in the West Bank. In order to obtain a broadcast license, applicants must gain approval from the interior, information, and telecommunications ministries, which review financing sources, content, and technical issues, respectively. Licenses must be renewed each year. Critics accuse the PA of arbitrarily increasing licensing feeseven though prices are supposed to correspond to the strength and reach of the broadcast frequencyin order to force certain outlets off the air. Hamas, which has controlled Gaza since 2007, has introduced a system of accreditation that requires all outlets and journalists to register with its authorities. Media outlets and journalists in the West Bank and Gaza are affected by political pressure and violence from both Palestinian and Israeli authorities, as well as editorial control by owners or funders with partisan political interests. Censorship, including self-censorship, is common among Palestinian media organizations. According to a 2014 MADA report, more than 68 percent of journalists in the Palestinian territories said their work or their colleagues work had been barred from publication at least once. The same report found that over 80 percent of Palestinian journalists had engaged in self-censorship. In 2014, Hamas and the Fatah-led PA lifted bans on each others affiliated newspapers that had prevented them from being published in Gaza and the West Bank, respectively. However, in November 2015, during a spike in violence across the occupied territories, the PA ordered broadcasters in the West Bank to cease airing the Hamas-linked television channel Al-Aqsa, headquartered in Gaza. Israeli authorities raided and temporarily closed at least four media facilities in the West Bank in 2016. In March, the adjacent offices of Islamic Jihadaffiliated television station Palestine Today and the media production company Trans-Media were raided and closed in Al-Bireh, and three employees were arrested. However, both companies apparently continued to function from other facilities. The August raid on Al-Sanabel Radio resulted in its closure for three months, but it was broadcasting again by December. Later in December, Israeli forces raided and closed the Asayel Yafa printing house and arrested its owner. MADA documented seven other cases during the year in which Israeli authorities raided media outlets and seized or damaged equipment without ordering a shutdown. Israeli forces in the West Bank regularly obstructed the work of journalists in the field. Checkpointswhich entail searches, interrogations, and sometimes short detentionshave long hindered movement and limited journalists ability to report within and beyond the occupied territories. In one prominent case, columnist Omar Nazzala board member of the Palestinian Journalist Syndicatewas arrested in April 2016 while attempting to cross from the West Bank into Jordan, from where he planned to travel to a journalists conference in Europe. He remained in Israeli administrative detention at years end. Nazzal had written on controversial topics in the weeks leading up to his arrest, and posted Facebook messages criticizing Israel for clamping down on Palestinian media. The Israeli military has also curbed coverage of regular protests near the Israeli security barrier in the West Bank by declaring such areas closed military zones. Physical assaults on Palestinian journalists often occur in the context of protests. According to MADAs annual report, Israeli forces were responsible for a total of 58 cases of assault in 2016, including the killing of a media student during a military operation; this represented a sharp decline from the previous two years, which featured more general unrest. MADA reported a total of eight assaults by Palestinian authorities in the West Bank and Gaza during 2016. The Foreign Press Association accused Hamas of imposing various restrictions on the entry and operation of international journalists in Gaza in 2016, including intrusive interrogations and permit denials. Two foreign journalists, including one with the New York Times, were reportedly banned by Hamas as a result of their work. Palestinian officials in both Gaza and the West Bank used summons and interrogations extensively during the year to harass and intimidate journalists. MADA documented 51 such incidents in 2016, up from 38 in 2015. Gaza accounted for the entire increase, with 28 cases in 2016 versus 15 in 2015. The PA and Hamas fund four of five major Palestinian newspapers, and they are not editorially independent in practice. In the West Bank, Al-Hayat al-Jadidah is exclusively funded by the PA, which also partially finances Al-Ayyam. Hamas funds the twice-weekly Al-Risala and the daily Filistin. Al-Quds, a family-owned, Jerusalem-based newspaper established in 1951, is considered less vulnerable to partisan influence. Its East Jerusalem location, however, makes it subject to Israeli military censorship. There are more than a dozen West Bank television stations and between 60 and 70 radio stations, in addition to the handful of television stations and approximately two dozen radio stations operating in Gaza. West Bank broadcasters are generally small outlets that focus on local issues. In Gaza, Hamas operates Al-Aqsa TV and allows transmission of the PA-controlled Palestine TV, based in Ramallah. Much like the subsidized print outlets, these channels are seen as mouthpieces for Hamas and the PA. Residents also have access to a variety of foreign broadcasts. About 61 percent of Palestinians used the internet in 2016, according to the International Telecommunication Union. However, access to reliable telecommunications technology in the territories is severely limited by Israeli restrictions. Both the West Bank and Gaza rely on Israeli telecommunications infrastructure, with routing switches, cell towers, and gateway switches generally located in Israeli-controlled territory. In addition, Israel controls access to the electromagnetic spectrum across the territories, and has long prohibited Palestinian companies from offering 3G mobile internet services, leaving that market in the hands of Israeli carriers. The prohibition was due to be lifted under a November 2015 agreement, but it had yet to be implemented at the end of 2016. Because the fragile Palestinian economy generates little commercial advertising revenue, local media outlets are often dependent on funding from the PA, political factions, and foreign donors, which affects their editorial autonomy.

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December 2, 2017   Posted in: West Bank  Comments Closed

West Bank – Wikitravel

West Bank The West Bank is a territory under Israeli occupation with areas of Palestinian Autonomous Control pockmarked with Israeli military/civilian settlements in the Middle East between Israel and Jordan, to the north of the Dead Sea. It forms the larger portion of the semi-autonomous Palestinian Territories (the smaller being the Gaza Strip). Depending on where one travels the area is controlled by Palestinian authorities, Israel, or even both. It has been under Israeli administration since 1967 with its future status uncertain and still to be resolved, between Israel and the PA. It is known as the West Bank because it lies on the western bank of the Jordan River. This part of the world is steeped in biblical history and contains many sites of religious and archaeological significance. About 2 million Palestinians live in the West Bank and hundreds of thousands of Israeli settlers reside in approximately 100 official and unofficial Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Within the political dispute between the Palestinians and Israelis there are at least two presentations of the West Bank: In Israeli terms it is called the regions of Judea, Samaria, and Benjamin. Some Israelis see the West Bank territories as historically Jewish land and claim a biblical/historical birthright to resettle it by building settlements there. Israel is also building a huge concrete barrier and/or fence system partly within the West Bank, officially aimed at preventing the infiltration of Palestinians into Israel’s official pre-1967 borders and to isolate Jewish settlements from Palestinian populated areas. Proponents argue the completion of the security barrier can be credited for dramatically reducing the occurrences of terrorism within Israel. However, opponents claim it seeks to annex Palestinian land under the guise of security and undermines peace negotiations by unilaterally establishing new borders. The Palestinians and the PNA claim this region, in addition the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, as the territory of a future Palestinian state. There are 400,000 Jews and around 2.5 million Palestinians living in the West Bank in addition to the 1.7 million Palestinians in Gaza and another 208 thousand in Jerusalem (though there are also Arab-Israelis that live in Jerusalem) (Est. 2011). As of November 2012, Palestine is formally recognized as an non-member state by the UN though remains deemed under Israeli occupation until a final peace agreement is made between the two above parties. Temperate; temperature and precipitation vary with altitude, warm to hot summers, cool to mild winters. Mostly rugged dissected upland, very hilly and mountainous, heavy vegetation is very common in most places. The Israel-PLO Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements (the DOP), signed in Washington on 13 September 1993, provided for a transitional period not exceeding five years of Palestinian interim self-government in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Under the DOP, Israel agreed to transfer certain powers and responsibilities to the Palestinian Authority, which includes the Palestinian Legislative Council elected in January 1996, as part of the interim self-governing arrangements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. A transfer of powers and responsibilities for the Gaza Strip and Jericho took place pursuant to the Israel-PLO 4 May 1994 Cairo Agreement on the Gaza Strip and the Jericho Area and in additional areas of the West Bank pursuant to the Israel-PLO 28 September 1995 Interim Agreement, the Israel-PLO 15 January 1997 Protocol Concerning Redeployment in Hebron, the Israel-PLO 23 October 1998 Wye River Memorandum, and the 4 September 1999 Sharm el-Sheikh Agreement. The DOP provides that Israel will retain responsibility during the transitional period for foreign and domestic security and public order of settlements and Israeli citizens. Direct negotiations to determine the permanent status of Gaza and West Bank had begun in September 1999 after a three-year hiatus, but have been derailed by a second intifadah that broke out in September 2000. Fatah control Palestinian Cities, whilst the Yesha Council via the authority of Israel controls and manages Jewish settlements. Getting into the West Bank is difficult. There are no civilian airports within the West Bank, and the nearest major airport is Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion. From Ben Gurion Airport, it is possible to take a 50 minute taxi or shuttle ride to Jerusalem and from Jerusalem to continue on to the major West Bank cities of Bethlehem or Ramallah. Note that Palestinian ID card-holders cannot travel to Israel or the Palestinian Authority through Ben Gurion Airport. The Israeli government requires them to fly to Amman, Jordan and enter via the Allenby Bridge border crossing located nearby Jericho in the West Bank. It is best for people who may be listed under the Israeli census as having a Palestinian ID-card (by birth to a card-holder, etc.) or who once had a Palestinian ID card to just use the airport in Amman rather than risk being sent back home on a flight from Tel Aviv for using the wrong airport. There are numerous ways to enter the West Bank by road. Probably the most common is to take a bus from East Jerusalem (go to Damascus Gate in the Old City and ask around) to Ramallah. From there, shared taxis (know as Servis, pronounced [ser-vees]) are available throughout the West Bank. Before entering Area A, you will come to a checkpoint, where you will be required to show your Israeli-issued tourist visa. From the checkpoint you can take a shared taxi to your destination. Driving in the West Bank is relatively safe and has some wonderful scenery, particularly along route 90. As most car-hire companies in Israel have different rules, agreements and regulations, you may or may not be able to drive a hired/rented car to areas in the West Bank. Inquire with whatever company you plan on using to get their policy on the issue. There are numerous car hire companies that will rent you a car in Ramallah which you can freely drive around the West Bank although you cannot enter Jewish settlements. Palestinian car-hire companies located in East Jerusalem will rent you Israeli cars which can travel in most parts of the West Bank and throughout Israel. The optimistically named Good Luck Cars [1] have great service. If you do happen to drive to areas within the West Bank, take heed and uphold security precautions at all times. Roads in the West Bank may not be in a good condition. Damage to cars resulted from driving in the West Bank may not be covered, as many insurance policies are invalid outside of Israel proper. As in any foreign country in which you plan to drive, you must be cautious about the security of your vehicle. Also, it must be noted that taking a taxi on Palestinian roads can take several times longer if you are stopped at an Israeli Army checkpoint, and may in some circumstances require walking across road blocks and catching another taxi on the other side. As at 2015, few of these roadblocks exist but this can change at any point. Taxi drivers are generally very clued up about the situation and will be able to advise the best approach to get from A to B. Bus service to Jewish settlements in the West Bank can generally be found in the major Israeli city which is closest to each West Bank town – particularly Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. The Egged () bus company runs buses from Jerusalem, Beer Sheva, Netanya, and Beit Shean. The Dan bus company runs from Tel Aviv and Petach Tikva. Due to ongoing terror attacks, the Israeli government has installed enhanced security on buses such as bullet proof windows (on certain routes) and crash barriers at bus stops. There are also Arab bus companies going into the West Bank from the bus depot in East Jerusalem, for prices comparable to service taxis, theoretically running on schedules.The main bus station is across the street from the Damascus gate. Bus 21 goes from Jerusalem to Bethlehem (through Beit Jala) it takes at least 45 minutes, more if there is traffic. The cost is 8 NIS. When the bus parks you have arrived in Bethlehem. You will be at the street called Bab ilSkak. The UNRWA building will be across the street. If you are wanting to go to Manger Square, it is an easy 3NIS a person taxi ride there. Hail down the yellow taxi with the black on the front and back bumpers. THey do the same circle and will drop you off right at manger square. Ask before getting in and double check that is the route they are taking. Bus 24 also goes to Bethlehem, these are much smaller busses and will only take you to the closer Bethlehem Check point. From there you can walk through the check point. There are always plenty of taxis on the otherside. They can take you to your destination. Ask them to turn on the meter. Most of the cars have them now. For reaching Palestinian other cities in the West Bank, Service Taxis (shared taxis, pronounced Servees) are preferable over Egged buses. They are extremely cheap, and travel quite fast on the road. The service taxi is a great place to mingle with the locals. There are no train routes in the West Bank, though proposals for train service are occasionally made. Likely by 2020, via Ari”el. Highways: total: 4,500 km paved: 2,700 km unpaved: 1,800 km (1997 est.) Taxis are your best bet. If you’re part of a tour, your tour bus is even better. Delays at checkpoints are common when you enter or leave Palestinian cities. Hitching through the West Bank is easy and enjoyable. The main languages in the West Bank are Palestinian Arabic (‘amiya) and Hebrew, although English and French are also understood. Many Palestinians understand Hebrew, due to business and governmental contacts over the last 40+ years. But avoid speaking Hebrew in Palestinian settlements and Arabic in Jewish cities, as it may arouse suspicion. Russian is also common among students who have gone to university in Russia or Eastern Europe. A few Israeli settlements contain Ashkenazi Hasidic Jews who speak Yiddish, and Mizrahi Jews who speak non-Palestinian dialects of Arabic (especially Maghrebi / Moroccan Arabic or Iraqi Arabic). Currency is Israeli Shekels, though US dollars seem to be widely accepted, especially at tourist shops (Jericho and Bethlehem, for example) Ramallah has a number of good restaurants, including Tropicana, Darna, Pronto, Ziryab, Stone’s and Sangria’s. Tropicana Restaurant in Al-Massyoun has a lush garden, and the food is excellent.There are two excellent ice cream shops in the main street. The locally-made ice cream is a real treat on a hot day, in addition to the fresh juice shops around the central square, Al-Manara. Falafel, Shawarma, Hummus, Musakhan, Tabouli, Kofta, Knafeh, Kibbeh, Maqluba, Baba Ghanoush, and other local snackfoods are widely available. In cities, such as Ramallah, alcohol is often available at restaurants, because Ramallah used to be a Christian city. Most Christian Palestinians drink alcohol, and there is an excellent microbrewery in Taybeh. It is however smart not to get really intoxicated; proper manners and behavior is wiser. Ramallah: few budget hotels and hostel in the center of the city first youth hostel (HOSTEL in RAMALLAH) 50nis bed and breakfast tours and activities can be found at hostel daily events political and hiking tours http://hostelinramallah.com Grand Park Hotel, Best Eastern, City Inn, Rocky. The Movenpick is due to open by the end of 2009. In the settlement of Ariel, Eshel HaShomron 5* Deluxe Hotel [2]. Birzeit University, just outside of Ramallah, has a long and illustrious history, and offers Arabic immersion classes for foreigners. In addition, there are simillar programs at the Bethlehem Bible College and Bethlehem University in Bethlehem, the Palestinian-American University in Jenin and An-Najah in Nablus. There is also the Palestinian-American University of Jenin located in the Christian Palestinian village of Zababdeh. Alternative travel agencies like Green Olive Tours [3], as well as NGO’s such as the Holy Land Trust [4] and the Alternative Tourism Group [5] in Bethlehem offer day and multi-day tours, as well as enticing summer programs for internationals that combine homestays, culture and language classes with volunteering and site-seeing. Ariel University Center is the largest Israeli-run educational institute in the West Bank. For religious education, many Yeshivot are located in various Israeli settlements in the West BankIf you are interested in learning about the social, political and cultural facets of life in the West Bank, there is a first hand experience tour, run by the All Nations Cafe [6] from Jerusalem and Bethlehem, where you can get to know Palestinians and Jews who promote co-existence in the Holy Land. Abraham Tours also run a dual-narrative tour of Hebron [7], with a Jewish and Palestinian residents of Hebron each showing their side of the divided city, and telling their version of its history. Watch the news and check the situation before you go. It isn’t a good idea to visit if fighting between the Palestinians and Israelis happens to be intense at the given time. However, violence in the West Bank tends to be very localized. Violence in Nablus, for instance, shouldn’t necessarily hinder travel to Ramallah. Still, use discretion. While non-Israeli Jews are generally left alone and sometimes even openly welcomed as long as they don’t speak Hebrew, symbols associated with the State of Israel or Zionism, such as the Star of David, are best left at home. Espousing blantly pro-Israeli views will highly offend many ordinary Palestinians and is not recommended. The West Bank is less ‘religious’ than most Arab nations, so women travelers don’t need to be completely covered. But it is still a good idea to dress fairly conservatively. With Palestinians, one should not insult with western mocking jibes at Islam or Arab heroes. Again, like Israel, one should not talk disdainfully about Torah, Holocaust, or Jewish history. Be very wary of bringing up politics and the Israel-Palestine conflict, for obvious reasons. Israeli company Bezeq and the Palestinian company Paltel provide communication services in the West Bank.Many retailers in the West Bank offer cell-phones to rent. Popular companies to go with are: Jawwal (only able to be used in the Palestinian territories), Wataniyya (only able to be used in the Palestinian territories), and Cellcom (an Israeli company that is able to be used in both Israel and the Palestinian territories). Delays may occur at checkpoints unexpectedly, especially if there has been recent violence or political events. Sometimes it may be quicker to walk through a checkpoint on foot rather than on a vehicle, and then take a taxi to your destination once you get through. If you are using the Allenby Bridge to exit Israel or the Palestinian territories, you must have a multi-entry visa for Jordan before coming to the crossing. You can get this visa beforehand at the Jordanian Embassy in Ramallah or the embassy in Tel Aviv. You can also get it in Jordan if you were in Jordan before coming to the Palestinian territories.

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November 16, 2017   Posted in: West Bank  Comments Closed


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