(Israel Twitter)Israeli settlement is an Israeli civilian community on land that was captured by Israel during the 1967 Six-Day War and is considered occupied territory by the international community. Such settlements currently exist in the West Bank. Israeli neighborhoods in East Jerusalem and communities in the Golan Heights, areas which have been annexed by Israel, are considered settlements by the international community, which does not recognize Israel's annexations of these territories.Settlements also existed in the Sinai and Gaza Strip until Israel unilaterally disengaged from these areas.
The International Court of Justice and the international community say these settlements are illegal, and no government supports Israel's settlements. Israel disputes the position of the international community. The United Nations has repeatedly upheld the view that Israel's construction of settlements constitutes violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Israel dismantled 18 settlements in the Sinai Peninsula in 1982, and all 21 in the Gaza Strip and 4 in the West bank in 2005.
As of July 2009, 304,569 Israelis live in the 121 officially-recognised settlements in the West Bank, 192,000 Israelis live in settlements in East Jerusalem and over 20,000 live in settlements in the Golan Heights. Settlements range in character from farming communities and frontier villages to urban suburbs and neighborhoods. The three largest settlements, Modi'in Illit, Maale Adumim and Betar Illit, have achieved city status, with over 30,000 residents each.
Israeli policies toward these settlements have ranged from active promotion to removal by force. The ongoing settlement construction by Israel is frequently criticized as an obstacle to the peace process by the United Nations and third parties including the United Kingdom, the European Union, and the United States.
Types of settlement
Urban suburbs, such as Har Gilo.
Block settlements, such as Gush Etzion and settlements in the Nablus area.
Frontier villages, such as those along the Jordan River.
Outposts, small settlements, sometimes unauthorized, often on hilltops. The Sasson Report, commissioned by Ariel Sharon's administration, found that several government ministries had cooperated to establish unauthorized outposts, spending millions of dollars on infrastructure.
Geography and municipal status
Greater Jerusalem, May 2006. CIA remote sensing map showing what they regard as settlements, plus refugee camps, fences, walls, etc.
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 2,000–20,0000, 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, as in Hebron, and there are urban neighborhoods where Jews and Arabs live together as in the Muslim Quarter, Silwan, Abu Tor, Sheikh Jarrah and Shimon HaTzadik neighborhoods of Jerusalem.
Resettlement of former Jewish communities
Some settlements were established on sites where Jewish communities had existed during the British Mandate of Palestine.
Jerusalem—Jewish presence since biblical times, various surrounding communities and neighborhoods, including Kfar Shiloah, also known as Silwan—settled by Yemenite Jews in 1884, Jewish residents evacuated in 1938, a few Jewish families move into reclaimed homes in 2004.
Other communities: Shimon HaTzadik, Neve Yaakov and Atarot which in post-1967 was rebuilt as an industrial zone.
Gush Etzion—four communities, established between 1927 and 1947, destroyed 1948, reestablished beginning 1967.
Hebron—Jewish presence since biblical times, forced out in the wake of the 1929 Hebron massacre, some families returned in 1931 but were evacuated by the British, a few buildings resettled in 1967.
Kfar Darom—established in 1946, evacuated in 1948, resettled in 1970, evacuated in 2005 as part of the withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.
Kalia and Beit HaArava—the former was built in 1934 as a kibbutz for potash mining. The latter was built in 1943 as an agricultural community. Both were abandoned in 1948, and subsequently destroyed by Jordanian forces, and resettled after the Six Day War.
Gaza City had a Jewish community for many centuries that was evacuated following riots in 1929. After the Six Day War, Jewish communities were built elsewhere in the Gaza Strip, but not in Gaza City proper.