Palestine and Israel settlements



The essay elaborates on the settlements between Israel and Palestine and details out the impact of it on both countries. The history of the conflict between Israel and Palestine has a nature of convenient elasticity which changes dramatically on who is telling what and where they choosing to start the story. The conflict is an ongoing struggle between two countries and it started in the middle of 20th century. It has been described as the world’s most stubborn conflict due to Israel’s ongoing occupation on the West bank and Gaza Strip for 50 years. Despite of the long term peace between Israel and other Muslim countries such as Jordan and Egypt, Israel and Palestine have failed to reach a final peace agreement. The violence of conflict has been the object of numerous international conferences dealing with historical rights as well as the human rights and security. The key issues are mutual recognition, water rights, Israeli settlement, Palestine freedom of movement and Palestine’s people right to return. Many attempts have been made to come to a deal of two state solutions which suggested a creation of independent Palestine state as alongside the State of Israel. As means of resolving conflict majority of both Palestinians and Israelis preferred two state solutions over any other solutions according to polls. Most of the Jews saw the demand of the Palestine for an independent state acceptable and thinks that Israel could agree to the establishment of such state. Even most of the Israelis and Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and West Bank have expressed a preference for two state solutions.


The settlements refers to the villages and towns that Jews have established in Samaria and Judea located in the West Bank and Gaza Strip which got captured by Israel on the Six Day war in 1967. This settlement also described as civilian communities which are inhibited by Israel citizen mostly of Jewish ethnicity. These are lands within the areas which the international community claimed to be the territories of the Palestinians. Israel has also militarily occupied parts of the Syrian territory since the 1967 war. Following Israel defeat in invading Arab armies in the six day war, strategic concerns have leaded the political parties of Israel to support and establishment of settlements at various times. The first settlement that was made by the government of Israel from 1968 to 1977 was with the objective to secure Jewish majority in the specific regions of the West Bank such as the corridor of Jerusalem-Tel Aviv, which were the scenes of heavy fighting in the several Israeli-Arab wars. With the 1968 occupation of park hotel in Hebron the wave for the construction for a second agreement began. Hebron was city long with a long Jewish history (Ide, Tobias and Christiane 662). Those that came to Hebron were the first of the settlers who believed the historical land of Israel belong to and should be restored with the Jewish people.  The government provided financial incentives to move to parts of the Samaria and Judea which did not have any strategic value. The purpose was to solidify Israel’s hold on the territories that were part of the historical Israel and prevent the creation of Palestinian state. Some of the settlers moved there for religious reasons because they wanted to claim the West Bank territory as Israel land and some moved because the housing tended to be subsidized and cheaper. Few Jewish groups moved to West Bank for economic reasons. The government offered them financial incentives to live there and it made them feasible to travel to work as the towns were close to their work place. 500000 Israelis lined in the settlements of which about 130 are scattered on and around the West Bank. Nearly 75 percent of the settlers lines in or near the West Bank border with Israel. The settlements that got made are what the Israelis and Palestinians call the new facts on the ground. Palestinians connections to the land are weakened and their communities are split apart while Jewish communities had put down roots in territories meant for Palestinians. Some settlers want the West Bank fully incorporated and Israel territory and are trying to make that happen. The settlements and the military occupation of Israel required to defend them make life really difficult for the Palestinians. The lives of Palestinians have been made tough and they are excluded from the many Israeli on roads and forced to deliberately go through a number of security check points. In addition there are more than 90 outposts that are unauthorized and restricted and not accessible to the Palestinians. Although Israel withdrew from Gaza and have placed a blockade on the Hamas ruled territory the West bank and the East Jerusalem are still in the hands of Israel even after they are nominally governed by Palestinian Authority. More than 2.6 million Palestinians are estimated to live in the West Bank and East Jerusalem along with more than 4000,000 Israelis. Israel built a separation barrier around East Jerusalem spitting up neighborhoods and intruding into Palestinian territory (Kaufman, Edy, Walid and Juliette 203). According to Israel, the barrier was created to keep them safe but the Palestinians claim that it actually amounts to nothing but a strategy of Israel to land grab and are taking water and other resources from Palestinian land. The settlement have huge security measures including roads for only the Jews and restriction that split up the Palestinian territories making it difficult for their people to go to work, visit their families or even going to the hospital when they are ill. The international community considers the occupied territories to be illegal. The United Nations have also upheld the point that Israel’s construction of settlement constitutes violation of the Fourth Geneva Conventions. The Fourth Geneva conventions are one of the four treaties of the Geneva Conventions that defines humanitarian protection for civilians in the war zone. In 2012, the UN in response to the move of Israel to legalize their outpost emphasized that all settlement activities are illegal (Voltolini, Benedetta, and Federica 168). The US also had the same view and criticized Israel on their moves as well. Israel is seemed to be above international laws and they disagreed to the legal arguments that declare the settlements illegal. The UN Security Council passed resolution reaffirming the illegality of the settlements. It recognized an international conformity on the illegality of the Israel’s settlement and showed that these settlements are an obstacle to peace. The staunchest ally of Israel and the United States avowed the misdeed of the settlements but did nothing further. Since the passing of the resolution of the UN Security Council Israel hurried in the approval to create more houses in the banned settlements on the Palestinian land (Yousef, Daoud and Fallah 233). Within a moth the government of Israel gave the approval for the construction of more than 6000 housing units exceeding the total number approved housing units. In parallel to this the Israel parliament passed a legislation enabling settlers to legally take away Palestinian land that accelerated construction for settlements (Habib and Sama 193). The bill also legalized outpost which was considered illegal even under the Israeli law. Under the international law both the outpost and the settlements are illegal. Though the Israel government and settlers have been building outpost and settlements in the occupied Jerusalem and West Bank, this law crossed a dangerous line to which the Attorney General of Israel declared that is an infringement of the Fourth Geneva Convention.  Settlers hurried to establish new settlements and thousands of settlements and housing was built and sponsored by the Israeli government itself. The Israel policy of building settlements makes the foundation of the Palestinian state more and more unfeasible. It seriously threatens the two state solutions between the two countries and has serious consequences for the Palestinians. The expansion and building of settlements have put the Palestinians out of the area which constitutes 60 % of the West Bank and is under full control of the Israel (Adwan, Daniel and Bruce 215). These settlers keep attacking and harassing the   Palestinians living close to their settlements and they also damaged Palestinian properties with the intention of forcing the Palestinians to move and relocate themselves to overcrowded cities which are on the outward region of the Area C. In order to expand and make new settlements Israelis destroyed Palestinian homes and other infrastructures in the Area C. With the announcement of the passing of the reputational bill by the parliament of Israel the world powers and UN officials issued punctual condemnations. Past experience have shown that this kind of statements have never deterred Israel. It is appealed by many to the international community to take steps against Israel not just for moral or legal obligations but for everyone’s interest.


From the above findings it can be concluded that the settlements have been illegal and constitute and obstacle for the peace. It can be said that Israel has been making unfair means to establish these settlements that allowed them to occupy and have better control over the lands of the Palestinians. This has surely brought criticisms from the international community who has clearly claimed this to be a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention and have also passed resolution reaffirming the illegality of the settlements. However, no action has been taken against Israel and it is continuing its same policy of settlements threatening the Palestinians civil rights.

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  1. Adwan, Sami, Daniel Bar‐Tal, and Bruce E. Wexler. “Portrayal of the Other in Palestinian and Israeli Schoolbooks: A Comparative Study.” Political Psychology 37.2 (2016): 201-217.
  2. Habib, Sama. “Too late for two states: The benefits of pivoting to a one-state solution for Israel and Palestine.” Journal of International Affairs 69.2 (2016): 193.
  3. Ide, Tobias, and Christiane Fröhlich. “Socio-environmental cooperation and conflict? A discursive understanding and its application to the case of Israel and Palestine.” Earth System Dynamics 6.2 (2015): 659-671.
  4. Kaufman, Edy, Walid Salem, and Juliette Verhoeven. Bridging the divide: peace building in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2017.
  5. Voltolini, Benedetta, and Federica Bicchi. “When Security Trumps Democracy: Israel and Palestine.” The Substance of EU Democracy Promotion. Palgrave Macmillan UK, 2015. 162-176.
  6. Yousef, Daoud, and Fallah Belal. “Wage Differential Between Urban And Rural Palestine: The Shadow Of Palestinian-Israeli Conflict.” (2014).
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