What about the settlements?

What is the background of Jewish settlements in Palestinian Arab areas?


The land of Palestine has always been populated with religiously diverse people with Muslims maintaining a majority and having cordial relations with all the minorities. The 20th century brought a new Jewish ideology, Zionism, which called for a Zionist homeland in Palestine. With the rise of Zionism, a large number of Jewish populations started immigrating to Palestine from all over Europe, increasing the minority of Jews to 35% of the Palestinian population.

In 1947, United Nations did a historic partition in which it divided Palestine into 55% of Jews and 45% of Arab population whereas Jewish population came up to only 6% of the population. In 1948, Israel declared that it is an ‘independent’ state; however, it did not define its borders and preferred to remain a nation with undefined borders. A war followed its declaration of independence from 1947 to 1949 and Israel was created on the 78% of Palestinian land. This percentage steadily increased in later years and continues to the present day.


During the time of declaring independence and partitioning, Israel took over this 78% percent of land by depopulating more than 400 villages through spreading fear, expulsion order and massacres. Around 726,000 refugees came out of these depopulated areas. According to Moshe Dayan:

“Jewish villages were built in the place of Arab villages. You do not even know the names of these Arab villages, and I do not blame you because geography books no longer exist, not only do the books not exist, the Arab villages are not there either.”


Gradually, Israel took over the remaining 22% of Palestine, including the historic West Bank and Gaza Strip. These areas also included large sections captured from Syria and Egypt. Israel has transferred much of its population in the settlements established there, colonies which were declared illegal by the fourth Geneva Convention. At present, 40% of the West Bank is inaccessible by the Palestinians as they are not allowed to reside in that area or to pass on the Israel-only roads. Moreover, they are also not allowed to travel through the security zones surrounding these settlements.

The result of 1967 war was the establishment of what Jews called the “Greater Jerusalem” which it expanded by including the surrounding areas of the West Bank where there was less Palestinian population. They made this “new” Jerusalem their capital. Since then, Israel has established many illegal settlements in “Greater Jerusalem”, forming a Jewish majority. Although municipal government encourages establishing new households in Jerusalem, they do not allow Palestinian families to build new homes or to live in certain areas altogether due to the discrimination shown towards non-Jewish citizens.


Establishment of numerous Israeli settlements followed the 1967 war where Jews built their colonies illegally on Palestinian lands. These settlements have grown to thousands throughout the West Bank and Gaza and even in the Syrian Golan Heights. And it is due to these settlements that no just solution can be reached for the Arab-Israel conflict. Roadmap to peace regards these settlements as major blockages in peace process and calls for Israel to dismantle these settlements; however, the situation is growing worse instead of improving.

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§ 12 Responses to What about the settlements?"

  • “A Splendid Little War”: Jingoism And Gaza – OpEd | Occupied Palestine | فلسطين says:

    […] with belligerent self-assertiveness – today, the clothing of the Israeli jingo is that worn by Israeli settlers. If alive today, Theodore Roosevelt would probably consider Jewish Voice for Peace to be a group of […]

  • Osman says:

    You write in such bias manners. You mention that many of the Arab countries did not existed before British made them out of the nothing, well, Israel was made in the same fashion, out of nothing. And yes, maybe Jews have inhabited this areas for centuries, but other Semites like the Arabs have inhabited them too for the same period. The main fact is, that the settlements you are referring to, are made so foreigners from other countries come and live at them, and not for local natives, while the local Arab natives are suffering the apartheid of Israel!

    • mmctrab says:

      Osman, you are way off base. Jews have lived in that area for many centuries before Arabs ever stepped foot there. Probably a thousand years longer or more. Your statement that the Arabs and Jews have lived there for the same period of time is not even close to being true.

      Also, Arabs live a far better life in Israel and in the West Bank than they would ever live in Jordan, Syria etc. They should be very pleased that they are living there.

    • Norbert says:

      Again a try to elevate a mishmash of ethnic ancestors into noble Arabs. There is not much Arab ancestry in the inhabitants of the Levant (which includes Palestine) at all. Let’s face it, though Arabs conquered the Arab peninsula (by bloody wars) what they conquered was a non-Arab region, as almost anything else conquered by Islam except for the central Arabian tribes (which where subdued).

      So while a remarkable amount of the inhabitants are Muslim, that does not make them Arabs, no?

      Since the eviction of the Jews (a nation not a religion), there have been all kinds of ethnicites living in that area, Greek, Romans, Byzantines, Turks (the ones that ruled the area until the crumbling of the Osman empire). None of them are ethnic Arabs, and each one of them conquered by force and bloodshed, which is how territories change their rulers.

      The last ones are the Jews. There is just one difference, they have come home after 2000 years in exile. However, even if they just conquered the land without any relation to it, it would still be the same way as all the other rulers got hold over the territory. Romans, Greeks, Arabs, Turks, Brits. They all conquered the land, without any exception. If now only the Jews are blamed for doing what all others did and still do, I would call that an “unbalanced view” that tells me that facts are not important but demagoguery.

  • SF says:

    Osman, no one who is honest and understands history denies that Arabs lived in Ottoman Palestine (although the precise numbers are disputed). But you must also be honest. There are already 21 Arab nations with an aggregate of over 100x the land mass of Israel. This includes Jordan which represents 78% of the original Palestine Mandate and where the population is over 60% Palestinian Arab. Most of the Jews who lived in these Arab countries (nearly 1 million people) were expelled, their property confiscated, when Israel was created. Israel took them in and assimilated them. What is preventing the other 21 Arab states from taking in and assimilating their Palestinian Arab brothers and sisters?

  • Kerri Dailey says:

    I am doing a research thing for my english class and I need to know the author of this website. Could you please tell me?

  • roger says:

    The settlememts are for Jews only. No Muslim or Arab is permitted near them. That is Apartheid. That is racism.

    No other democracy in the world has areas which are for one ethnic group only.

    • Nick says:

      Jews are not allowed to live in Muslim cities and settlements, or if they do theyre threatened with violence and murder. is it racism? or racist violence begets racism?

  • samuel welsh says:

    this is stupid just check around the facts
    palastine has 67 years but a big supporter of terroism
    Isreal 3000 years not supporting of terroism.

  • cecil says:

    I do not have anything to suprise at as it already in the Bible (Please refer to the Old Testament ).The only we can do is to keep praying for peace for both sides.

  • ralph says:

    I am only one thing to say Thanks NORBERT

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