Israel's building of settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories is illegal under international law


Settlements are Jewish communities in historic Palestine built by the Zionist movement pre-1948 and thereafter by the state of Israel. These communities can range in size from single-person outposts to entire cities. One of the first settlements built by Zionists was Tel Aviv in the early 20th century. Eventually, as Jewish immigration from Europe increased, Zionists began acquiring more plots of land for settlement. After the military assaults of 1948-’50, Zionist armed forces, subsequently transformed into the Israeli army, constructed Jewish settlements over the ruins of Palestinian towns and villages throughout the 78 percent of historic Palestine they controlled. After launching another war in 1967 in which Israel captured the remaining 22 percent of historical Palestine – the West Bank including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip – Israel  immediately began constructing Jewish-only settlements in the newly-occupied territories. The UN has condemned settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories in multiple resolutions and votes, declaring them to be illegal under international law. The number of settlers living in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank has grown to nearly 600,000. Settlements in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank are connected to each other and to Israel through bypass roads that circumvent Palestinian areas. Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank are allowed to carry weapons, and often attack Palestinians and their buildings and farmland. Israel continues to expand existing settlements, as well as annexing more Palestinian land to build new settlements. The cumulative effect has been to deny Palestinians the ability to create a viable state in even a small part of historic Palestine.