Analysis of the map of the West Bank

Published: 
1 Jan 2011

The analysis of the map in terms of the geographical dispersion of the settlements and their ramifications for the Palestinian population is based on a division of the West Bank into four areas: three longitudinal strips extending from north to south, and the Jerusalem area, which has its own unique characteristics. This typology is applied solely for the purpose of analyzing the map, and has no legal or administrative significance. Within each of these areas, a distinction must be made between three types of land: land actually occupied by the built-up area of the settlements; open land surrounding the settlements and included within the area of jurisdiction of a specific settlement; and land included within the area of jurisdiction of a regional council, but not attached to any particular settlement.

West Bank Eastern Strip

The Eastern Strip includes the Jordan Valley and the shore of the Dead Sea. As of 2002, approximately 5,400 settlers live in this area, mainly in kibbutzim and moshavim. With the exception of the Jericho enclave, almost the entire area of the Eastern Strip is included within the areas of jurisdiction of two regional councils: Arvot Hayarden and Megillot, which jointly occupy over 1.2 million dunams. The injury to the Palestinian population caused by the settlements in this area relates mainly to the restriction of possibilities for economic development in general, and agriculture in particular, resulting from the denial of the two resources required for this purpose: land and water.

West Bank Mountain StripThe Mountain Strip is situated along the central mountain ridge that crosses the West Bank from north to south. Most of the settlements in this area were initiated by Gush Emunim. The population of the settlements totaled approximately 34,000 as of 2002. Some of the settlements are dispersed in a string formation along Road No. 60 - the main north-south traffic artery in the West Bank. With the goal of protecting the safety of settlers in this area, the IDF imposes severe restrictions on the freedom of movement of Palestinians along this road, making it impossible to maintain normal everyday life. In addition, these settlements block, to a lesser or greater extent, the potential for urban development in the major Palestinian cities situated along the mountain ridge (Hebron, Ramallah, Nablus and Jenin).

West Bank Western Hills StripThe Western Hills strip extends from north to south, and is ten to twenty kilometers wide. The proximity of this area to the Green Line and to the main urban centers of Israel has created great demand among Israelis for the settlements in this area. The total population of the settlements in this area was approximately 85,000 as of 2002. The seizure of land limits the potential for urban and economic development in the Palestinian communities. The transfer of powers to the Palestinian Authority under the Oslo Accords has led to the creation of over fifty enclaves of area B in this area, as well as a small number of enclaves defined as area A. These areas are completely surrounded by area C, which remains under full Israeli control. As a result, these settlements interrupt the territorial contiguity of the Palestinian villages and towns located out along this strip.

Jerusalem MetropolisThe Jerusalem metropolis includes the settlements established in the area annexed to the Municipality of Jerusalem (these settlements are referred to as "neighborhoods” in domestic Israeli discourse), as well as the settlements around the area of jurisdiction of the city that function as satellite communities. As of 2002, the settlements in this area included approximately 248,000 residents. The ramifications of these settlements in terms of the Palestinian population vary in the different parts of the metropolis. The establishment of the settlements in East Jerusalem entailed the expropriation of extensive areas of privately-owned Palestinian land; the area of jurisdiction of the settlements in the area east of the metropolis (Ma'ale Adummim and the adjacent community settlements) dissect the West Bank into two parts; the settlements in Gush Etzion, located south of the metropolis, block the urban development of Bethlehem and sever it from the adjacent Palestinian communities.