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Over 1 million illegal Israeli settlers in occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem

26th Jul 2019
Over 1 million illegal Israeli settlers in occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem

Har Homa settlement built in an area called Jabal Abu Ghneim that was illegally confiscated in East Jerusalem in 1991 (Photo James Emery/Flickr Commons)

Georgiana Calin

Three are over a million illegal Israeli settlers living in settlements in Palestine-owned land according to the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) Islamic-Christian Council for Jerusalem and the Holy Places.

The Palestine Chronicle reported that settlers live in 503 illegal settlements, with 474 positioned in the Occupied West Bank and 29 in Occupied East Jerusalem. Israel has been occupying Palestinian lands since 1967. Throughout the past few decades, the number of Israeli settlements has increased exponentially.

The total population of all settlers in the West Bank was nearly 400,000 in 2014, excluding East Jerusalem, whereas in the present it exceeds one million. In comparison, in 1999, this figure was only 177,000, thus highlighting a significant rise in the number of settlers over the decades.

All settlements have been declared as being illegal by the International Court of Justice in 2004.

Hanna Issa, Secretary-General for the Islamic-Christian Council for Jerusalem and the Holy Places, said, “The number of illegal Jewish settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt) has reached 503, with 474 located in the West Bank and 29 in East Jerusalem.”
Representatives of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign have argued that the settlements are “building Palestine out of existence. This links to the fact that the UN plan of 1947 is being breached, as many of the borders that were supposed to be in place are no longer there due to the increased settlements taking place, particularly across the West Bank.

Settlements are deemed as being unconstitutional, reinforced by Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention which forbids occupying states from transferring civilians to occupied territory. In addition, the International Criminal Court (ICC) Convention of 1998 considers the occupying state’s transfer of its civilian population to the territories it occupies as war crimes.
National and international responses to this situation vary significantly, as the Israeli President has said that he would promote retroactively legalizing settlement homes and this move was called “vigorous security and settlement actions.

In contrast, the UK Government considers Israeli settlements “illegal” and “a barrier to peace. However, in spite of their words, they have taken no action to prevent more illegal settlements being built.

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