The question of the fate of the Israeli settlements on the West Bank of the Jordan river remains one of the key and the most difficult in the peace process between Israel and Palestine. What they represent, says the BBC.
Ariel is an Israeli city located in Samaria on the West Bank of the Jordan river. Photo: Depositphotos
Most countries in the UN consider settlements illegal from the point of view of international law as they are on land over which Israel gained control during the six day war of 1967.
Israel does not accept, and in November 2019 Donald trump also announced that the United States considers the settlements legal.
A relatively small area of the West Bank three million people live. 86% of them Palestinians, 14% (427800 people) – Israeli settlers. On the whole, Israelis and Palestinians live in isolation from each other.
Many settlements appeared in the 70s, 80s and 90-ies. But with the beginning of the 21st century, their population has doubled.
Settlements vary greatly in size: some live only a few hundred people. In a large number of people reached tens of thousands.
In 1994 in the settlement of modi’in Illit lived 2,400. In 2000, there was 16400, and in 2012, more than 55 thousand.
Today modi’in Illit is the largest settlement in the West Bank, there are 73080 people.
Modi’in Illit — Israeli city, the largest city of the district Judea and Samaria. Photo: screenshot Google Maps
“Peace now”, an NGO that opposes settlements, cross-checked the data.
The trump plan provides for freezing construction of new settlements for at least four years.
Even if settlement building stops, existing ones will continue to grow due to high birth rate.
In the settlement of modi’in Illit, the birth rate is higher than in any city of Israel or in the Palestinian territories. Every woman here has 7,59 child.
Palestinians in the West Bank today having fewer children than ever – an average of 3.2 children per woman.
The consequences of this imbalance will become visible not earlier than one generation.
Settlements are built on land which the Palestinians are going to create their own state. The Palestinian side claims that this is impossible as long as all the settlements will not be demolished.
Ariel is an Israeli city located in Samaria on the West Bank of the Jordan river. Photo: screenshot Google Maps
Two-state: who needs it?
Fewer people support the idea of two independent States, Jewish and Palestinian, as a way of solving the middle East conflict.
In 2006, 71% of Palestinians and 68% of Israelis would call themselves supporters of the idea.
In 2018 in the same spirit spoke only 43% of Palestinians and 49% of Israelis.
Among young people support the idea of two States even less. In Israel they support only 27% of people aged 18 to 24 years.
Tekoa — a large Jewish settlement on the West Bank of the Jordan river, 16 km from Jerusalem. Photo: screenshot Google Maps
Why the Israelis want to live in the West Bank?
Some move to the settlements because of the subsidy the government of Israel allow them to buy cheaper housing. In settlements they can afford a higher standard of living.
Moving to other religious communities. Living in them the ultra-Orthodox believe that in the old Testament, God ordered them to settle the land. In these communities often have large families, and they are generally poorer, so the standard of living is an important factor in their lives.
But some are moving because of ideological reasons. They believe that they have the right to live in the West Bank, because it is originally Jewish territory.
According to research by the “peace now”, all three groups of immigrants roughly equal in number.