The humanitarian impact of Israeli settlement policies - January 2012

Situation Report
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  • Since 1967, Israel has established about 150 settlements (residential and others) in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, in addition to some 100 “outposts” erected by settlers without official authorization.

  • The settler population is estimated at approximately 500,000; its rate of growth during the past decade stood at a yearly average of 5.3% (excluding East Jerusalem), compared to 1.8% by the Israeli population as-a-whole (ICBS).

  • While fenced or patrolled areas of settlements cover three percent of the West Bank, 43% of the West Bank is off-limits for Palestinian use because of its allocation to the settlement’s local and regional councils.

  • Virtually all of the land viewed by Israel as public or “state land” (27% of the West Bank) has been allocated to settlements, rather than for the benefit of the local population (B’Tselem).

  • About one third of the land within the settlements’ outer limits is privately owned by Palestinians, according to official Israeli land records (Peace Now).

  • Over 60 percent of the Palestinian-owned structures demolished in 2011, due to the lack of permit, were located in areas allocated to settlements.

  • In 2011, five Palestinians (inc. two children) were killed and over 1,000 injured (of whom nearly a fifth were children) by Israeli settlers or security forces in incidents directly or indirectly related to settlements, including demonstrations.

  • Over 90% of Israeli police investigations into incidents of settler violence during the past six years (2005-2010) were closed without indictment (Yesh Din).

  • More than 500 internal checkpoints, roadblocks and other physical obstacles impede Palestinian movement inside the West Bank, including access of children to schools; they exist primarily to protect settlers and facilitate their movement, including to and from Israel.

  • The location of settlements was the major consideration behind the deviation of the Barrier’s route away from the Green Line; once complete, about 80% of the settler population will live in settlements located on the western (“Israeli”) side of the Barrier.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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