I’m trying to understand whether the individual settlers themselves are violating any laws (presumably Palestinian ones), and if so, which ones and how. Is it illegal under Palestinian law to enclose common grazing land, and settle/claim it for one’s private benefit? Does the fact that they’re Jewish have any significance to the legal position? What about these exercises are illegal, and on whose part are they so?

  • The law in question is The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.. Since individuals are not "the occupying power", I'm unsure what law you think they would be violating. Illegal Immigration maybe? Nov 1, 2023 at 20:44
  • @MooingDuck I have no idea, that’s why I’ve been asking. I specifically asked “whether the individuals are violating any laws”… Nov 1, 2023 at 21:33
  • But then to what extent are the settlements the actual initiative of the state rather than of the individuals? Nov 1, 2023 at 21:34

1 Answer 1


The law in question is The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies. Since individuals are not "the occupying power", your question is about if the individuals are breaking the laws. Specifically if the settlements are a state initiative. And the answer to that is that this is absolutely a state initiative.


As early as September 1967, Israeli settlement policy was progressively encouraged by the Labor government of Levi Eshkol. The basis for Israeli settlement in the West Bank became the Allon Plan, named after its inventor Yigal Allon. It implied Israeli annexation of major parts of the Israeli-occupied territories, especially East Jerusalem, Gush Etzion and the Jordan Valley.

They were established as military outposts and later expanded and populated with civilian inhabitants. According to a secret document dating to 1970, obtained by Haaretz, the settlement of Kiryat Arba was established by confiscating land by military order and falsely representing the project as being strictly for military use while in reality, Kiryat Arba was planned for settler use. The method of confiscating land by military order for establishing civilian settlements was an open secret in Israel throughout the 1970s, but publication of the information was suppressed by the military censor.

In the 1970s, Israel's methods for seizing Palestinian land to establish settlements included requisitioning for ostensibly military purposes and spraying of land with poison.

The Likud government of Menahem Begin, from 1977, was more supportive to settlement in other parts of the West Bank, by organizations like Gush Emunim and the Jewish Agency/World Zionist Organization, and intensified the settlement activities. In a government statement, Likud declared that the entire historic Land of Israel is the inalienable heritage of the Jewish people and that no part of the West Bank should be handed over to foreign rule.[76] Ariel Sharon declared in the same year (1977) that there was a plan to settle 2 million Jews in the West Bank by 2000.

This is not just a small number random settlers setting up a home in a foreign country, this is a government organized migration with a target of over two million people.

As of January 2023, there are 144 Israeli settlements in the West Bank, including 12 in East Jerusalem. In addition, there are over 100 Israeli illegal outposts in the West Bank. In total, over 500,000 Israeli settlers live in the West Bank excluding East Jerusalem, with an additional 220,000 Jewish settlers residing in East Jerusalem. Additionally, over 20,000 Israeli citizens live in settlements in the Golan Heights.

They have already moved in more than half a million people.

Although the West Bank settlements are on land administered under Israeli military rule rather than civil law, Israeli civil law is "pipelined" into the settlements, such that Israeli citizens living there are treated similarly to those living in Israel.

And in those areas, Israli law is being enforced, instead of Palestinian law.

In 2011, Haaretz revealed the Civil Administration's "Blue Line"-plan, written in January 2011, which aims to increase Israeli "state-ownership" of West Bank land ("state lands") and settlement in strategic areas like the Jordan Valley and the northern Dead Sea area. In March 2012, it was revealed that the Civil Administration over the years covertly allotted 10% of the West Bank for further settlement. Provisional names for future new settlements or settlement expansions were already assigned. The plan includes many Palestinian built-up sites in the Areas A and B.

And the've publicly stated the goal is to increase Israeli ownership of the land.

  • Thanks for putting all this into much better perspective for me. Nov 1, 2023 at 23:44

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