Sunday, November 20, 2011

Jews Reside in How Much of Judea & Samaria?

So how much of the West Bank is covered by settlements?

At most 2%, but probably more like 1%.

Don't believe me?

Read here:

I'll prove it by using only sources which cannot be accused of being likely to fudge figures in Israel's favour.

Let's start with the BBC. The BBC published a series of maps as part of a fact sheet called "Israelis and Palestinian in depth". Of the West Bank it says:

Since 1967, Israel has pursued a policy of building settlements on the West Bank. These cover about 2% of the area of the West Bank and are linked by Israeli-controlled roads...

But that number is probably too high. This is clear from some work done by the well-known Israeli NGO B'tselem. B'tselem is highly critical of Israeli settlement policy in the West Bank, and commissioned a detailed survey of the West Bank to determine the degree of settlement control and published a highly critical report last year. The group choose to focus their publicity for the report on the fact that municipal and regional councils associated with the settlements had theoretical legal jurisdiction over 42% of the West Bank, but they also conceded that their survey showed that the "built-up area" of settlements constituted a mere .99% of West Bank land. (As for the 42% number, one often quoted by Palestinian advocates, it is pretty irrelevant. This is municipal jurisdiction - ie zoning, planning, responsibility for local road maintenance - over mostly empty land. This land can become part of a future Palestinian state essentially at the stroke of a pen.)

As an American CBS News story about the B'tselem report noted,

Although the actual buildings of the settlements cover just 1 percent of the West Bank's land area, their jurisdiction and regional councils extends to more than 42 percent, the group added.

And then there's what the Palestinians themselves say on the subject. Just a few weeks ago, veteran Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat gave an interview with the Arabic radio station As-Shams about the 2008 negotiations with the Olmert government, and agreed that the settlements were approximately 1.1% of the West Bank. According to the left-leaning Israeli daily Haaretz

Erekat stated furthermore that despite Israel's continual policy of "occupation and settlement building," an aerial photograph provided by European sources shows that settlements have been built on approximately 1.1% of the West Bank...

Not bad.


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