The history of fifty years of land theft.
Why are settlements illegal under the Geneva Convention?
- To ensure that a military occupation is temporary, and to allow for a resolution to the conflict, by preventing the occupying power from acquiring long-term interests through military control.
- To protect occupied civilians from theft of resources by the occupying power.
- To prohibit a de facto situation in which two groups living on the same land are subject to two different legal systems, i.e., apartheid.
- To prevent changes in the demographic makeup of the occupied territory.
To the casual visitor or tourist driving through the occupied West Bank or Jerusalem, Israeli settlements may appear as just another set of houses on a hill.
The middle-class suburban style townhouses, built fast and locked in a grid of uniform units, stand like fortified compounds, in direct contrast to the sprawling limestone Palestinian homes below.
Settlement homes, mostly constructed of cement with a cosmetic limestone cladding, tend to fashion a similar look: American-style villas topped by red-tiled roofs and surrounded by lush, neatly trimmed green lawns.
The largest settlement, Modi’in Illit, houses more than 64,000 Israeli Jews in the occupied West Bank. The mega-settlement has its own mayor, as well as schools, shopping malls and medical centres.
Some settlements even have their own universities.