Humanitarian Impact of Settlements

Since 1967, about 250 Israeli settlements and settlement outposts have been established across the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, in contravention of international law. Settlements are a key driver of humanitarian vulnerability. The establishment and constant expansion of settlements has had a negative impact on the living conditions of Palestinians, resulting in the loss of property and sources of livelihood, restrictions on access to services, and a range of threats to physical security, which in turn have generated need for assistance and protection measures by the humanitarian community. Some of these impacts are related to Israeli settlers’ attacks on Palestinians, and the lack of adequate law enforcement by the Israeli authorities.

Figures on settler violence are available in OCHA’s online dashboard on Vulnerability Profile of Palestinian Communities in Area C and in the weekly Protection of Civilians reports.

Articles, statements and press releases

11 March 2017 |
Salem from Jabal al Baba between the rubble of his demolished house , January 2017. © Photo by OCHA

Since the beginning of 2017, a number of developments have generated additional pressure on Palestinian Bedouin communities located within and around the area designated by the Israeli authorities for the E1 settlement plan and the expansion of Ma’ale Adumim settlement in eastern Jerusalem governorate. The 18 communities in this area belong to a larger group of 46 Bedouin communities in the central West Bank, which the Israeli authorities seek to “relocate” to three designated sites.

11 March 2017 |
'Ein al Kabireh waterspring and ponds taken over by Elon Moreh settlement and turned into tourist attraction, November 2016. © Photo by OCHA

The three cases highlighted in this study describe the ongoing efforts by Israeli settlers to increase their spatial control over surrounding areas and natural resources through the development of new infrastructure and activities, alongside attempts to remove a Palestinian presence.

10 February 2017 |
A research to improve humanitarian response and preparedness: The following case study of Elon Moreh settlement in the Nablus governorate is the third in a series of Humanitarian Bulletin articles on the findings of this research.
10 February 2017 |
During January 2017, OCHA recorded the demolition of 140 structures by the Israeli authorities, displacing around 240 Palestinians and affecting another 4,000. The number of structures demolished during the first month of the year was over 50 per cent higher than the monthly average of structures targeted in 2016 (91). All of these demolitions were carried out in Area C and East Jerusalem on the grounds of lack of building permits, although these are nearly impossible to obtain for Palestinians.
11 January 2017 |

The 2016 olive harvest season, which lasted from 15 October to the end of November, was reported to have proceeded relatively smoothly. However, sporadic incidents of settler violence and restrictions on access to olive groves behind the Barrier and near Israeli settlements continue to pose challenges for Palestinian farmers.

11 January 2017 |
Construction and settlement cultivated area in Nahlei Tal outpost (December 2016). © Photo by OCHA

Between 1997 and 2002, six new residential settlements, labeled new neighborhoods or outposts, were established on the hilltops surrounding Talmon. All but one (Nerya) were established without a building permit or formal authorization. Despite this, in recent years the Israeli authorities have initiated multiple planning processes to retroactively make these settlements legal under Israeli law.