Israeli settlements in the West Bank affect Palestinians' human rights, health, homes, and livelihoods.

Israeli settlements in the West Bank affect Palestinians' human rights, health, homes, and livelihoods.

A Witness to History

As an Ecumenical Accompanier, United Church minister Jim Cairney witnessed the day-to-day struggles of Palestinians under occupation in the West Bank. In this video he tells one story of these struggles.

Confiscation of Land and Demolition of Palestinian Property

Data sources: ICAHD and Foundation for Middle East Peace

Palestinian property and homes are often confiscated and demolished to make way for settlements. The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions estimates that, since 1967, 27,000 Palestinian structures have been demolished, some repeatedly.


It is impossible to overstate the importance of water in this region. Water shortages lead to discomfort, hardship, serious public health issues, and severely restricted agriculture and livelihoods in the Palestinian territories.

Settlements benefit from a daily allocation of 487 litres for household needs. In the West Bank, however, Palestinian consumption ranges from 73 litres per person to as low as 37 litres. Settlements receive significantly higher quantities of water and more stable supplies than the Palestinian communities that surround them.

The Jordan Valley, which is part of the occupied territories, contains one of the richest supplies of water in the region. Israel has taken control of most of the water resources in the area, directing them to settlements. Some 10,000 Israeli settlers have access to an amount of water equivalent to one-third of the total water allocated to the entire Palestinian population of the West Bank—2.5 million people—allowing settlements to develop intensive, year-round agriculture.

Data source: Amnesty International

The Wall

Over the past decade, Israel has built a separation barrier around the West Bank. It consists of fences, concrete walls, and other forms of barricade. When completed, it will run for approximately 700 km.

According to the Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem, approximately 85 percent of the barrier does not follow the 1967 "Green Line" border between Israel and the West Bank but instead is built on Palestinian land, often so as to include major Israeli settlements. This has added further restrictions for Palestinians who live on the Palestinian side of the wall but must access agricultural areas, schools, and other places on the west side of the wall. Access points through the wall are limited by permits, a process that is laborious, unpredictable, and controlled only by the Israelis.

Personal Witness: Dharifa Shareb's Story

Dharifa Shareb's house was once part of Jayyous village. Now the separation barrier surrounds her house on all sides. To go anywhere from her home, she and her family members must pass through an Israeli checkpoint that is open only three times a day for 15 minutes. Dharifa spends hours waiting at the gate. Listen to her story in this video.