Israeli settlement

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An Israeli settlement (Hebrew: התנחלות‎) is a Jewish civilian community on land that was captured by Israel during the Six-Day War and is considered by much of the international community to be occupied territory.[1] Such settlements currently exist in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights.[2]

The International Court of Justice and the international community say these settlements are illegal,[3][4] although Israel disputes this.[5] Israel dismantled 18 settlements in the Sinai Peninsula in 1982, and all 21 in the Gaza Strip and 4 in the West bank in 2005.[6]

As of July 2009, 304,569 Israelis live in the 121 officially-recognised settlements in the West Bank, 192,000 Israelis live in settlements in East Jerusalem and over 20,000 live in settlements in the Golan Heights.[7][8] Settlements range in character from farming communities and frontier villages to urban suburbs and neighborhoods. The three largest settlements, Modi'in Illit, Maale Adumim and Betar Illit, have achieved city status, with over 30,000 residents each.

Israeli policies toward these settlements have ranged from active promotion to removal by force.[9] The ongoing settlement construction by Israel is frequently criticized as an obstacle to the peace process by the United Nations[10] and third parties including the United Kingdom,[11] the European Union,[12] and the United States.[10]

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