This article was last updated on November 14, 2023
Shattering Palestine – The Evolution of the West Bank and the Nakba Part II
While Gaza is bearing the brunt of Israel’s military abuse, the West Bank has not been unscathed since the events of October 7, 2023. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), between October 7th and November 10th 2023, 168 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces, including 46 children. In addition, 8 Palestinians, including 1 child, have been killed by Israeli settlers in the West Bank. This brings the total number of Palestinians killed in the West Bank to 416 in 2023.
The West Bank has long been the focus of Israel’s attempts to further its agenda to isolate Palestinians from each other, in other words, to divide and conquer these “human animals”. Thanks to maps and information provided by B’tselem, a Jerusalem-based non-profit organization whose goal is to document human rights violations committed by Israel it the Occupied Territories, we can see the evolution of Israel’s plans for the West Bank.
The West Bank’s original boundaries were defined by the Green Line, the ceasefire line between Israel, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan which were agreed upon in 1949 after the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. The Green Line essentially defined the boundaries of what was left of historical Palestine after the Nakba or displacement of the Palestinian people which was prescribed by the United Nations Resolution 181 (II) Future Government of Palestine.
Here is a map showing the Green Line as it stood at its inception:
In June 1967, after the Six-Day War, Israel captured the West Bank from Jordan and, at the time, an Israeli-conducted census of the Occupied Territories showed that there were 660,000 Palestinians living in the West Bank (excluding Palestinian refugees who Feld or were deported by Israel. At the same time, Israel annexed 7000 acres of West Bank land to the municipal boundaries of Jerusalem which is now known as East Jerusalem as shown on this map:
From August 1967 to May 1975, Israel declared 150,000 hectares or 26.6 percent of West Bank land as “closed military zones” which were off-limits to Palestinians who did not have a special permit. Here is a map showing the original closed military zones:
Additionally, between 1967 and 1977, Israel established nearly 30 settlements in the West Bank with an overall population of 4,500 Israelis as shown on this map:
Many of these settlements were built on privately owned Palestinian lands which were seized because it was determined that the lands were needed for “military purposes” and were declared as “state lands”. From 1979 to 1992, over 90,000 hectares of Palestinian lands were seized by Israel as “state lands”. As it stands today, 120,000 hectares or 22 percent of the West Bank is no longer under the control of Palestinians as shown on this map:
Between 1979 and 1993, Israeli settlements on the West Bank continued to develop:
In January 1991, the Israeli government implemented a requirement that any Palestinian that wished to enter Israel or East Jerusalem must obtain a permit from Israel’s Civil Administration to do so; this policy was expanded until the West Bank was fully closed and isolated by the use of permanent Israeli checkpoints, apart from the areas annexed by Israel. This policy split Palestine into three parts; the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem with transit between the three parts requiring permits for Palestinians.
In 1994, under the Oslo I Accord, Israel withdrew its military personnel from Palestinian towns and refugee camps in Gaza and Jericho which were returned to the control of the newly created Palestinian Authority. In 1995, under the Oslo II Accord, the West Bank was divided into three areas based on demographics as shown on this map:
Areas A and B are the most densely populated by Palestinians and control of these areas was handed over to the Palestinian Authority. These 165 “islands” are non-contiguous and consist of 40 percent of the West Bank’s total land area. The remaining Area C fully contiguous lands which consist of 60 percent of the West Bank are still under full control of Israel and include all of Israel’s West Bank settlements. Israel has complete control over construction project permits in Area C meaning that it is nearly impossible for Palestinians to build homes in this area. As well, Israel still controls all crossings from the West Bank into Israel and Jordan, further isolating Palestinian West Bank residents.
In 1997, Israel declared an additional 54,000 acres of West Bank land to be closed military zones that are off-limits to Palestinians; at this point, access to 176,500 hectares or nearly one-third of the West Bank is now forbidden to Palestinians as shown on this map:
In June 2002, the Knesset decided to construct the Separation Barrier around the West Bank as shown on this map:
You may notice that the Separation Barrier is constructed well inside of the so-called boundaries of the West Bank, further dividing it as shown here:
So, let’s summarize. While, to much of the world, a map of the West Bank looks like this:
…in reality, here’s what the West Bank really looks like from the perspective of Palestinians:
Is it any wonder that there is anger in the streets of West Bank Palestinian villages, towns and cities? All that Israel’s actions in the West Bank have done is create the next generation of so-called anti-Israel “terrorists”. But, for some reason, Western leaders have chosen to completely ignore the shattering of the West Bank, preferring to accept Israel’s version of the Nakba Part II.