In occupied territories – such as the Palestinian Territories – confiscation of private property and establishing settlements by the occupying state is prohibited under international law. Yet, in the Westbank and East Jerusalem thousands of confiscation orders on the grounds of public needs were issued by Israel during the last 44 years of occupation. Often the land is then used to found or expand Israeli settlements.
In Jerusalem 35% of the area have been expropriated for Israeli settlements. Besides the settlements itself, the Israeli government used the land for a network of bypass roads which links the settlements. A 50 to 75 meter buffer zone is enclosing roads in which building is prohibited.
Shrinking space for Palestinians in East Jerusalem (OCHA, June 2010) In the Westbank live meanwhile approx. 500,000 settlers in approx. 149 settlements with 100 outposts. According to B’tselem settlers control some 42 percent of the Westbank and 21 percent of the settlements' building area lies on private Palestinian land. Some 66 percent of the settlements' building area is defined as being on "state land". But B'tselem found that "allocation of this land for settlements was only possible through a manipulative interpretation of all relevant laws in force in the West Bank."
Beside the expropriations for the settlements the separations barrier is threatening the Palestinian land owners and farmers to lose their land: 85% of the completed route of the wall will be in the Westbank.