February 8, 2012
The actual built-up area of West Bank settlements takes up only a little more than one percent of the West Bank. But the settlements' built-up area is just the tip of the settlements iceberg. The impact of the settlements goes far beyond this one percent.
Consider that almost 10 percent of the West Bank is included in the "municipal area," or the jurisdictional borders of the settlements. These borders are so large that they allow settlements to expand many times over onto land that is completely off-limits to Palestinians.
In addition, consider that almost 34 percent of the West Bank has been placed under the jurisdiction of the settlements' "Regional Councils." That is, more than an additional one-third of the West Bank has been placed under the control of the settlers, off-limits to Palestinians.
More than 40 percent of the West Bank is under the direct control of settlers or settlements and off-limits to Palestinians, regardless of the fact that only a small portion of this land has been built on by settlers.
But the settlements iceberg is even bigger. Israel has taken hundreds of kilometers of the West Bank to build roads that serve the settlements, connecting them to each other and to Israel. They crisscross the entire West Bank, dividing Palestinian cities and towns from each other, and imposing various barriers to Palestinian movement and access. These roads don't only deny Palestinians contiguity, they also, occupy a significant amount of land that is off-limits to Palestinians.