On the Oslo accords, the West Bank was divided into 3 zones, A, B and C.

In the Zone A, there is Palestinian police and Palestinian government. In the Zone B, there is Palestinian government, but Jewish police. The Zone C belongs to the Israeli government.

Palestinians live on all of the Zones, in the Zone C live between 70000 and 150000 as my (google) sources say.

Furthermore, there are the Jewish settlements, in a continuously growing number. Most of them is in Zone C (obviously).

  • Are there Jewish settlements in Zone A or in Zone B, if yes, how many?
  • If yes, how many are legal (on the Israeli law)?
  • 2
    By Israeli law all of them are legal as they are all pre-approved by the Israeli government. I think the more interesting (and controversial/debatable) question is how many are legal under the Oslo Accords Jan 24, 2017 at 20:16
  • 4
    @DavidGrinberg In fact there were settlements that were illegal under Israeli law, created by groups of colonizers without permission from the Israel government. There has been a lot of controversy in Israel due to a new law that would legalize those (I do not know if all of them or only a part) lawfareblog.com/…. I am not sure if the issue has ended and how it has ended, so I cannot tell if there is still any settlement "illegal" under Israeli law.
    – SJuan76
    Jan 24, 2017 at 20:58
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    @SJuan76 I haven't heard of this, but I suspect this is a really tiny minority of all the settlements. Jan 24, 2017 at 21:06
  • 1
    I think they are called squatters or something, but SJuan76 is right.
    – user9790
    Jan 24, 2017 at 21:22

1 Answer 1


First of, the international consensus is that all settlements are illegal. The last resolution about them, SC 2334 (adopted 14-0) reads:

the establishment by Israel of settlements in the Palestinian territory ... has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law

This means that it only makes sense to analyse the "legality" aspect from the Israeli perspective.

The West Bank is administered by an Israeli governing body called the Israeli Civil Administration (CA). After the Oslo agreement, the West Bank was split into three zones; A, B and C and administration of it shared with the Palestinian Authority.

Note first that the Oslo split didn't change the law. It changed who has jurisdiction to carry out the law, but not what the law is.

Note also that administration by the CA does not imply Israeli law being imposed. It is a different situation from East Jerusalem which Israel has annexed, meaning that Israeli law holds and all construction there is legal as long as the proper permits have been acquired.

This means that your second question "how many settlements are legal on the Israeli law?" has no answer in Israeli law because it isn't applied.

Instead, the law is what the CA and the Israeli military (IDF) which controls most of the West Bank says it is. Their view, which is congruent with the Israeli state's view, is that the West Bank is under belligerent occupation and that the Geneva Conventions applies. It is important to them because it enables them to implement restrictions for security purposes that would be hard if domestic Israeli law had been applied. Settlers living in the West Bank has fewer rights than Israeli citizens in Israel.

All construction in Area C of the West Bank is illegal unless necessary permits have been acquired from the CA. Illegal structures run the risk of being demolished. A common complaint among Palestinians is that these rules are unevenly enforced -- that their illegal structures are often demolished while the CA turns a blind eye towards settler buildings.

This means that a lot of settler construction resides in an ambiguous state. De jure illegal, but de facto legal. Many settlements start of as being illegal but after a decade or so they are retroactively given builing permits and therefore legalized.

Your first question is simpler to answer. See this map of settlements by Peace Now. As you can see there are no settlements in Area A or B.

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