Jewish Communities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza
Provided by the Government Press Office
A Commitment to Continued Natural Growth
Israel is committed to safeguarding the Jewish communities of Judea, Samaria and Gaza and
ensuring their continued natural growth and development.
Under the previous government, the Jewish population of Judea, Samaria and Gaza grew by
approximately 50%. As the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin said, “I am not ready for there to
be a law in Israel to forbid building houses in existing settlements, or a kindergarten or a cultural
center in a place where people live today.” (Associated Press, January 10, 1995)
Former Prime Minister Shimon Peres also stated, “Building which is necessary for normal life,
like schools, private apartments, we are not going to stop.” (Jewish Telegraphic
Agency, January 25, 1995)
Consistent With Oslo
Israelâs policy is fully consistent with the terms of the Oslo Accords.
Neither the Declaration of Principles of September 13, 1993 nor the Interim Agreement (“Oslo
2”) of September 28, 1995 contains any provisions prohibiting or restricting the establishment
or expansion of Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza.
When he presented the Oslo 2 accords before the Knesset on October 5, 1995, the late Prime
Minister Yitzhak Rabin stated, “I wish to remind you, we made a commitment, meaning we
reached an agreement, we made a commitment to the Knesset not to uproot any settlement in
the framework of the Interim Agreement, nor to freeze construction and natural growth.”
While there is a clause in the accords which prohibits changing the status of the territories,
it was intended to ensure only that neither side would take unilateral measures to alter the legal
status of the areas (such as annexation or declaration of statehood).
No Current Plans for New Communities
While Israel retains the right to establish new Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria and
Gaza, there are currently no plans for the creation of such communities. Any such plans require
approval of the Prime Minister and the cabinet.
No Requisition of Private Land
As a matter of policy, Israel does not requisition private land for the establishment of Jewish
communities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. Housing construction is allowed only on public land
after an exhaustive investigation has confirmed that no private rights exist regarding the land in
Current government decisions restrict building to within the municipal boundaries of existing
The Right of Jews to Live in Judea, Samaria and Gaza
Jews have a historical, moral and legal right to live in Judea, Samaria and Gaza.
The Historical Right
The Jewish communities of Judea, Samaria and Gaza signify the return of the Jewish
people to their ancestral homeland.
Since the dawn of Jewish history, Jews have resided in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. It is
unthinkable that Jews would not be able to live in areas which are the cradle of Jewish
civilization, religion and culture.
The Moral Right
Jews have the right to live wherever they may choose. The assertion that Jews should not be
allowed to live in a certain area because they are Jews smacks of racism and segregation.
The Legal Right
The legal right of Jews to reside in Judea, Samaria and Gaza was given its first modern
expression in the 1922 League of Nations Mandate for Palestine. Article 6 of the Mandate
required the mandatory power to encourage “close settlement by Jews on the land.”
The legal right of Jews remains in force today. As the internationally-recognized legal expert
and former US Undersecretary of State Eugene V. Rostow has written, “The right of the Jewish
people to settle in Palestine has never been terminated for the West Bankâ¦” (American Journal
of International Law, Vol. 84, July 1990, p.718)
Some have argued that Jewish communities in the areas violate Article 49 of the 1949 Fourth
Geneva Convention, which provides that, “The occupying power shall not deport or transfer
parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.” The Convention, however, is
not applicable to Judea, Samaria and Gaza. Yet even if it were applicable, Article 49 would not
be relevant. Drafted four years after the end of World War II, it was intended to prevent forced
transfers of civilians such as those which took place in Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Poland
before and during the war. Thus it has no bearing on Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria and