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In 1947 the UN partitioned Palestine, giving over half the land to one third of the population — mostly recent Jewish immigrants — and allotting the rest to the indigenous, Palestinian population.

In 1948, when the British withdrew, the Zionist forces took 78% of Palestine, driving out most of the inhabitants and razing to the ground about 500
Palestinian villages.

In 1967 Israel occupied the rest of Palestine and set about colonising the West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. Many settlements are built on prime agricultural land.

The Israeli government claims that the status of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip and the Syrian Golan Heights is ‘disputed’. But this view flies in the face of international law (see our UN resolutions and votes page). In fact, no state recognises Israel’s right to continue to hold these Occupied Territories. Even Israel’s own Supreme Court, in 2002, recognised that the West Bank and Gaza are “subject to a belligerent occupation by the State of Israel.”

Find out more in our settlements’ factsheet