Are Jews Really Stealing Land from Arabs in the West Bank?

One of the biggest debates when it comes to Judea and Samaria, commonly labeled the “West Bank”, is who can legally live where and, in turn, who is illegally living on whose land? This article will recount some of the history of this area, along with other disputed areas, the legal specifications applied to who is allowed to live in which areas, and which international laws are being broken.

In order for you to be able to better connect with the hardships of the individuals living within these regions, one crucial question must be asked and considered throughout this article’s entirety and then for a period of time after:

“If someone, who had their own land adjacent to yours, decided to squat on your land, how would you feel and what would you do?”

Myth: Jewish settlers are violently stealing Palestinian land

The myth that Jewish settlers are constantly stealing Palestinian land is frequently circulated through mainstream media. The real question however, is whether or not it is true. 

Many recent articles have accused the Jewish people of harsh crimes, while also naming the Palestinians as the innocent victims of “Jewish aggression”. Unfortunately, many people across the world are not educated on the settlements, their legality, and the complicated politics of Judea and Samaria. To make these already complex laws even more difficult to understand, manipulative accusations like these, only serve to further confuse individuals.

What exactly does the law say? 

There are a lot of laws that can be referenced, like the commandment given to ancient Israel to settle the land of Canaan found in Scripture, but for this article, we will focus on recent laws when it comes to the status of Judea and Samaria. Following the war in 1967, Israel was able to push back their hostile enemies and reclaim the Golan Heights, Judea, Samaria, the Old City of Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip, and the Sinai Peninsula. This war, also known as the Six-Day War, took place when Israel responded to a significant mobilization of neighboring Arab countries. This led Israel to strike Egypt and Syria’s military, thus officially starting the war. Following an incredible victory, Israel had undeniable rights to these newly regained regions of Israel. Unfortunately, the newly established country was not prepared or ready to fully settle and develop these regions and soon lost their rightful grip on the land. Of these, the only areas that hold a Jewish presence today are: Jerusalem, portions of Judea and Samaria, and the Golan Heights. Israel gave the Sinai Peninsula over to Egypt in 1979 when they signed a peace treaty with that country, gave Gaza to the Palestinian Authority in 2005, and Judea and Samaria was divided in 1995 following the signing of Oslo Accords II. The focus today will be on the legality of land in Judea and Samaria. 

Upon the signing of Oslo Accords II, Judea and Samaria was divided into three areas:

  • Area A: under Palestinian governance and security control
  • Area B: under Palestinian governance and under joint Palestinian and Israeli security.
  • Area C: under Israeli governance and security.

When entering Area A regions, large red signs at the entrance state:

“The entrance for Israeli citizens is forbidden, dangerous to your lives….”

Jewish people are not legally allowed to build or live in Areas A and B, and the Arabs are not legally allowed to build or live in Area C. In addition to this, within these areas there are parameters in which construction is allowed. This is known as the “blue line”. This is the currently implemented international law that pertains to this region.

A prime example of misconstrued media

Yinon Levi, the owner of Meitarim Farms, has been sanctioned by the U.S. government on the grounds of “settler violence”, claiming that he is committing acts of violence against the residents of the Arab village of Khirbet Zanuta. 

The world has declared that settler violence spiked to extreme levels following the October 7th attacks, but where is this information coming from? The answer is that it is coming from biased and unfactual sources that have the intention of spreading antisemitic propaganda. According to an article published by Arutz Sheva in February, here are the actual statistics related to settler violence since October 7th:

“Palestinian terror attacks against Israelis reached a 20-year high, incidents involving Jewish violence were down by half, standing at 201.”

Meitarim Farms was determined to be the “base of operations” for settler violence against the “innocent” residents of Khirbet Zanuta who, following “continued harassment”, were forced to flee their homes and town. What is the truth about how and why these people left? Ultimately, there is little concrete evidence related to the story, but there are multiple factors that indicate the story is not factual and should not be held as truth. Meitarim Farms lies in the heart of Area C, within the blue line. Yinon Levi’s livestock graze within the area allotted to the Jewish people, yet this farm has been labeled an “illegal outpost”. Khirbet Zanuta, similarly, lies within the heart of Area C. The issue with this, however, is that under the Oslo Accords, Arabs are not permitted to build or live within Area C. This means, despite the world’s outcry, Khirbet Zanuta is the actual illegal outpost, funded directly by the European Union. The claims of violence appear to be largely based on the testimonies of the residents of this Arab community, testimonies that become far less reliable following their illegal actions. There is one video of “settler violence” to prove the testimony of these Arab squatters, but upon watching, the violence is seen to simply be Jewish men informing journalists and activists that the area is now a closed military zone. 

Outside of this, there is little concrete evidence of violence. One fact that all sources seem to agree on is that the residents of Khirbet Zanuta fled their village soon after October 7th, but that seems to be the only fact; all other evidence is based solely off of the claims of the Arab squatters. They claim that they were continually harassed, threatened, and beaten by Jewish settlers and that after deserting their village, the settlers came and demolished their village. The issue with these claims is that, you guessed it, there were no witnesses. Their statement shares that they left their village and when they returned a few days later, it had been demolished; the supposed evidence being that the demolition crew was Jewish because a star of David had been painted on the EU funded school and that Yinon Levi, the owner of Meitarim Farms, also owns an earthworks business. The lack of evidence against the Jewish people reveals the lengths the world will go to in order to depict them as immoral, destructive individuals. 

Unfortunately, stories such as these are too often repeated in the media. Oftentimes, Arabs will move into Area C in order to illegally take over more land while keeping Jews out. When schools are demolished for illegally being built, there is a worldwide outcry and the Israeli government can no longer effectively uphold international law and protect the land and rights of its people.

Is this whole story a lie?

To summarize the information given in this article, under the Oslo Accords and international law, the Jewish people have indisputable rights to live in and build on regions within Area C, whereas the Arabs do not. Settler violence has halved since October 7th and Palestinian terror attacks against Jewish people have reached levels not seen since the second intifada. There is no solid evidence of guilt against Jewish settlers in relation to Khirbet Zanuta and, most significantly, under international law, Yinon Levi and Meitarim Farms are within the Jewish borders of Area C and Khirbet Zanuta and its residents are the individuals actually breaking the law by residing in Area C.

The Jewish people have been backed into a corner to where often, they are not even permitted to farm their own land. This cannot be permitted and cannot continue. So again, I propose the question:

“If you were Israel, and wanted to settle, build and thrive in your historic homeland, and a large group of people, funded to the tune of billions of dollars from international groups, began to illegally squat on your land with the stated intention of stealing it, what would you do?”

Peyton Chapman

Peyton Chapman is originally from Amarillo, TX. She works full-time for HaYovel and The Israel Guys as an article author, customer support representative, and in donor relations. Additionally, she serves in various operations on the ground in Israel as needed.

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19 comments

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  • The reason Israel has so much trouble is they don’t hold on to land that God has enabled them to win in the Wars they have won. They listen to other voices instead of to God’s voice, that’s why they have so much trouble, very simple really, stop giving land for ‘Peace’, it doesn’t work. God has given you the land, stop giving it away!

    • You are right!
      Christians have to stand for Gods laws and against Nations and governments that do not. Israel must do the same. They are being men pleasers, not God pleasers. My option.

      I also want to add. Israel is following the World, the West, and is sinning against the one, they say will protect them. Read Jeremiah, Isaiah and other OT Prophets. God sent nations against Israel because of sin. Humm. Maybe Israel should shake their fist at God?

      • Is this a judgemental or just stating fact? Aren’t Christians in the USA doing the same thing? Giving up spiritual ground living in a secular world for a false prosperity doctrine based on a dollar that states “In God We Trust”? I don’t think the glass house Christians live in are so different after all.

        As Christians, believing in Jesus Christ, our need to be closer to God should be all consuming with no time for secular-world compromises or any judgement of others, Jews, secular folks or otherwise.

        I pray that all Christians read God’s Word daily and pray for Godly Wisdom in this time of tribulation.

    • Agree with you Barbara. God own the earth and whom he gives this land shouldn’t given away no matter what. Who cares what the world say? God’s voice was significant to hear and follow his voice reasoned Abraham was a friend of God. Pray that Israel won’t give in and never never never give any land small or big to anyone else for peace but there’s no peace to any of these people who are very adamant and verbally declared to killed all Jewish people around Israel and the world.

      • Is this a judgement or just stating fact? Aren’t Christians in the USA doing the same thing? Giving up spiritual ground living in a secular world for a false prosperity doctrine based on a dollar that states “In God We Trust”? I don’t think the glass house Christians live in can withstand judgement of others. Let’s leave that to God.

        As Christians, believing in Jesus Christ, our need to be closer to God should be all consuming with no time for secular-world compromises or any judgement of others, Jews, secular folks or otherwise.

        I pray that all Christians read God’s Word daily and pray for Godly Wisdom in this time of tribulation.

    • I agree with you. Giving land will not solve the problem but instead gives opportunity for Israel’s enemies to regroup and attack within shortest time possible. Israel take up all your God given land. Stop listening to hypocrites who play double standard against you.

    • A piece of land here, a piece of land there. It never works. 50-50; 49-51; 48-52. Get the picture?
      Can the international court settle land disputes? Could it be trusted to give an unbiased verdict?
      The only connection of UNWRA and the UN is the UN letters at the beginning, and the large amount of money that gets funnelled to Hamas.
      How is the multi-million floating US pier getting along, or has it sunk into oblivion?

  • May the God of Israel destroy hamas and restore the people of His blessings, ISRAEL herself.
    To God’s Glory.
    In Christ’s name, Amen.

    • For this to happen, the Israelis must all repent their sins, including that of heeding the voices of the “world”, and turn back to the God of their fathers! Only then can He bestow His blessings upon them again.

  • Misunderstanding of whose land this is, is because some do not read the Bible which is an accurate form of information for everyone. Psalm 24:1 The earth is the LORD’S and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.We are just stewards of what the Lord allow us to use while we are here. Amen 📖🛐

  • Israel I’m praying for you and I also must echo the other comments here, don’t listen to anyone but God. God gave you the land, it’s yours. So keep it and never give it up again.

  • I do not believe that evil oslo akkord. The land of Israel belong to the Jewish poeple. God promissed to Abraham, Issac and Jacob to their seeds forever. No bady has the right to toch and to claim the piece of Gods land given to jewish people. hads off.

  • Many good and true comments, I pray the Israelis realize that God has kept his promise and the only reason much of the world is against Israel and the Jewish people is they still refuse to repent and seek Gods face. He will continue to allow tribulations until they all return to him through Jesus Christ.
    The same goes for the rest of the world.

  • I agree with you. Giving land will not solve the problem but instead gives opportunity for Israel’s enemies to regroup and attack within shortest time possible. Israel take up all your God given land. Stop listening to hypocrites who play double standard against you.

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