Skip to main content

Palestinian Occupied Territories

Volume 407: debated on Thursday 19 June 2003

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many new settlements he estimates have been built in the Palestinian Occupied Territories since 1993 to 2003. [118300]

At least two major new settlements have been established within the expanded municipal boundaries of East Jerusalem. Two new settlements have been established in the West Bank. We have concerns about another four settlements in the West Bank and one in the Gaza Strip. In addition, we estimate that around 108 settlement outposts have been established in the period 1993–2003, some as far as 2 km from existing buildings. The combination of expanding settlements, the Eastern Ring Road and Route 80 will effectively isolate Jerusalem from the West Bank. Other settler roads (Routes 55, 57 and 505) divide the West Bank in an east-west direction. Settlers control 42 per cent. of the West Bank and 15 per cent. of the Gaza Strip.These figures are the most authoritative available, as it is difficult to get accurate statistics about settlement activity. In particular, the number of settlement outposts is fluid. The Israel Defence Forces began dismantling a number of outposts on 9 June 2003; most of which are uninhabited. Settlers have vowed to establish more. We are monitoring the situation closely.For a more detailed assessment of the impact of settlement building in the Occupied Territories, I refer my hon. Friend to the report, "Israeli Settlements in the West Bank and Gaza", which my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary presented to the Foreign Affairs Committee early this year. A copy has been placed in the Library of the House.