Each single settlement forms the kernel of a sphere of influence that infringes upon the basic rights of Palestinians living in the surrounding area. This statement was included in the position paper on the impact the settlements on Palestinians’ rights in the West Bank submitted by Yesh Din to the fact-finding mission on Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), established by the United National Human Rights Council in April 2012.

Yesh Din’s position paper surveys the ramifications of the Israeli settlements in the West Bank on Palestinian human rights, which Yesh Din operates to protect. The position paper presents the findings of fieldwork and research based on Yesh Din’s seven years of monitoring law enforcement on Israeli citizens who injured Palestinians, the seizure of Palestinian land and law enforcement on security forces in the OPT.

Yesh Din holds that all the Israeli settlements in the West Bank are illegal, and that their establishment constitutes a grave violation of international humanitarian law, which determines an explicit prohibition against the transfer of the population of the occupying power to the occupied territory.

In addition, the establishment or existence of each settlement creates restrictions of various types and degrees on the exercise of the basic rights of Palestinians living in the surrounding area. Yesh Din asserts that the presence of the Israeli settlements is a key source of the grave violation of the human rights of the Palestinian residents of the area. This violation is multidimensional, relating to almost every basic human right and liberty recognized in international human rights law.

Actions by Israeli settlers, and their by the authorities by way of omission, and sometimes even by act, and due to the army’s policy regarding protection of the settlements, Palestinians’ right to life, security of person are gravely impaired. Other rights violated include the right to property, freedom of movement, and equality, as well as the Palestinians’ collective right to their natural resources.

Some of these restrictions are based on security considerations, given the ongoing conflict, which has on more than one occasion included violent attacks on residents of the settlements, including murder; others have been excused on security grounds, although we argue that they have no genuine connection with such grounds; and others still are unquestionably the product of political considerations.