Understanding The Land Division In The West Bank

Elliott Adams
November 3, 2014

West Bank Restricted Access Map cropped

West Bank Restricted Access Map cropped

We all are familiar with the infamous illegal settlements in the West Bank. A renewed look at the map helps expose the reality. I refer to the West Bank Access Restrictions map (download a large resolution pdf). This map contains a lot of information, so it can be hard to sort out the big picture (a low-resolution version below).

The Oslo Accords established 3 categories of land in what was left of the Palestinian West Bank. The general understanding of the Oslo Accords (1995) was that over 5 years all three areas would be transferred to Palestinians. The fine print had many exceptions, and the agreement left many difficult issues for later resolution – the map shows where things were after 17 years (2012).

  • Area A with full Palestinian civil and security control (a beige color on the maps not to be confused with a similar color for built up areas in them)
  • Area B under Palestinian civil control with Israeli security control (a darker beige color on the map connected to some Area As)
  • Area C under full Israeli military and civilian control and 99% of which is excluded from Palestinian use with seriously limited travel or movement for any Palestinian (blue on the map and the three shades of maroon colors of the illegal settlements).

Look at the map – observe all the blue and maroon which is under full Israeli control and unusable by Palestinians. This is most of Palestinian West Bank.

But it also slices up the Area A and Area B (Palestinian areas) into little islands in a sea of Israeli controlled Area C. By contrast, all the settlements and all of Area C is connected. One can travel from any illegal settlement to any other illegal settlement or to Israel without ever passing through any Palestinian controlled area.

In addition, Area C contains all the major roads. Note the check points (the X’s inside a circle). These all are small secure Israeli military compounds that control roads. The reality is that Israel is situated to shut down all of the Palestinian West bank in a couple of hours.

Now note that Area C contains all of the fertile Jordan Valley floor, much of which is now under cultivation by settlers (look at the dark markings). It is worth observing how much of the blue area is firing zone (very light marking similar to marking for settler cultivated areas) – an area in which Israeli soldiers are free to shoot anyone, certain to discourage any Palestinian from trying to farm it.



Elliott Adams has transformed from a soldier to a nonviolent warrior, applying his intellect and body to building movements that create justice. he served as Army paratrooper infantry — Viet Nam, Japan, Korea, and Alaska; National President of Veterans For Peace; President of the School Board, Mayor of his village, Committee Chair of BSA Explorer Post 17, President of Rotary, and Master of the Masonic Lodge.

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