Media Policies Handbook on the Settlements in the West Bank

Table of content

General Media Policies in  the Coverage of Settlements

Engaging with  Journalistic Sources  Regarding the Issue of  Settlements

Issues regarding  Settlements that Call for Attention from Media  Coverage

Settlements in Violation  of International Law,  Charters and Related  Resolutions

Identifying Terminology  Related to the Settlement  Issue

Palestinian Terminology  on the Coverage of the  Settlement Issue 

General Media Policies in the Coverage of Settlements

In covering issues of settlements in the Occupied West Bank, the  following media policies are advised to be taken into account:

  • The necessity of establishing promotional placements on the  settlement issue throughout news outlets, both recent, modern  and traditional, and addressing them as a key point of the  coverage of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. This is in accordance  with the informational responsibility of media to raise public  awareness on the dangers the settlement poses to Palestinians,  and the Palestinian cause, as well as its plans and effects.
  • Working on delegitimizing settlement practices, and clearly  linking them to phases and history of settlement colonization  in Palestine, while responding to Zionist allegations whether  they be religious, historical or legal. 
  • Focusing on the human angle the victims of illegal settlements  and those affected by its repercussions, given that its primary  purpose is abrogating the rights of Palestinians, displacing  them, seizing their belongings and abusing them. This provides  real-life, moving stories. This guide will elaborate on this point  later on. 
  • Consolidating media discourse and the Palestinian narrative  on what concerns the settlement issue, while coming up with  a novel and modern discourse that has the ability to create  influence and which is in accordance with agreed-upon media  policies.
  • Giving priority to the national Palestinian interest and keeping  away from intellectual, political, partisan and sectarian tensions  when dealing with the settlement issue as well as partisan and  narrow sectional investments regarding this issue.
  • Rebutting and responding to Israeli media claims on the issue  of settlements, which aim at its legitimization. This is to be  done through the demonstration of statistics, numbers and  evidence on the course of settlement encroachment, in addition  to the dramatic and evident changes accompanying settlement  plans and projects. Moreover, it also requires the Palestinian  media and official narrative to monitor misguided sentiments  and propaganda originating from Israeli media, in addition to  provide an adequate response in a timely manner.
  • Promoting and supporting resilience and steadfastness in  Palestinian citizens, and their struggle in resisting settlements,  the wall and its consequences with their available means and  resources as is their legitimate, legal and humane right. This  should be done by spreading morale, and putting a special  emphasis on home and land owners who steadfastly remain in  them, resisting displacement and settlement politics.
  • Focusing on using cutting edge media and targeted curated  content relevant to settlements, as with the use of expressive  images, drawings, maps and infographics in particular, with  the Palestinian territory as an arena undergoing settlement.  In addition, disseminating this multi-media approach through  exhibits and public and media campaigns as well as allocating  special releases regarding settlements as supplements, image  collections and informational documentaries.Directing the discourse and Palestinian narrative regarding the  settlement issue to international public opinion and addressing  it in foreign languages. This holds particularly true for  English, and requires a narrative that is in line with the target  demographic’s religious, cultural and ethnic background.
  • Developing professional media personnel capacity on the  settlement issue, with specialized knowledge and familiarity  with its details, background, context and implications. In  addition, they must be equipped with accurate information,  knowledge and have the artistic and technical abilities to  analyze, clarify and elaborate on the issue. This is so, that they  may be able to write and publish as well as appear on mass  media as specialized professionals in the settlement issue in  order to spread and strengthen the Palestinian narrative.
  • Diversifying the types of journalisms used, such as careful,  interpretative, investigative journalism etc… As well as  diversification in the use of the journalistic arts of stories,  reports, articles and interviews as well as the science and art  of film, documentaries, graphic novels and short videos which  may not be restricted to news, given that they play their equal  role in contributing to a strengthened Palestinian position both  at home and abroad, while explaining events related to issues  of settlement.
  • Ensuring accuracy of information published by the media  about settlements and the wall, as with the size of confiscated  territories, number of residential communities, villages and  families that have been isolated, trees that have been cut down  and bulldozed, the total number of people who have been  harmed, students who have been separated from their schools  and universities by the wall and the extent of damage to the  social, agricultural, industrial, medical and environmental  circles of Palestinian society. This is especially crucial given  discrepancies between sources is problematic in media coverage  of settlement issue.
  • Disclosing objectives behind settlements and their recurrence  in the context of press material as with undermining  political solutions, cutting ties to the West Bank, population  displacement, Judaization of Jerusalem etc… In addition to  linking the effects of settlements on suffering, particularly that  which is generated by supporters of the occupation who remain  silent over the continued encroachment of settlements, making  them effectively responsible for it. These include supporters  of settlers from settlement associations, and the occupation  government which offers them protection. This also includes  Western and American support for Israel, as well as the silence  of a number of the members of international community on the  contraventions of settlements in violation of international law.
  • Exposing the racist and extremist nature of settlers, and focusing  on their crimes against Palestinian civilians, while highlighting  criminal behavior that is protected by the government and the  occupation army. In addition to their removal of civilian status,  they occupy the land, are heavily armed and are members of  terrorist organizations known as «price-tag» which targets  Palestinians and their properties throughout the West Bank.  Altogether, they have committed hundreds of murders, lootings,  vandalism and arson amongst many others.

Engaging with Journalistic Sources Regarding the Issue of Settlements

The media coverage of the settlement issue suffers from  its reliance on Israeli sources, and sometimes adopts them,  especially concerning settlement plans, goals and numbers.  Here, we try to present some of the determinants regarding  information sources concerning settlements, and dealing  with them as follows: 

  • relying on primary Palestinian sources, field sources and  official Palestinian institutions and organizations specialized  in tracking settlement issues and their details.
  • Screening information mentioned in Israeli sources, concerning  settlement issues and not broadcasting or promoting it  without addressing the terms used and the context under  which they fall.
  • Relying on the opinions and analyses of experts and specialists  on the issue of Israeli settlements, and the studies and  research they provide to understand the reality, motives and  parameters of the settlement, explain it and build a correct  narrative around it.
  • Ensuring the accuracy of their information and sources while  relying primarily on reports and information extracted from  fair and professional international entities, organizations and  committees. 

Issues regarding Settlements that Call for Attention from Media Coverage

This section focuses on the most prominent aspects, effects and themes of the settlement issue in need of attention by media, and journalistic coverage of the significance of these angles. The most prominent ones, are:

  • Highlighting the plans of settlement expansion in Jerusalem,
    and plans of occupation aimed at removing Jerusalemites from
    municipal areas, while annexing its settlements in order to shift
    the demographic balance.
  • Highlighting the Newly established settlements, described as
    «outposts» in the West Bank region, particularly in Jerusalem
    and the Jordan Valley.
  • Highlighting the forced displacement operations in Area (C) ,
    which targets dozens of Palestinian Bedouin villages, and aims
    at emptying the area of its Palestinian population in preparation
    for the occupation’s annexation. Of the most important areas
    targeted for displacement are: Masafer Yatta (east of Hebron
    governorate), Al Khan Al Ahmar (East of Jerusalem), and Northern
    Aghwar, amongst others.
  • Highlighting the Economic activity of settlements in the West
    Bank (agricultural, industrial, commercial and service-related), in
    addition to the impact of these activities on Palestinian society
    and territory from a political, economic, social, demographic,
    hydrological and environmental aspect.
  • Highlighting the Exploration activities in the West Bank and
    Jerusalem: Explaining how the occupation tries to create an
    alleged historical, religious and cultural relationship with the
    West Bank through archaeological excavations, in order to justify
    continued control and policies of seizure.
  • Stressing the need to uncover general context of settlement
    violations’ without limiting details. This can be done by linking
    detailed violations to vitally relevant settlement projects. For
    instance, most of the violations in Jerusalem fall under the
    greater goal of ‘The Greater Jerusalem Project’.
  • Raising awareness that this particular means of occupation in
    the control of the Palestinian lands of the West Bank, specifically
    in the city of Jerusalem is for the purpose of converting them
    to serve the Settlement project. It is possible to encompass the
    most prominent means as follows:
    * Converting lands into public lands (state lands)
    * Converting lands into public lands (state lands)
    * Declaring lands as military training zones
    * Declaring land zones as areas of no-entry (areas adjacent to the                     separation wall) or (settlement areas of influence).
    * Confiscation for security reasons Declaring lands as abandoned real             estate (absentee property)
    * Illegally purchasing lands through brokers, especially in Jerusalem
  • Highlighting the violations of Palestinian citizens’ human,
    economic, social and psychological rights caused by the
    Separation/Apartheid Wall.
  • Highlighting the Demolitions and evictions of the homes of
    Palestinian civilians take place under pretexts such as the failure
    to obtain building permits, for fabricated, often undisclosed
    security reasons or as a means of punishing Palestinian citizens.
    Throughout the West Bank as a whole, the number of homes
    demolished is estimated at 50,000, while in Jerusalem, 2300
    homes have been demolished from 1994 to 2018.
  • Highlighting the Israeli settler’s abuses and violations of the
    Palestinian’s economic, social, civil and political rights as with
    preventing access to land and water, in addition to environmental
    pollution caused by settlements and their factories, while
    further depriving them of adequate standards of living, denying
    students access to education and schools, beating and shooting
    civilians, destroying property and depriving them from access
    to holy sites and practicing religious rites amongst other tactics.
  • Highlighting the destroyed villages adjacent to the Separation/
    Apartheid Wall, whose population has been displaced for the
    establishment of settlements, and highlighting the ensuing
    environmental, health and social problems. A large segment
    of Palestinian villages and territory are subjected to forced
    displacement, denied access to basic services such as electricity,
    water, health and education on top of restrictions posed on
    planning and land division, settler terrorism and the military
    activities of the occupation army.
  • Highlighting the Israeli strategy to isolate the Palestinian
    territories and turn them into secluded cantons through
    settlement roads as well as checkpoints and roadblocks. This
    also includes settlement activity in the West Bank, including
    in Jerusalem, that operates through racist separatist apartheid
    organizations by isolating Palestinian civilians in besieged
    enclaves of 165 cantons.
  • Highlighting the Israeli illegal exploitation and control of
    the Palestinian natural resources in the West Bank, including
    controlling the oil fields, the minerals, the groundwater
    resources and the Dead Sea.
  • Identifying the ideological orientations of the settlers, their
    racist beliefs and sects and their religious and political groups
    as well as the gangs formed by the settlers to carry out terrorist
    attacks against Palestinian citizens, including the ‘Hilltop Youth’
    and ‘Price-Tag’ gangs. These attacks, whose monthly average
    amounts to 40, often result in the martyrdom and burning of
    citizens as well as the destruction of their property.
  • Highlighting the Privileges granted by the occupation
    government to settlers in the form of tax exemptions,
    salary increases, and considering their territories as priority
    development areas. These also include the provision of
    concessional loans with formal housing and education benefits,
    the establishment of agricultural, industrial and commercial
    projects as well as the opening of companies and production
    factories, and exporting their products world-wide in addition
    to advanced infrastructure projects in an attempt to empower
    the settlers and their extremist groups, and increase economic
    inequality between Arab Palestinians and Israeli settlers.

Settlements in Violation of International Law, Charters and Related Resolutions

  • In covering the issue of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, it is
    necessary to tie all settlement activities and their consequences with the multiple abuses and violations of the international law.
  • It is essential to raise awareness through highlighting the
    related abused international laws and resolutions by the Israeli
    occupation, including:
    * The Hague Convention 1907
    * Fourth Geneva Convention 1949
    * Security Council Resolutions 2334 ,478 ,465 ,452 ,446 ,242
    The Hague Convention 1907
     * Article 46: The Occupying Power shall not confiscate private property.        The Hague Chamber 1907.
    * Article 55: The Occupying Power shall be deemed to be the                              administrator of the territory of the occupied country and shall
    treat the property of the country as private property.Fourth Geneva Convention 1949
       * Article 49: The Occupying Power shall not be entitled to transfer
    its citizens to territories it occupies or to carry out any action
    leading to its demographic change.
    * Article 53: The Occupying Power shall not be entitled to destroy
    the personal or collective personal property or property of
    individuals or of the State or of any authority in the occupied
    * Article 147: The destruction and violation of property in a
    manner not justified by military necessities, and on a large
    scale in an illegal and arbitrary manner is a grave breach.
    Security Council Resolutions
       * Resolution 242 of 1967: Calls for the withdrawal of the occupying
    forces from the territories occupied in 1967, and emphasizes the
    inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war.
    * Resolution No. 446 of 1979: Emphasizes the illegality of the
    settlement policy in the occupied Arab territories, including
    * Resolution No. 452 of 1979: The Security Council calls upon the
    occupation authorities to cease settlement activities in the
    territories occupied in 1967, including Jerusalem.
    * Resolution No. 465 of 1980: Demanding the occupying state to
    stop the settlements, refrain from building new settlements
    and dismantle the settlement.
    * Resolution No. 478 of 1980: called for the non-recognition of
    what the occupation calls the «Basic Law», the decision to
    annex Jerusalem and considering it the capital of the occupying
    * Resolution 2334 of 23 December 2016: Resolved to condemn
    Israeli settlements and that Israeli actions violate international
    humanitarian laws and that those actions are aimed at
    changing the demographic structure and status of the occupied
    Palestinian territories.
    United Nations Resolutions
       * 4th of July 1967: Call for respect for human rights in the occupied
    Palestinian territories and for the occupation to ensure the
    safety and security of the inhabitants of those areas
    * December 1971 ,20: Demanding the Israeli occupying state to
    cancel all procedures for the annexation or settlement of the
    occupied territories.
    * November 23rd 2015: The overwhelming majority of the UN
    General Assembly called on the occupying Power to end
    its occupation of the Palestinian territories. The resolution
    stressed the importance of ending the Israeli occupation of the
    Palestinian territories since 1967 and the right of the Palestinian
    people to self-determination.
    * 20th December 2017: A resolution was passed reaffirming the
    Palestinians› right to exploit their natural resources.
    Human Rights Council
      Resolutions on the right to self-determination of the Palestinian
    people and the inadmissibility of the acquisition of Palestinian
    territory through the use of force, as provided for in the Charter of
    the United Nations and the relevant United Nations resolutions,
    called upon Israel to end its occupation of all the Palestinian
    territories occupied since 1967, through an immediate end to the
    gross violations committed in the occupied Palestinian territory
    and to the immediate international protection of the Palestinian
    people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory in compliance with
    international human rights law and international humanitarian

Identifying Terminology Related to the Settlement Issue

It is necessary for journalists who cover the settlement issue to be familiar with terms used and their meanings, given that most of them originate from Israeli sources and serve the Israeli narrative.

the most common terms include the following:

Term Definition
Settlement Jewish Communities established by official order of the occupation government on the land of Palestine
Settlements of Nahal The settlements of Moshavim or Kibbutz were established by the Nahal forces of the occupation
army in 1967, and were concentrated along the
Armistice Line and the areas of the valley, holding both agricultural military status.
Community Settlement A settlement that does not have joint production inputs, or shared housing and whose residents own their own homes, farms or private enterprises.
Urban Settlement A settlement with a population of 2000 or more, or any settlement located within the boundaries
of the Jerusalem area (J1) regardless of its population
Rural Settlement A settlement with a population of less than 2000 inhabitants located within the boundaries of the Jerusalem area (A1)
Outposts ‘Illegal
Settlements that are established in the West Bank and Jerusalem without authorization of the
Israeli government, but are subsidized and funded by government agencies and official settlement institutions such as settlement councils. This is a
label aimed at absorbing international criticism of
settlement expansion and artificially legitimizing
previously established settlements. The number
of settlement outposts representing the nucleus
of new settlements is about 107 outposts, and this number is expected to increase.
The ‘Bypass’ Road A road established by the occupation authorities
with the aim of linking existing settlements in
the West Bank with each other or with occupied
Palestinian territories in 1948 and is reserved
exclusively for settlers and the military.
Legitimization, laundering, or
This is intended to grant the legal status of the occupying power retroactively, for buildings
and settlements established without the authorization of the occupation forces.
The ‘Yesha’ Council A council representing settlers in the West Bank, with the exception of settlements of Jerusalem, annexed by occupying forces (J1), as well as
several border settlements in the governorates of Qalqiliya, Ramallah and Hebron, which were annexed to the occupying entity.
Closed Military Area An area that prevents Palestinian citizens without special permits from entering the Gaza Strip,
unless they are residents of the area.
Area A Following Oslo Accords in 1993, Area A of the West Bank refers to the lands that are supposedly
under total Palestinian administrative and security control, but in reality, it is still subjected to daily Israeli raids and invasions (about %18 of
the West Bank).
Area B tseW eht fo B aerA ,3991 ni sdroccA olsO gniwolloF
nainitselaP rednu era taht sdnal eht ot srefer knaB lortnoc ytiruces ilearsI dna ,lortnoc evitartsinimda
Area C Following Oslo Accords in 1993, Area C of the West Bank refers to the lands that are under total
Israeli administrative and security control (about %64 of the West Bank, including %3 as natural reserves).
Jerusalem (Area J1) This area is part of the governorate of Jerusalem,
annexed by ‘Israel’ after the occupation of the West Bank in 1967 and includes the following
Palestinian neighborhoods: Beit Hanina, Shuafat Camp, Shu’fat, Isawiyah, Sheikh Jarrah, Wadi Al- Joz, Bab Al-Sahira, Sawana, Ras al-Amud, Silwan, Al-Thawri, Jabal al-Mukaber, Sawahreh al-
Gharbiya, Beit Safafa, Sharafat, Sur Baher, Umm Tuba, Kafr al-Qubb.
Jerusalem (Area J2) The rest of the governorate of Jerusalem which the occupation officially considers part of the
West Bank and includes the following Palestinian communities: Rafat, Makhmas, Qalandia, Jab’a, Qalandia, Beit Duku, Jab’a, Jadira, Ram and
Dahiyat al-Bared. Al-Zayyim, Al-Aizariya, Abu Dis, Arabs of the Jahalin, Sawahreh Al-Sharqiya,
Sheikh Saad.
Western Isolation Area (J1 Area) Land of the West Bank that has been isolated between the Apartheid wall in the East and
the Green Line to the West by the occupation and has become very difficult to reach even through special permits obtained from the Civil Administration. It has an area of 705 km squared,
and constitutes 12.4 % of the West Bank.
Eastern Isolation Area The area of the Jordan Valley with the eastern slopes overlooking it, as well as the desert area adjacent to the Dead Sea (Jerusalem’s Land). It
has an area of 1664 km sq. It constitutes 29.4 % of the West Bank. The occupation army has taken control of it as a closed military zone.
H1 Area The area falling administratively and security- wise under the Palestinian Authority. It represents %80 of the area of the city of Hebron according to
the Hebron Protocol signed between the PLO and
the occupying state, until the occupation took complete control of it following its 2002 invasion.
H2 Area The area of the old country and Al-Haram al Ibrahimi that falls under the full control of the
occupation. It represents %20 of the area of the city of Hebron and is inhabited by 40,000
Palestinians and 800 settlers.

Palestinian Terminology on the Coverage of the Settlement Issue

The occupation has used terms attempting to distort the reality of its colonization of Palestinian territories. It aims to consolidate its vision,
narrative and settlement project in the West Bank, including Jerusalem, by
legitimizing the settlement presence, often retroactively, and suggesting
that the Palestinian presence is merely a transient one without any roots.
We attach here the most prominent false and pervasive Israeli terminology
that reinforces the Israeli vision and the corresponding terms which promote
Palestinian rights.

Israeli term Palestinian term
Israeli neighborhoods in Jerusalem Occupation municipality in Jerusalem
The Israeli municipality of Jerusalem Occupation municipality in Jerusalem
The Arab population in Jerusalem Palestinian citizens of Jerusalem
Israeli citizens in Jerusalem and the West Bank Israeli settlers in the West Bank,
including Jerusalem
The Judean Desert The land of Jerusalem
Outpost Central occupation Settlements
Israeli Civil Administration Civil Administration of the occupation army
Evacuation of Arab Communities Displacement of Palestinian villages
Separation Wall Apartheid wall
Restrictions on movement in the
West Bank
Siege of Palestinian citizens and the closure of their villages the restriction of their freedom of movement
Bypass streets Streets designated for settlers
Settling of Bedouin Aggregations Forced displacement
Illegitimate/ illegal settlements Occupation settlements