The Israeli Defense Ministry was forced to release several maps of Israeli settlements after anti-settlement activist Dror Etkes filed a petition under the Freedom of Information Law. Israel had previously not released any of the settlement plans. The maps and figures allegedly showed that Israel is planning to use available land in the West Bank to expand their illegal settlements.
Around 155,000 acres of land (or roughly 10% of the land in the West Bank) were earmarked for expansion. Etkes believes that these maps prove that settlers had access to government information regarding Palestinian land. In the below map of the West Bank, obtained by Haaretz, the yellow portions are the portions carved out by Israel for expansion into the West Bank, including several settlements which have already been started. The green line is the 1967 border, while the purple line represents the West Bank security fence.
Much of the land listed on the maps (almost 120,000 acres) is marked specifically as belonging to Israel which, according to Etkes, proves that Israel is not devoted to the peace process. According to him, the fact that they were expanding past the separation barrier means they do not respect their 1967 borders, upon which the two states would hopefully be based. “The administration currently updates the ‘land bank,’ flouting the peace process, which is based on the two-state principle,” Etkes said. The Civil Administration, the arm of the Defense Ministry which released the maps, stated that the maps and the figures represented an old data bank and did not reflect any current plans to build settlements.