Who governs Judea & Samaria?

The Complex Political Status of Judea and Samaria – In the 1967 Six-Day War, in its victory over Jordan and other Arab nations, Israel liberated Judea and Samaria. Israel, however, was governed primarily by secular leaders who were not yet ready to embrace Israel’s biblical homeland. Instead of annexing Judea and Samaria, they remained “controlled territories.” Tragically, Israel’s indecisiveness and unwillingness to embrace its history and heartland has led to decades of Arab terror and attempts to drive the Jewish people out of Judea and Samaria.

The Oslo Accords: Areas A, B, & C

After leftist parties came to power in Israel in 1992, the Israeli government held secret negotiations with PLO, and signed the Oslo Accords in 1993. 

The Oslo agreement of 1995 divided Judea and Samaria into three categories of administrative jurisdiction: Areas A, B, and C.

Area A, approximately 18% of the Judea and Samaria, is exclusively administered by the Palestinian Authority, which controls all aspects of civilian life, including building permits, sewage, garbage removal, education, and health. This area includes Arab population centers like Jericho, Bethlehem, Ramallah, Kalkilya, and Jenin. Jews are forbidden from entering Area A, and Jews who owned land in Areas A and B were forced to forfeit their property.

Area B, about 22% of Judea and Samaria, is militarily controlled by Israel, while civic matters are controlled by the Palestinian Authority. Area B is primarily composed of rural areas of the Arab population.

Area C, which contains all Israeli towns, roads between those towns, army bases and vacant land, is administered by Israel. 70% of the land in Area C is, by agreement, off-limits for Palestinian development. According to the Oslo Accords, Israel has the right to build in Area C with no restrictions. Government restrictions on this construction is due to political concession, not law.

However, the Palestinians have not honored this agreement and regularly build illegal structures throughout Area C, in contravention of the Oslo Agreement. As of October 2022, there are 81,317 illegal Arab-built structures in Area C, covering an area of approximately 150,000 dunams – twice the total area of Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria combined.

Arabs are allowed to live in and visit all of Areas A, B and C. Jews are forbidden from entering Area A.

Israelis who live in Judea and Samaria are citizens of Israel. 98% of Arabs in Judea and Samaria live in Areas A and B, are governed by the PA, pay taxes to the PA, and (theoretically) vote in PA-administered elections – if democratic elections were to be held. The other 2% of the Arabs in Judea and Samaria reside in Area C, administered by the Israeli Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT).

The roads in the entire region are open to both Israeli and Arab-Palestinian traffic, though the PA issues its own license plates. Some roads are occasionally restricted depending on the security situation that alternates. In the approximately 40% of Judea and Samaria that is under the control of the Palestinian Authority (Areas A and B), it is illegal for Jewish Israeli citizens to enter or use those roads.

Approximately 17% of Judea and Samaria has been developed, including all Israeli and Palestinian-Arab development. The built-up areas of Israeli towns cover only 2% percent of all the land in Judea and Samaria.

Palestinian Authority Corruption

In the three decades since its inception, the Palestinian Authority and its institutions have proven to be utterly corrupt and guilty of human rights transgressions. 

Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, elected in 2005, is currently in the eighteenth year of a four-year term. Despite international pressure, the Palestinian Authority refuses to hold new elections.

The Palestinian Authority’s endemic corruption has undermined the credibility of former PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat, a notorious terrorist, and his successor, Mahmoud Abbas, in the eyes of their people. Many Palestinians are convinced that lax adherence to the rule of law, the absence of a functioning parliament, the failure to hold corrupt senior officials accountable, and the weakness of civil society organizations have all contributed to the proliferation of corruption within their society.

The Palestinian Authority’s track record in human rights abuses, such as the mistreatment of dissidents and prisoners, is rarely discussed in western media. The case of Nizar Banat, a vocal critic of PA corruption, is a stark example. On June 24, 2021, Palestinian Authority security forces forcefully entered his residence, subjected him to physical brutality, and subsequently took him into custody. Banat died soon afterwards, and those responsible have yet to face legal repercussions.

For many Arabs, it is evident that the Palestinian Authority has accomplished nothing more than the enrichment of senior PLO officials, their family members, and associates, who greedily diverted internationally earmarked funds to purchase luxury cars and construct extravagant residences, particularly in Ramallah and the Gaza Strip.

The conspicuous opulence and extravagant lifestyles of Mahmoud Abbas’ sons, Tarek and Yasser, have stirred controversy in Palestinian society since 2009 when Reuters published articles linking them to several multi-million-dollar business ventures, including some involving U.S. Government contracts. Images of senior Palestinian officials traveling in motorcades with an entourage of bodyguards and personal aides, coupled with reports of the extravagant lifestyles of PLO leaders, further fueled the prevailing sentiments of anger and marginalization among the Palestinian populace.

The reluctance of Western donors to hold the Palestinian Authority accountable for its egregious corruption is a primary factor in the radicalization of many Arabs.

Situated in the very heart of modern day Israel, Judea & Samaria lie alongside Israel’s eastern boundary with Jordan, to the north and south of Jerusalem. The media often refers to this area as “The West Bank,” for it lies on the west bank of the Jordan River dividing the modern State of Israel from Jordan. The area is often compared to the shape of a kidney bean.

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Judea and Samaria are critically important to Israel for two reasons: God Promised Judea & Samaria to Israel’s Forefathers – Judea & Samaria is the very heart of the homeland that God promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob for their descendents, the children of Israel. Judea & Samaria are Essential to Israel’s Security – Judea and Samaria’s location at the very heart of Israel make Israeli sovereignty over this area essential to Israel’s national security.

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The land of Israel was originally settled by the pagan tribes, known in the Bible as the “Seven Nations” – the Canaanites, Amorites, Hittites, Jebusites, Hivites, Perizzites, and Girgashites. But as God promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the land of Israel was promised to the descendents of Jacob, the people of Israel. In 1273 BCE, the people of Israel, led by Joshua, crossed the Jordan River and entered the land of Israel. In the ensuing years, the people of Israel conquered the land, which was divided among the 12 tribes of Israel.

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The Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria are under attack. Islamic terrorists murder Jewish men, women and children in Judea and Samaria every week.  Radical activists around the world work night and day to undermine the Jewish people’s claim to their biblical heartland. The European Union and the United States quietly support these attacks on Judea and Samaria, sending hundreds of millions of dollars in “aid” to the Palestinian Authority, where it is used to fund terror against Israelis. 

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Following the Hamas atrocities of October 7, 2023, in which Hamas brutally murdered over 1,200 innocent Israelis, President Biden and his administration have repeatedly declared their support for the creation of a Palestinian state within the framework of a “two-state solution.” On November 26, 2023, President Biden said: “A two-state solution is the only way to guarantee the long-term security of both the Israeli and Palestinian people.” He added that his administration “will not give up on working towards this goal.”

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