Israeli checkpoint
© Reuters/Ammar Awad
Palestinians cross through the Israeli Qalandia military checkpoint near the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah
Fifty years ago, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 242. The resolution is used as a framework for implementing the two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

But since its adoption in 1967, Israel has violated the resolution by entrenching its occupation of the Palestinian territories through illegal settlements. 600,000 - 750,000 Illegal settlers reside in the occupied Palestinian territories:
  • 150 Settlements
  • 119 Outposts
  • 42% Of West Bank land controlled by settlements
  • 86% Of East Jerusalem for Israeli state and settler use
  • The majority of settlements have been built either entirely or partially on private Palestinian property
To the casual visitor or tourist driving through the occupied West Bank or Jerusalem, Israeli settlements may appear as just another set of houses on a hill.

The middle-class suburban style townhouses, built fast and locked in a grid of uniform units, stand like fortified compounds, in direct contrast to the sprawling limestone Palestinian homes below.

Israel security wall
© Reuters/Ammar Awad
A man places the Palestinian flag on the controversial Israeli separation wall, with Israeli settlements showing in the background.
Settlement homes, mostly constructed of cement with a cosmetic limestone cladding, tend to fashion a similar look: American-style villas topped by red-tiled roofs and surrounded by lush, neatly trimmed green lawns.

The largest settlement, Modi'in Illit, houses more than 64,000 Israeli Jews in the occupied West Bank. The mega-settlement has its own mayor, as well as schools, shopping malls and medical centres.

Some settlements even have their own universities.

Today, between 600,000 and 750,000 Israelis live in these sizeable settlements, equivalent to roughly 11 percent of the total Jewish Israeli population.

They live beyond the internationally recognised borders of their state, on Palestinian land that Israel occupied in 1967, comprising East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

Since then, the Israeli government has openly funded and built settlements for Israeli Jews to live there, offering incentives and subsidised housing.

So why have these housing compounds caused so much rancour and been called a threat to the prospect of peace in the Holy Land?

Follow this journey to find out.