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Judea and Samaria Area

Judea and Samaria Area
- transcription(s)
 • Hebrew אֵזוֹר יְהוּדָה וְשׁוֹמְרוֹן
 • Arabic يَهُوذَا وَالسَّامِرَةِ
Cities 4
Local councils 13
Regional councils 6
Capital Ariel
 • Total 5,878 km2 (2,270 sq mi)
Population (2014)
 • Total 389,250 residents (Israeli citizens only)[1]
1,889,000 residents (including Palestinians)

Judea and Samaria Area (Hebrew: אֵזוֹר יְהוּדָה וְשׁוֹמְרוֹן, Ezor Yehuda VeShomron, also an acronym יו"ש Yosh or ש"י Shai; Arabic: يهودا والسامرة‎, Yahuda was-Sāmerah) is the official Israeli phrase for the territory generally referred to as the West Bank,[2] but excluding East Jerusalem.[3] It is officially regarded by Israeli authorities as one of its administrative regions, though not recognized as such internationally.


  • Terminology 1
  • Status 2
  • Administrative sub-regions 3
    • Municipalities 3.1
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


The Judea and Samaria area covers a portion of the territory designated by the ancient names Judea and Samaria. Samaria corresponds to part of the ancient Kingdom of Israel, also known as the Northern Kingdom. Judea corresponds to part of the ancient Kingdom of Judah, also known as the Southern Kingdom.

After the Assyrian conquest of the Northern Israelite Kingdom of Israel in about 721 BCE, the previous inhabitants were deported and replaced by forced resettlement by other peoples, which eventually became Samaritans, at the hands of the Assyrians. As a direct consequence, a central part of the former Northern Kingdom of Israel was renamed Samaria (Shomron in Hebrew). During the Hellenistic and Roman periods the name of the former Southern Kingdom of Judah was hellenized to Judea. In modern times, Samaria was the name of one of the administrative districts of Mandatory Palestine. United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181, adopted in 1947, referred to "Samaria and Judea" as part of a proposed Arab state to be carved out of the Mandate of Palestine but the boundaries of "Samaria and Judea" did not precisely coincide with the current Judea and Samaria Area.

Following the occupation of the West Bank, which was then occupied by Jordan, by Israel in 1967, the Israeli right began to refer to the territories by their Hebrew names and argued for their integration into Israel on historical, religious, nationalist and security grounds.[2][4] In December 1967, the Israeli military government issued an order that stated: "the term 'Judea and Samaria region' shall be identical in meaning for all purposes to the term 'the West Bank Region'"[5] and had in early 1968 been officially adopted.[6] However, the phrase was rarely used until 1977 when Menachem Begin, a proponent of extending Israel's sovereignty to the region, became prime minister.[7][6][8][9]

The name Judea, when used in Judea and Samaria, refers to all of the region south of Jerusalem, including Gush Etzion and Har Hebron. The region of Samaria, on the other hand, refers to the area north of Jerusalem. East Jerusalem has been incorporated into the Jerusalem District and is under Israeli civilian rule, and is thus excluded from the administrative structure of the Judea and Samaria Area.

The terms "West Bank" (HaGada HaMa'aravit: הגדה המערבית), or, alternatively, "the Territories" (HaShtahim: השטחים), are also current in Israeli usage.


The Judea and Samaria Area is administered by the Israel Defense Forces Central Command, and military law is applied. Administrative decisions are subject to the Command's chief. The incumbent chief of Central Command is Aluf Nitzan Alon.

The future status of the region is a key factor in the ongoing Israeli–Palestinian conflict.

United Nations Security Council Resolution 242, adopted in November 1967, after Israel captured the region from Jordan in the Six-Day War, lists as its first principle "the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war and the need to work for a just and lasting peace in which every State in the area can live in security" and called for the "withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict" in conjunction with the "termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgment of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force".[10]

The West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and Gaza Strip are considered occupied Amnesty International,[14] Human Rights Watch,[15] and B'Tselem.[16][17] The Supreme Court of Israel has considered the section of the West Bank which excludes East Jerusalem to be Israeli-occupied territories.[18]

On 13 May 2012, a bill to extend Israeli law to the Israeli settlements in the Judea and Samaria Area initiated by Knesset member Miri Regev (Likud) first approved by the majority of the Ministerial Committee for Legislation was rejected in a second round of votes after prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu had instructed his ministers to vote against the bill. Extending Israeli law to the settlements would mean a de facto annexation of the settlements to Israel.[19] In July 2012, a government-commissioned report from a three-member committee, called Levy Report, asserted, based on a number of reasons, that there is no legal basis under international law to refer to Judea and Samaria as "occupied territory". Article 43 of the Fourth Hague Convention of 1907 is the basis of the Levy committee's opinion.[20]

Administrative sub-regions

The area is further divided into 8 military administrative regions: Menashe (Jenin area), HaBik'a (Jordan Valley), Shomron (Shechem area, known in Arabic as Nablus), Efrayim (Tulkarm area), Binyamin (Ramallah/al-Bireh area), Maccabim (Maccabim area), Etzion (Bethlehem area) and Yehuda (Hebron area).


Map of West Bank settlements and closures in January 2006: Yellow = Palestinian urban centers. Light pink = closed military areas or settlement boundary areas or areas isolated by the Israeli West Bank barrier; dark pink = settlements, outposts or military bases. The black line = route of the Barrier.
Cities (settlements) Local councils Regional councils

See also


  1. ^ 15,000 More Jews in Judea-Samaria in 2,014, Arutz Sheva
  2. ^ a b Neil Caplan (19 September 2011). The Israel-Palestine Conflict: Contested Histories. John Wiley & Sons. pp. 18–.  
  3. ^ "Statistical Abstract of Israel 2012" (PDF). Retrieved 15 January 2013. 
  4. ^ Alan Dowty (11 June 2012). Israel / Palestine. Polity. pp. 130–131.  
  5. ^ Emma Playfair (1992). International Law and the Administration of Occupied Territories: Two Decades of Israeli Occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Oxford University Press. p. 41. On 17 December 1967, the Israeli military government issued an order stating that “the term “Judea and Samaria region” shall be identical in meaning for all purposes . .to the term “the West Bank Region”. This change in terminology, which has been followed in Israeli official statements since that time, reflected a historic attachment to these areas and rejection of a name that was seen as implying Jordanian sovereignty over them. 
  6. ^ a b Shlomo Gazit (2003). Trapped Fools: Thirty Years of Israeli Policy in the Territories. Routledge. p. 162. [...] the Likud Government was not satisfied with the name ‘Administered Territories’. Even though the name ‘Judea and Samaria’ had been officially adopted as early as the beginning of 1968 instead of the ‘West Bank’, it has hardly been used until 1977. 
  7. ^ Ian Lustick (2002). The Riddle of Nationalism: The Dialectic of Religion and Nationalism in the Middle East. Logos, vol. 1, no 3. pp. 18–44. The terms “occupied territory” or “West Bank” were forbidden in news reports. Television and radio journalists were banned from initiating interviews with Arabs who recognized the PLO as their representative. 
  8. ^ Myron J. Aronoff (1991). Israeli Visions and Divisions: Cultural Change and Political Conflict. Transaction Publishers. p. 10. [...] “Judea and Samaria”, the biblical terms that the Likud government succeeded in substituting for what had previously been called by many the West Bank, the occupied territories, or simply the territories. The successful gaining of the popular acceptance of these terms was a prelude to gaining popular acceptance of the government’s settlement policies. 
  9. ^ Ran HaCohen (1992). Influence of the Middle East Peace Process on the Hebrew Language. Undoing and Redoing Corpus Planning, Michael G. Clyne (ed.). pp. 385–414, 397. During a short period immediately after the 1967 war, the official term employed was ‘the Occupied Territories’ (ha-shetahim ha-kevushim). It was soon replaced by ‘the Administered Territories’ (ha-shetahim ha-muhzakim) and then by the (Biblical) Hebrew geographical terms “Judea and Samaria”. The latter were officially adopted and successfully promoted by the governments (since 1977) and are still the official terms in use. 
  10. ^ "Resolution 242 of 22 November 1967" (PDF). UN. Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 May 2012. Retrieved 31 May 2012. 
  11. ^ "West Bank". The World Factbook. CIA, USA. Retrieved 17 October 2011. 
  12. ^ "Disputes - International: Gaza Strip". The World Factbook. CIA, USA. Retrieved 17 October 2011. 
  13. ^ "Occupied Palestinian Territory". EEAS (European External Action Service). Retrieved 17 October 2011. 
  14. ^ "Annual Report 2011". Amnesty International. Archived from the original on 23 March 2010. Retrieved 17 October 2011. 
  15. ^ "Israel and the Occupied Territories". Human Rights Watch. Retrieved 17 October 2011. 
  16. ^ "Land Expropriation and Settlements in the International Law". B'Tselem. Retrieved 17 October 2011. 
  17. ^ "Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (Request for advisory opinion) - Summary of the Advisory Opinion of 9 July 2004" (PDF). International Court of Justice. 9 July 2004. 
  18. ^ "The High Court of Justice HCJ 7957/04 ruling on the fence surrounding Alfei Menashe". Haaretz. 15 September 2005. 
  19. ^ Jonathan Lis (13 May 2012). "In about-face, Israeli ministers block bill to annex West Bank settlements". Haaretz. Retrieved 31 May 2012. 
  20. ^ Isabel Kershner (9 July 2012). "Validate Settlements, Israeli Panel Suggests". The New York Times. 

External links

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