Judea and Samaria Area

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This article refers the Israeli administrative district. For the geographic regions of Judea and Samaria, see Judea and Samaria. For the biblical kingdoms see Kingdom of Judea and Kingdom of Israel (Samaria).
Judea and Samaria Area
- transcription(s)
 • Hebrew אֵזוֹר יְהוּדָה וְשׁוֹמְרוֹן
 • Arabic يَهُوذَا وَالسَّامِرَةِ
Israel judea and samaria dist.png
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]

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 term 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.


The area of the Judea and Samaria district 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 c.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.[citation needed]

Following the Jordanian occupation and annexation of Judea and Samaria in 1948, Jordan renamed the territory "the West Bank [of the Jordan]". After Israel captured it in 1967, it did not immediately officially refer to it by the historical names. Only ten years later, in 1977, when Menachem Begin, a proponent of extending Israel's sovereignty to the region, became Prime Minister, were the names Judea and Samaria officially adopted.

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".[4]

The West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and Gaza Strip are considered occupied Palestinian territories by the United Nations and its member states including the United States,[5][6] the International Court of Justice the European Union,[7] and by non-governmental organizations such as Amnesty International,[8] Human Rights Watch,[9] and B'Tselem.[10][11] The Supreme Court of Israel has considered the section of the West Bank which excludes East Jerusalem to be Israeli-occupied territories.[12]

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.[13] 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.

Administrative sub-regions[edit]

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[edit]


  1. ^ [1].
  2. ^ Neil Caplan (19 September 2011). The Israel-Palestine Conflict: Contested Histories. John Wiley & Sons. pp. 18–. ISBN 978-1-4443-5786-8. 
  3. ^ "Statistical Abstract of Israel 2012". Retrieved 15 January 2013. 
  4. ^ "Resolution 242 of 22 November 1967". UN. Retrieved 31 May 2012. 
  5. ^ "West Bank". The World Factbook. CIA. Retrieved 17 October 2011. 
  6. ^ "Disputes - International: Gaza Strip". The World Factbook. CIA. Retrieved 17 October 2011. 
  7. ^ "Occupied Palestinian Territory". EEAS (European External Action Service). Retrieved 17 October 2011. 
  8. ^ "Annual Report 2011". Amnesty International. Retrieved 17 October 2011. 
  9. ^ "Israel and the Occupied Territories". Human Rights Watch. Retrieved 17 October 2011. 
  10. ^ "Land Expropriation and Settlements in the International Law". B'Tselem. Retrieved 17 October 2011. 
  11. ^ "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". International Court of Justice. 9 July 2004. 
  12. ^ "The High Court of Justice HCJ 7957/04 ruling on the fence surrounding Alfei Menashe". Haaretz. 15 September 2005. 
  13. ^ Jonathan Lis (13 May 2012). "In about-face, Israeli ministers block bill to annex West Bank settlements". Haaretz. Retrieved 31 May 2012. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 31°45′N 35°00′E / 31.750°N 35.000°E / 31.750; 35.000