Facts on the ground

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For the book by Nadia Abu El Haj, see Facts on the Ground.

Facts on the ground is a diplomatic term that means the situation in reality as opposed to in the abstract.[1]


The term Facts on the ground has been in common use English since at least the middle 1920s.[2] It was popularised in the 1970s over discussions of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict,[3] where it was used to refer to Israeli settlements built in the occupied West Bank, which were intended to establish permanent Israeli footholds in Palestinian territory.[4]

Writing in 2010, Rashid Khalidi notes:

One reason Israel continues to build settlements is that, according to the so-called Clinton parameters laid down in 2000, a final Israeli–Palestinian agreement would grant sovereignty over Jewish-occupied areas to Israel, and Palestinian-inhabited areas to the new Palestinian state. Indeed, well over a decade of failed negotiations have only led to an acceleration of Israel’s land grab in the Holy City. Israeli planners have spent this time pushing settlers into heavily Arab-inhabited areas of the city, such as Sheikh Jarrah, Silwan, and Abu Dis, in order to create fresh "facts on the ground"—a tactic used by the Zionist movement for over a century in order to obtain control over more and more of Palestine.[5]

See also[edit]



Further reading[edit]

Gershom Gorenberg, The Accidental Empire: Israel and the Birth of the Settlements, 1967-1977, Macmillan, 2006