Karmei Tzur

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Karmei Tzur
כַּרְמֵי צוּר
Karmei Tzur is located in the Southern West Bank
Karmei Tzur
Karmei Tzur
Coordinates: 31°36′33.2″N 35°6′5.17″E / 31.609222°N 35.1014361°E / 31.609222; 35.1014361Coordinates: 31°36′33.2″N 35°6′5.17″E / 31.609222°N 35.1014361°E / 31.609222; 35.1014361
District Judea and Samaria Area
Council Gush Etzion
Region West Bank
Affiliation Hapoel HaMizrachi
Founded 1984
Founded by Residents of Alon Shvut
Population (2017)[1] 1,037
Name meaning Vineyards of Rock
Website www.carmatz.com

Karmei Tzur, or Carmei Tzur (Hebrew: כַּרְמֵי צוּר‬) is an Israeli settlement organized as a community settlement in the West Bank located north of Hebron in the Judean hills between the Palestinian towns Beit Ummar and Halhul. The National Religious community falls under the jurisdiction of Gush Etzion Regional Council.[2] Under the terms of the Oslo Accords of 1993 between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, Karmei Tzur was designated Area "C" under full Israeli civil and security control.[3] In 2017 it had a population of 1,037.

The international community considers Israeli settlements in the West Bank illegal under international law, but the Israeli government disputes this.[4]

According to a Peace Now-report of 2006, 27 percent of the land Karmei Tzur is built on, is privately owned, all or most of it by Palestinians.[5] According to Israeli law, settlements on privately owned Palestinian land are illegal.[6]


Karmei Tzur, meaning “Vineyards (or Olive Groves) of Rock” or “Stalwart Vineyards”,[7] was established in 1984 by a group of students from the Har Etzion Yeshiva in Alon Shvut, and was named after the nearby Hasmonean and Biblical place of Beth-Zur[8]


Karmei Tzur is situated east of the Israeli West Bank barrier, 8.3 kilometers from the Green line[2] in the Judean hills north of Hebron, 22 kilometers from Jerusalem. The settlement has a total area of about 420.000 square meters.[2]


There are about 120 families living in the settlement with more than 700 people in total. This includes 13 families living in the adjacent Tzur Shalem outpost and eight immigrant families of Inca Jews from Trujillo, Peru, who have been housed there as part of an absorption program. The settlement is home to Yeshiva students, educators, academics, army officers, traders, and doctors. Most of the residents work in Gush Etzion, Kiryat Arba, or Jerusalem.[citation needed]


Local children are educated within the settlement until they reach school age. School children are transported to schools in the centre of Gush Etzion. There is a wide variety of after school activities provided in the settlement.


Karmei Tzur has an outpost, Tzur Shalem, which is also considered illegal under Israeli law.[9] It was established in 2001 in memory of Dr. Shmuel Gillis, a senior physician at the Hadassah Medical Center and resident of Karmei Tzur of English origins who was killed after Palestinians shot him while driving home on 1 February 2001 during the Second Intifada.[10] The name was chosen by Gillis′ widow. “Shalem”, meaning “whole”, shares some of the letters of Gillis′ first name “Shmuel”, and the word “tzur”, meaning “rock”, is one of the names for God and also symbolizes strength and steadfastness.[11] The outpost with more than twenty caravans and 13 families is located to the west of Karmei Tzur and has views of the Shephelah Region.

Israeli-Palestinian conflict[edit]

In February 2001, Dr. Shmuel Gillis (42) of Karmei Tzur was shot eleven times by Palestinian gunmen while driving. He died instantly.[12] In June 2002 Hamas terrorists, possibly assisted by Islamic Jihad men,[13] infiltrated the Tzur Shalem outpost and killed Ayal Sorek (23) and his 9-month-pregnant wife Yael (24) along with reserve soldier Shalom Mordechai (35) from Nahariya.[14]

As B'Tselem reports, in October 2011, settlers from Karmei Tzur threw stones at Palestinians demonstrating against what they claimed was the seizure of their primarily privately owned land forming the special security area (SSA) surrounding the settlement, which settlers can enter freely, while the Palestinian landowners must obtain special permits to enter. A Palestinian photographer who was filming the events was injured, while apparently security officials from the settlement and Israeli soldiers did not intervene.[15]

In February 2012, Karmei Tzur resident Zehava Weiss, a teacher, was attacked with stones and bricks near the Palestinian town Beit Ummar while driving to Karmei Tzur. Although her car was armored, the windshield was shattered and the exterior was dented in several places. According to her, similar attacks are a near daily occurrence. Following the incident, two suspects were arrested near the Palestinian town of Al-Khader.[16]

The settlement is home to Reuven Bel-Uliel, the father of the alleged attacker in the Duma arson attack, and a rabbi at a yeshiva in Karmei Tzur. The Ben-Uliel family released a statement supporting their son and protesting his innocence.[17]


  1. ^ "List of localities, in Alphabetical order" (PDF). Israel Central Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved August 26, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c "Settlements list". Peace Now. Archived from the original on 18 July 2011. Retrieved 23 November 2011.
  3. ^ "LAND GRAB. Israel's Settlement Policy in the West Bank" (PDF). B'Tselem. May 2002. p. 111.
  4. ^ "The Geneva Convention". BBC News. 10 December 2009. Retrieved 23 November 2011.
  5. ^ In the data provided by the Civil Administration “there is no mention of whether the private land is owned by Palestinians or by Jews... Nevertheless, it is highly probable that most of the land that is marked here as private land (if not all of it) is privately-owned Palestinian land”."Settlement are built on Private Palestinian Land". Peace Now. 14 March 2007. Retrieved 29 March 2011.
  6. ^ "G U I L T Y! Construction of Settlements upon Private Land – Official Data" (PDF). Peace Now. 2006. Retrieved 1 April 2011.
  7. ^ The word “kerem”, possessive “karmei”, is used in Hebrew to denote both olive groves and vineyards.
  8. ^ Carta's Official Guide to Israel and Complete Gazetteer to all Sites in the Holy Land. (3rd edition 1993) Jerusalem, Carta, p.257, ISBN 965-220-186-3 (English)
  9. ^ Talya Sason, Adv. (10 March 2005). "Summary of the Opinion Concerning Unauthorized Outposts". Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Retrieved 24 November 2011.
  10. ^ "Dr Shmuel Gillis". Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 1 February 2001. Retrieved 23 November 2011.
  11. ^ Nadav Shragai (13 June 2002). "Unity is a barricade against bereavement". Haaretz. Retrieved 23 November 2011.
  12. ^ Dr. Shmuel Gillis
  13. ^ Gideon Alon, Amos Harel and Jonathan Lis (9 June 2002). "3 Israelis killed in W. Bank infiltration". Haaretz. Retrieved 23 November 2011.
  14. ^ Margot Dudkevitch (9 June 2002). "Terrorists kill three in Karmei Tzur infiltration". Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 23 November 2011.
  15. ^ "Video: Soldiers let settlers assault Palestinian demonstrators". B'Tselem. 21 November 2011. Retrieved 23 November 2011.
  16. ^ Altman, Yair (23 February 2012). "Caught on Tape: Palestinian Hurls Brick at Car". Ynet. Ynetnews.com. Retrieved 16 June 2012.
  17. ^ Elisha Ben Kimon, 'Amiram Ben-Uliel: The handyman accused of Duma murders,' Ynet 3 January 2016.

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