|District||Judea and Samaria Area|
|Founded by||Beit VeGan residents|
Psagot (Hebrew: פְּסָגוֹת, lit. Peaks) is an Israeli settlement in the West Bank located north of Jerusalem on Tawil hill adjacent to Ramallah, al-Bireh, and Kokhav Ya'akov. Established in 1981, it is organised as a community settlement and falls under the jurisdiction of Binyamin Regional Council, with the council's headquarters located there. In 2016 it had a population of 1,847.
The name Psagot was proposed by one of the early residents, Moshe Bar-Asher, a professor and head of the Academy of the Hebrew Language. It expresses the hope that the new village will achieve a peak in settlement and study of the Torah. The name also refers to the location of Psagot on the peak of Mount Tawil.
The Arabic name of the hill is Jabel Tawil (long mountain).
Before 1967, Jabel Tawil was known to locals as "Kuwaiti hill" because of numerous visitors from the Persian Gulf who hiked in the area. In 1964, some of the land was purchased by the Jerusalem municipality for a future tourist resort. In the Six-Day War, it came under Israeli control. From September 1976, Arabs were prohibited from building in the area.
In 1981, Ariel Sharon, then Israeli Minister of Defense, told Pinchas Wallerstein, head of the Mateh Binyamin Regional Council, that he would support initiatives to settle the area. In July 1981, Wallerstein moved the council headquarters to the hill, then occupied by a military intelligence base. Five families from the Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit VeGan took up residence there. A year later, they were joined by a group from the Kerem B'Yavneh yeshiva who came to create a kollel.
According to B'Tselem, Psagot prevents the expansion of Ramallah and cuts it off from the surrounding villages. During the course of the Second Intifada, snipers shot at Psagot from buildings in Ramallah, leading to the construction of a concrete wall to protect the inhabitants. In 2001, the Israeli army stationed nearby fired two missiles into Ramallah targeting Marwan Barghouti.
In November 2009, the Psagot settlement and Regavim petitioned the High Court of Justice in an unsuccessful attempt to stop construction of the Al-Bireh International Stadium, citing security concerns.
The Sasson Report identified Psagot as the "parent settlement" of an Israeli outpost known as Mitzpe Ha'ai located approximately 400m to the southeast. According to the report, the settlement, unauthorized by the government, was built on land appropriated illegally from its Palestinian owners. According to Peace Now 75.69% of the combined area of Psagot and Mitzpe Ha'ai is on appropriated private land.
Status under international law
The international community considers Israeli settlements to violate the Fourth Geneva Convention's prohibition on the transfer of an occupying power's civilian population into occupied territory. Israel disputes that the Fourth Geneva Convention applies to the Palestinian territories as they had not been legally held by a sovereign prior to Israel taking control of them. This view has been rejected by the International Court of Justice and the International Committee of the Red Cross.
The Psagot Winery was founded by Na’ama and Yaakov Berg, who planted vineyards in 1998. In addition to a modern barrel cellar, some of the oak barriques are stored in a cave dating back to the Second Temple era. The winery’s top wine is a Bordeaux blend named Edom. Regular varietal wines are produced in the Psagot series and there is also a Port-style wine. In 2007 and 2008, the winery produced 65,000 bottles annually. In 2010, the winery produced 80,000 bottles of wine a year, the majority for export. By 2015, the number produced had grown to 250,000 bottles per year, of which 65% are exported. Palestinian Arabs and Israeli Jews work there side by side, creating an island of co-existence in sea of mistrust. The American evangelical Christian organization HaYovel has sent volunteers to tend and harvest Psagot Winery's vineyards. Berg says calls to boycott his wines have only increased demand. The winery has developed into "a favourite destination" for right-wing Israeli and American politicians. Other wineries exist around Psagot, and the Yesha Council hopes to make them a tourist attraction. According to the local Palestinians and the Israeli human rights group Yesh Din, the wineries are partially planted on privately owned Palestinian land.
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- Settler vineyards take root in West Bank BBC. 17 June 2009