Since the 1967 military occupation of the West Bank, Gaza, and the Syrian Golan, successive Israeli governments have established civilian colonies, or settlements, on occupied Syrian and Palestinian land, actively encouraging Israeli citizens and industries to move into them.
As of 2022, there are 132 Israeli settlements and 148 additional “outposts” (i.e., settlements not yet officially recognized by the Israeli government) in the occupied West Bank (excluding East Jerusalem), and 33 settlements in the occupied Syrian Golan. Approximately 465,400 Israeli settlers reside in the occupied West Bank (excluding Jerusalem), another 236,000 live in occupied East Jerusalem, and 27,000 live in the occupied Syrian Golan. Israeli civilian construction has been a key instrument in the annexation of occupied land and resources. Ongoing construction includes housing developments as well as extensive infrastructure projects, such as roads and water systems, for the exclusive use of Israeli settlers.
These Israeli colonizing efforts are illegal under international law which stipulates that it is a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention for an occupying power to move its citizens into an occupied area. Further, any permanent changes made to occupied land for such settlers violate The Hague Regulations.
Who Profits has identified three sub-categories of corporate involvement in the Settlement Enterprise. These include Settlement Production, referring to agricultural and industrial production in settlements and settlement industrial zones; Construction on Occupied Land, including the construction of settlements and related infrastructure on occupied land; and Services to Settlements, namely the provision of services and utilities to the settlements.