The Jewish Settlements in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and Eastern Jerusalem has become one of the most argumentative issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The collision of Jewish nationalist colonization and Palestinian nationalism, both laying claim to the same territory, forms the basis of this long conflict.
Following the Six Day War in 1967, the Israeli government originally declared that it was ready to return the territories captured from Egypt, Jordan and Syria, all except Jerusalem, in return for peace treaties with its Arab neighbors. However, religious and nationalist groups began settling in the occupied territories. Since 1967, Israeli governments gradually allowed and eventually managed the creation of more and more civilian Israeli communities in the occupied territories. As of May 2009, around 280,000 Israeli citizens live in 121 West Bank settlements, another 190,000 live in Arab East Jerusalem.
UN Resolutions 242 and 338 stipulate that Israel must withdraw completely from the occupied territories. The United Nations considers the settlements as a violation of international law. Israeli policy toward the settlements has ranged from active promotion to removal by force. To many Palestinians, the establishment of Jewish Settlements is an ongoing effort to remove Palestinians from their land. Opponents of settlements on both sides argue that they have had a profoundly negative effect on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.