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Five largest Israeli settlements: who lives there, and why

The end goal of the current Israeli-Palestinian peace talks is two separate, sovereign states. Palestinians say that the expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, deemed illegal by the UN, influence the outcome of such talks. Here are the five most populous Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

- Contributor

A Palestinian laborer works on a construction site in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Maale Adumim September 14. (Ronen Zvulun/Reuters)

2. Maale Adumim

Founded in 1975

Population: 33,821

Maale Adumim lies east of Jerusalem, about 2.5 miles from the Green Line. Considered by many Israelis to be a suburb of the city because of its close proximity, it began as a planned community and commuter town for Israelis working in Jerusalem. A mix of religious and secular Jews live there.

Israel values the "strategic depthMaale Adumim offers against an army coming from the east. But Palestinians and their international supporters have criticized Israel’s efforts to incorporate Maale Adumim, as well as an adjacent area known as E-1, because those plans threaten the territorial contiguity of a future Palestinian state. The Maale Adumim bloc extends far into the West Bank, leaving only a narrow corridor of land in the eastern West Bank to connect the northern and southern regions of the territory.

See map.