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 United Nations, influence the outcome of such talks. With more than 300,000 Israelis now living in such settlements, Israel expects to keep at least some of them under a final peace deal – possibly as part of a land swap. An estimated three-quarters of Israeli settlers live on a relatively small percentage of the West Bank, most of them in communities adjacent to Israel proper. Some of them are ideologically driven and some are attracted by the low cost of living; many are motivated by a combination of the two. Here are the five most populous settlements in the West Bank.
Former Israeli soldier Eden Abergil's Facebook photos of blindfolded Palestinian detainees are similar to many that soldiers from multiple units showed me while I covered the Iraq war. Dark humor helps young soldiers get by.