For decades, Israel has prioritized illegal settlements for Jewish Israelis in the West Bank.
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In the early hours of Saturday, October 7, Israelis living near the border with Gaza awoke to the sounds of Hamas fighters killing and kidnapping their neighbors. As the hours stretched on and they hid, terrified, their frantic text messages contained versions of this question: Where is the army?
To answer that question, we need to travel to the West Bank.
Watch this video to better understand how Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s obsessive focus on the West Bank has left Israelis everywhere vulnerable.
Note: The headline on this piece has been updated.
Previous headline: Where was the Israeli army on October 7
Check out Vox’s coverage of the Israel-Hamas War: https://www.vox.com/2023/10/7/23907683/israel-hamas-war-news-updates-october-2023
Read Nathan Thrall’s latest book, “A Day in the Life of Abed Salama”: https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250854971/adayinthelifeofabedsalama
B’Tselem has a lot of background on settler violence and Israel’s encroachment on Palestinian land:
We used settlement data from Peace Now: https://peacenow.org.il/en/settlements-watch/settlements-data/population
Amnesty International put out a comprehensive report that provided background: https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/mde15/5141/2022/en/
We relied a lot on the data and research from Visualizing Palestine: https://101.visualizingpalestine.org/
We used military data compiled by Al Jazeera: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/10/11/how-big-is-israels-military-and-how-much-funding-does-it-get-from-the-us
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