CJPME Factsheet 10, published September, 2005: This Factsheet provides background information on Israel's Industrial Zones, how they relate to Israel Settlement Blocks and how they facilitate Israeli life in settlements. It also examines how West Bank Factories have increased pollution for Palestinians.

factories.jpgIndustrial Zones and Israel's Colonial Strategy

Factsheet Series No. 10, created: September 2005, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East
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What are Israeli Industrial Zones 

Largely non-residential, Israeli West Bank Industrial Zones are fortress-like hill-top factory complexes connected to nearby hill-top settlements.  They are the economic engines of the illegal Israeli settlement blocs.  In the best of cases, they provide an industrial base for Israel’s illegal colonial development in the territories, exploiting cheap Palestinian labour.  In the worst of cases, they offer a particular attraction to industries considered toxic or otherwise undesirable in Israel proper due to the fact that stringent Israeli labour and industrial laws are not applied in the occupied territories. 


What are Israeli “Settlement Blocks”?

There is no exact geographic or legal definition of a "settlement bloc." Rather, the term is a practical way to describe the outcome of a longstanding Israeli policy of establishing settlements in roughly contiguous chains and later "thickening" the settlements with infrastructure and buildings to create large swaths of land in which the settlements, and the infrastructure connecting them, are the defining characteristic of the area. 


Settlement Blocs are key instruments of colonization.  Israel’s overall colonial enterprise selects strategic ways to 1) commandeer natural east-west and north-south transportation roots, 2) seize the hilltops from which to oversee and intimidate the local Palestinian populations, 3) appropriate wells, springs and prime agricultural land, 4) divert aquifer water, and 5) control, disrupt and destroy the flow of Palestinian goods services and people throughout the territory.  Ultimately, the settlement blocs are a key culprit in the destruction of the territorial contiguity of Palestinian infrastructure.



How are Industrial Zones significant to Colonists?

The many amoeba-like settlement blocs enable colonists to live and work deep within occupied Palestinian territory.  The industrial zones lend credibility and permanence to the wholly illegal nature of Israel’s colonial regime, perpetuating a cycle of continued colonization.  While colonists live and work illegally in the occupied territories, they are nonetheless insulated from Palestinians by massive land-hungry swaths of supporting infrastructures: e.g.  colony walls, Israeli-only highways, the Israeli Apartheid wall, “military zones,” and similar obstacles. 


How big is the problem of Industrial Zones?

It is estimated that at their height, there have been up to illegal 200 industrial factories located within the West Bank. These factories are either located in the industrial zones or inside the colonies themselves. Information about colonial industrial activity in the West Bank is difficult to obtain. While some of their products can be identified, detailed information on industrial output, labour required, and waste generated is not readily available. The major industries within these industrial zones include: aluminium, leather tanning, textile dyeing, batteries, fibreglass, plastics, and other chemical industries. The first table below lists the important industrial zones, while the second catalogues the industries involved.

Industrial Zones in Colonies in the West Bank

Industrial Zone


Area (hectares)










Ma’ale Efrayim






Mishor Adummim



Qiryat Arba’







Illegal Colonist Industries in the West Bank


Industrial Location






Aluminum, fiberglass, plastic, electroplating

Allon Morieh

Aluminum, food canning and textile dyeing


Aluminum and leather tanning







Fiberglass and leather tanning

Givout hadasha





Fiberglass and plastic


Aluminum, cement, plastic, food canning and others


Qiryat Arba’

Winery, building blocks, tiles and plastic


Mishor Adummim

Plastic, cement, leather tanning, detergents, textile dyeing, aluminum, electroplating and several others



Batteries, aluminum, detergents


Near 1967 border, inside the West Bank

Pesticide, fiberglass and Dixon gas


Is there any further impact on Palestinian Life and Society?

Israel has moved many of its polluting industries from places inside Israel to areas near the 1967 border or inside colonies. For example, a pesticide factory in Kfar Saba which produces dangerous pollutants was moved to an area near Tulkarm, inside the West Bank. The wastewater from this factory has damaged the local citrus trees and polluted the soil in the area, in addition to the likely problem of tainted groundwater

As a further example, the Dixon gas industrial factory which was located in Netanya was moved into the same area near Tulkarm.  Solid waste from this industry is burned freely, with no environmental controls.  The burn of this waste results in the emission of dangerous black smoke and toxic gases.  In February 1997, the Palestinian Ministry of Health tested the solid waste located in the western section of Tulkarm city and reported that fibreglass and polyesters were present.

The western winds move these fumes into residential and public areas in Tulkarm city and the neighbouring villages, causing respiratory problems, and other health risks.  It was reported that the Israeli government had moved a military camp from this area because Israeli soldiers had been adversely affected by the industrial fumes.  

Since then, 200 dunums of land have been prepared in the Mishor Adummim industrial zone for the purpose of relocating aluminum and copper factories from the area of Giva'at Shaul in West Jerusalem. In addition, it has also been announced that an iron melting factory was built near Al-NabiEliasVillage on the main road from Qalqilya to Nablus.