Immediately upon occupying the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in June of 1967, Israel annexed some 7,000 hectares of West Bank land to the municipal boundaries of Jerusalem and in breach of international law, applied Israeli law there. Adding 6,400 more hectares to Jerusalem’s previous size under previous Jordanian occupation, involving 370,000 Palestinians and 208,000 Israeli settlers living mostly in 28 Palestinian villages, some of which lay within the municipalities of Bethlehem and Beit Jalaom.
The new municipal boundaries of Jerusalem were drawn largely in accordance with demographic concerns, chief among them to leave out densely-populated Palestinian areas in order to ensure a Jewish majority in Jerusalem. In keeping with this logic, Israel included some lands belonging to villages near Jerusalem within the city’s municipal jurisdiction, yet left the owners outside it. This occurred, for example, with Beit Iksa and al-Birah to the north, and with sparsely-populated areas within the municipal jurisdictions of Bethlehem and Beit Sahour to the south. In doing so, Israel divided Palestinian villages and neighborhoods, annexing only parts of them.