Established in 1978, after the signing of the Camp David accords between Egypt and Israel, Ariel is presently the second largest Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank. With a population of 16,600 in the year 2007, this settlement was officially classified by Israel as a city in 1998.
ANNEXATION AND EXPANSION
According to the Applied Research Institute of Jerusalem, the Ariel settlement bloc has expanded over the years by annexing Marda, Kifl Haris and Iskaka in Salfit governorate. Located 22 kilometers east of the Green Line, the bloc comprises 26 other settlements, all connected to the Trans-Samarian highway that leads to Jerusalem. According to ARIJ reports, the construction of the Wall has further aided the expansion of the Ariel bloc by including an additional 12,000 dunums of Palestinian land within the Wall confiscated from the Salfit governorate of West Bank.
According to Arielzzz*zs official website, fifty percent of its population comes from the former Soviet Union. A majority of them arrived through an Aliyah (immigration) program established by the city to absorb new waves of immigrants into its community. The latest wave of immigrants comes from North America. The city is part of a larger Aliyah and Absorption project.
Popularly referred to by Israelis as the "smart city," Ariel is known for its college, which controversially pairs with international research institutions on high-tech projects. In August, 2007, the college renamed itself a "university," pointedly preempting Israelzzz*zs accrediting bodies. Ariel also boasts a hotel, a rarity among West Bank settlements.
The eight-mile-long city settlement is also referred to as the "capital of Samaria" by some Israelis.