Sharon is viewed as the architect of Israel’s settlement program in occupied Palestinian territories. Although in 2005 he ordered the evacuation of nearly 8,000 Jewish settlers from four settlements in the Gaza Strip and West Bank, some 500,000 Jewish settlers still live in unlawful settlements and the unresolved issue remains a key obstacle to peace in the region.
HRW also said that Sharon had escaped accountability for his role in expanding the settlements. The group said that “transfer by an occupying power of its civilians into an occupied territory is a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions, and a potential war crime.”
In 2002, Sharon approved the construction of the security separation barrier along and within the West Bank. According to the Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem, 8.5 percent of West Bank territories will end up on the Israeli side of the barrier upon its completion.