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Israeli settlements, explained in 8 minutes

by Johnny Harris on September 19, 2016
Settlers are Israeli Jews who live in the disputed lands of the West Bank. In this video, we look at how they got there and what their presence means for the Israel-Palestine conflict:

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is often more a war of narratives than of weapons (though there are plenty of weapons). Both sides claim the West Bank as legitimately belonging to them. And both sides list a wide spectrum of reasons for their claims, including international law, biblical history, and family heritage.

The settler narrative is one of return, not conquest. The settlers believe they are returning to the ancient lands of Judea and Samaria where many of the events in the Jewish Bible took place.

But in addition to the biblical overtones to their mission, the settlers also have a political mission: to possess the West Bank and prevent a Palestinian state there. As the settler population swells, any scenario of a Palestinian state that encompasses the entire West Bank dwindles. It’s simply not plausible to remove more than 400,000 residents from their established communities.

Early settlers referred to their mission as “creating facts on the ground,” meaning creating a real-life Jewish presence in the West Bank such that any negotiations would have to take them into account.

“Creating facts” was originally the work of zealous activists who moved onto hilltop outposts, unsanctioned by even


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