When ideology meets economy

The Economics of Jewish Settlements

Photographs by Eddie Gerald

The increase in “quality of life” settlers is a major shift from the settler movement’s origins in the late 1960s, when after its victory in the 1967 war with Egypt, Jordan and Syria, Israel began moving its citizens into what it refers to as Judea and Samaria, the biblical names for the occupied West Bank.

 

The “quality of life” settler came into public consciousness after the 1993 Oslo agreement between Israeli and Palestinian leaders, when there was serious talk of territory swaps. It has long been assumed that large settlement blocs, either those close to Jerusalem such as Ma’ale Adumim, Beitar Ilit, Modi’in Ilit, or those too big to move, and strategic places like Ariel, would be included in any future two-state solution.

But continuous surveys have suggested that a large percentage of non-ideological settlers would be prepared to leave their homes and move inside the Green Line, for a price.

 

Palestinian officials have said they will take into account the motivations of settlers in negotiating the boundaries of a future Palestinian state. In the end, they see all settlements as encroaching on Palestinian land, whether the settlers have come for the fresh air and cheap accommodation or because of religious fervour.

Photo: Israeli farmer is seen through plastic cover of a greenhouse which grows herbs for export in Naama or Naomi Jewish settlement in the Jordan Valley West Bank

Photo: The underground barrel cellar of the Israeli Psagot Boutique Winery situated on a hillside on the heights of Binyamin council in the West Bank

Photo: A Jewish settler and representative of Psagot winery showing bottles of the Israeli Psagot Boutique Winery situated on a hillside on the heights of Binyamin council in the West Bank

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