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The Truth About Jewish ‘Settlers’

Since posting this yesterday, I have received many comments, which have prompted me to post the following about ‘Settlers’ and ‘Settlements’.

Note: I am using the terms “settler” and “settlement”, although I do not agree with them, since these are the common terms.

What are ‘Settlers’?

It depends who you ask. To most Israelis and the world, “settlers” are those individuals living in the territories occupied by Israel after the 1967 Six Day War. A few additional things to note about this war, and these territories:

  • The war was instigated by the neighboring Arab states, who by their actions and words, made it clear that they were about to attack Israel. Israel struck first, in pre-emptive self-defence, but it was the Arabs who declared war on Israel. So all territory captured by Israel was won in a war forced upon her.
  • UN Resolution 242, often cited by Israel’s critics as requiring a total Israeli withdrawal from all the territories she captured, does not make Israeli withdrawal a prerequisite for Arab action, nor specify much territory Israel is required to give up.
  • Israel was willing to return land for peace, but was met with the Three Nos: No peace with Israel, No negotiations with Israel and No recognition of Israel.
  • In addition to these territories constituting legitimately captured lands from a war, Jews have historically lived there.

To the palestinian terrorist organizations, PA, many Arabs, and so-called “human rights” organizations (like the ISM), all of modern day Israel is a settlement, with all Jewish Israeli citizens being “settlers.” Their aim is to destroy Israel.

Are Settlements the Obstacle to Peace?

The so-called “settlements” are constantly referred to as an obstacle to peace, whether it be by the PA, terrorists, or world leaders. I believe this issue is a red herring.

I have visited many settlements, and even lived in one for a year. They are not built over razed palestinian villages. They are built on previously unoccupied land, without encroaching on Arab land. The way I see it, there is plenty of room for both Jewish villages, as well as palestinian ones, whether or not a palestinian state comes into existence – just like the Jewish State of Israel contains Arab villages.

Not only do the settlements not adversely affect palestinians (except the rare case of “settlers” who cause trouble; but this can be easily stopped), but many palestinians have actually received their livelihood from them – whether it be by constructing the buildings, or working in the local store. This has changed somewhat since the current war waged against Israel by the palestinians. For more on this, see this previous post of mine.

Despite this reality, the palestinians know that the settlement issue is a sensitive one. Therefore, they play on it, knowing they can drum up international support. Hey look everyone, our brethren are in refugee camps because settlers have taken our land, and there is nowhere for us to go. This is more of an emotive issue than substantive. The real question is why are there still refugee camps?

Are Settlers Dangerous “Extremists/Terrorists” Who Make Life Miserable for the Palestinians?

Most of the people living in the settlements whom I have met are observant Jews, and extremely Zionistic. They believe passionately that G-d gave the Jewish people the land on which they are living. Hence, they are not too happy about leaving it.

Because of their passion, some of them unquestionably take things too far. There have, of course, been isolated incidents of terror against palestinians, and the Settlement movement has made some bad decisions (such as the recent decision to wear the Yello Star). But settlers, on the whole, are normal people who want to live in peace. Unlike the palestinian terrorists, there is no orchestrated campaign of terror emanating from the settlers and aimed at palestinian civilians. The few who do engage in insidiuous activites are caught and charged (Unlike the palestinian terrorists, who are either caught and released, or publicly supported by the PA).

It is true that many settlers carry guns. But unlike the palestinian terrorists, who carry guns for deeds like this, the vast majority of settlers carry their guns for self-defence (like this fine man, for example). And I not only understand why settlers carry guns; I am thankful that they do.

I know that Americans have the right to bear arms, and no-one would suggest that Americans who own guns are terrorists. Yet people suggest that settlers are crazy extremist terrorists, since they carry guns.

Where Can I Find Out More About Settlers?

If you want to know about the thoughts and feelings of settlers, here are two great blog posts for you to read:

Not in my name! by David Bogner

I am a Settler by Ashley Perry

About the author

Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
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