Monday, March 27, 2017

Settler Movement Failing?

Fascinating piece showing that the attention the settler movement in Israel gets is vastly disproportionate to its actual success on the ground. For example, in 1981, the Likud "projected that by 2010, 1.3 million Jews would live alongside 1.8 million Arabs in the West Bank. In fact, among the close to three million West Bank Palestinians, just 405,158 Jewish settlers resided in 126 settlements in mid-2016, comprising 13.8 percent of the region's population. . . Not even the serious housing crisis within Israel serves to push more Jews into the heavily subsidized settlements." 

Gershon Shafir, author of "A Half Century of Occupation: Israel, Palestine, and the World's Most Intractable Conflict" (2017) goes on to say:

Neither have the settlers sunk economic roots in the West Bank. Most settlers commute to Israel for their employment. Many are employed by inflated educational, security and service jobs. The few hundred who engage in agriculture generally employ Palestinians to do the actual work.

But what the settler movement fails to achieve in demographics it compensates for in politics, with the Knesset passing bill after bill that makes it harder to argue about much less challenge the Occupation. Shafir writes  "The turn to blunt tools of politics is an indirect admission that the 50 years of colonization have stalled. "

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