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What the Settlements Have Achieved

- Abstract

Of all the criticisms that have been leveled at Israel over the Palestinian question, the harshest may be those made of Jewish settlement in the occupied territories, particularly the West Bank. The settlers, it has been said, have robbed the Palestinians of their land; have dealt with them brutally; have thus been responsible for Palestinian terrorism, which the apartheid system of roads and checkpoints that protects them has only made worse; and have twisted the arms of Israel’s governments to expand the settlement project and refuse to part with conquered land in return for the peace agreement that would then be attainable. They are the root of all evil in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which could otherwise have been settled long ago.

Idith Zertal and Akiva Eldar’s book about West Bank settlement, Lords of the Land, which first appeared in Hebrew in Israel in 2005 and has now been translated into English, does nothing to challenge these notions.* On the contrary, it adopts them unreservedly. Given Zertal and Eldar’s backgrounds, this is hardly surprising.

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