As my bus from Tel Aviv approached Jerusalem, it was hard to miss the impact of the construction of Jewish settlements have had on the hills surrounding the city. Similar activity takes place in many other settlements up and down the occupied West Bank. The scattered cranes leaves one wondering if the current peace negotiations have any meaning, as more and more Palestinian land is gobbled up.
The beginning of the settlements
The current socio-economic-ideological heterogeneity of the settlements is important not only for the understanding of the society that has emerged there, but also for realizing the possible incentives which can be offered to those who would be repatriated back into Israel as part of a peace agreement.Yossi Mekelberg
What started with the sheer determination of a small group of religious zealots soon after the war became a national project into which many billions of dollars have been poured into since. This led to nearly one tenth of the Jewish-Israeli population living beyond the 1949 war’s ceasefire line. The image of Rabbi Moshe Levinger and his followers conducting service for the first night of Passover in the Park Hotel in Hebron in 1968, personified what would become the leading settlement movement at the time Gush Emunim.