"And I will multiply upon you man and beast; and they shall increase and bring fruit: and I will settle you after your old estates, and will do better unto you than at your beginnings: and ye shall know that I am the LORD". Ezekiel 36:11

Settlers and Settlements

In late 2010 "Settlements" had assumed a significance quite out of proportion with the facts.

Why have "Settlements" become the major issue in Peace negotiations?

2012 - E1 controversy


Before anything and everything that Jews build in Israel came to be described as a settlement, there was a more real debate.

Tel Shilo - site of the Tabernacle, outside the

Tel Shilo - site of the Tabernacle, outside the "Settlement" of Shiloh.


Few issues divide opinion in Israel as much as the position of Settlers.

Indeed, the spectacle of Jewish settlers fighting with IDF soldiers pleased the Palestinians in Hebron.

Settlers are regarded by many city dwellers and secular Israelis in a very bad light, as troublesome threats to Israel’s chances of peace with the Arabs. They are certainly represented as such in the international media. The word “settler” has taken on the meaning of aggressive colonizers of territory not rightly theirs.

The Wikipedia definition of settler,
A settler is a person who has migrated to an area and established permanent residence there, often to colonize the area. Settlers are generally people who take up residence on land and cultivate it, as opposed to nomads. Settlers are sometimes termed " colonists" or "colonials"
But Israel is what it is today because of the settlers who returned to the land at the end of the nineteenth century and after the Holocaust and worked to bring the land back to life. The settlers chose to be so named in recognition of their prophetic calling.

Why have Israelis become settlers? Because God Called His People to "Settle the Land".

Ezekiel 36:11

And I will multiply upon you man and beast; and they shall increase and bring fruit: and I will settle you after your old estates, and will do better unto you than at your beginnings: and ye shall know that I am the LORD.

The Strong’s dictionary definition of the Hebrew word translated as settle in the above text, Settle - H3427 - yashab
A primitive root; properly to sit down (specifically as judge, in ambush, in quiet); by implication to dwell, to remain; causatively to settle, to marry: - (make to) abide (-ing), continue, (cause to, make to) dwell (-ing), ease self, endure, establish, X fail, habitation, haunt, (make to) inhabit (-ant), make to keep [house], lurking, X marry (-ing), (bring again to) place, remain, return, seat, set (-tle), (down-) sit (-down, still, -ting down, -ting [place] -uate), take, tarry.

The prophets foretold the ingathering of the exiles and the rebuilding of the Land in the latter days.  (Amos 9).  In 1948, Israel was reborn as a sovereign nation and in 1967 Judea and Samaria were reunited with the rest of the nation in the Six Day War.

The Biblical region of Judea and Samaria was given to Abraham , Isaac, Jacob and their descendants, forever, 4000 years ago. Because of sin, disobedience and lack of belief, most Jews were driven from the land around 70 AD. However, there were always some Jews living in the Land and Jews around the world have prayed to God three times a day, each day, to return His people to Zion.

In recent months these settlers have clashed frequently with both the security forces and the Palestinians, infuriating the Israeli government. In one incident rampaged through a Palestinian village after a nine year old Israeli boy was stabbed near his home by an intruder. In a sign of bad blood, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert blamed the settlers and defended the Palestinians. ‘There will be no pogroms against non-Jewish residents in the State of Israel’ “wrote Shlomo Mordechai in Israel Today magazine.

Mordechai also drew attention to the background – “peace talks in which Olmert has offered at least 93 percent of Judea and Samaria and parts of Jerusalem for a future Palestinian state. That would mean not only the evacuation of the illegal outposts but also dozens of actual settlements.”

Olmert has declared, "In an unstoppable process, tens of thousands of people will move from Judea and Samaria to the Negev."

This argument points up the ways in which the dispute is a matter of politics – and not of right and wrong. The terminology becomes vital.

What is a “Settlement”; what is an illegal outpost; what is a new town?

Some have expanded the term "Settlement" to include Jewish Towns around Jerusalem and elsewhere. This is seriously misleading and malicious, as in the case of Har Homa and Gilo. The policy of the Obama administration appears to be using "Settlements" in this manner. The definition of a "Settlement" appears to be more political than legal !

One flashpoint was the eviction of the  Peace house in Hebron. The property was bought for the full price around two years ago but the High Court ruled that no Jew could live there.  One wonders about the impartiality of this judgment; was it politically influenced? Part of the dispute is that the Jews bought the property legally but the Arab who sold it to them denied that he had sold it. But this denial should be viewed in the light of the fact that selling properties to Jews is a capital offence under the Palestinian Authority government.

Legal expert Alan Baker discusses the so called "Occupation" of the land




2012 - the row over E1 settlement

The E-1 area and the link between Jerusalem and Maale Adumim

Protecting the contiguity of Israel:

This is from Dore Gold's office. He was Israel's former U.N. ambassador. This shows the importance of Israel's continued control of the E-1 area. Once again, the U.S., the U.N., the EU and most of the world's media are mistaken.

The E-1 area is a part of the Israeli city of Maale Adumim, located immediately adjacent to Jerusalem. There is an E-1 construction plan that was devised in order to link Maale Adumim and its 36,000 residents to Jerusalem. Every Israeli prime minister since Yitzhak Rabin has supported the plan. The E-1 site covers an area of largely uninhabited, state-owned land.

Without control of the E-1 area, Israel is apprehensive about a Palestinian belt of construction that will threaten Jerusalem from the east, block the city's development eastward, and undermine Israel's control of the Jerusalem-Jericho road.

This major artery is of paramount strategic importance for Israel in order to transport troops and equipment eastward and northward via the Jordan Rift Valley in time of war.

Contrary to reports, the completion of E-1 would not cut the West Bank in half and undermine Palestinian contiguity.
Israel has planned a new road that would allow Palestinian traffic coming from the south to pass eastward of Maale Adumim and continue northward to connect with the cities in the northern West Bank. 

This Palestinian bypass road would actually reduce the time for Palestinian drivers travelling in a north-south direction who would encounter no Israeli roadblocks

The main threat to Israel's future contiguity comes from encroachments on E-1 made by illegal Palestinian construction. Israeli and Palestinian construction in the West Bank has been governed by the legal terms of the Oslo II Interim Agreement from Sept. 28, 1995. The area around E-1 is within Area C, where, according to Oslo II, Israel retained the powers of zoning and planning.
As a result, much of the recently completed Palestinian construction there is illegal. Although the Oslo Agreements intended that Israeli settlement activity would cease, The Palestinian side terminated Oslo when they went to the UN for statehood. Israel undertook unilateral limitations upon itself in this area in recent years, in pursuit of peace.

Israeli construction of E-1 will not undermine Palestinian contiguity, but were Israel to lose control of E-1, the contiguity of Israel would be severely compromised.

Violence from Settlers

Some young settlers have made it their mission to disrupt the Palestinian’s olive harvest. In one, typical apparently, incident reported in Israel Today four Israelis were videoed going in to an olive grove where Palestinians were picking olives with the help of Israeli and foreign supporters. The settlers punched and kicked two Palestinian photographers and grabbed one of their cameras. They also assaulted a British activist. One of the photographers threw stones at the Settlers.

According to one Palestinian politician, “Palestinian villagers are encountering a terrible war by the Israeli illegal settlers and the Israeli army against their trees and against their land.

International media and left wing groups (see Israel against Israel) embrace the Palestinian version of events, that the attacks by settlers are unprovoked, but this is, obviously, disputed.

The settlers maintain that disrupting the olive harvest is a legitimate response to repeated Palestinian vandalism against fields and homes as well as attacks against their person. As one settler said, “Violence begets violence, and in my point of view the violence started from the Arab side. The settlers believe that there will only be quiet and relative security if the Arabs are afraid of them.

This prompts the sympathetic outsider to wonder about the wisdom or rightness of such an attitude and course of action. How can it make sense to be caught on camera committing acts of violence against Arab neighbours, when the footage will be broadcast around the world and further weaken Israel’s position in the eyes of the world?

Are the settlers unaware of the media war in which Israel is engaged ?

Are they arrogant or do they just believe that nobody will listen to them whatever they do? It appears that the government is unwilling to defend them or take any action to curb all the lawlessness of the Arab population, because the government wants them out of Judea and Samaria as part of a peace deal. Perhaps they feel that violence is the only alternative to surrender and renouncing their faith in the Biblical faith concerning the Promised Land and the return from exile.

Possibly even more worrying is the impression being given that the Israeli police and IDF are merely spectators to acts of settler lawbreaking. But this highlights the awful dilemma faced by the IDF about enforcing what is right or enforcing the will of the current government. The government appears unwilling to tackle widespread Arab lawlessness over water theft and illegal building, so it would be impossible to expect the IDF to be rigorous against settlers; as long as the situation was kept from becoming too heated.

It would appear that the settlers have a just grievance against their Arab neighbours that might receive sympathy if only their side of the story got a fair hearing. But the world is judging Israel by a standard no other nation expects to meet – Israelis are supposed to just absorb violence, provocation and lawlessness without responding.

The leaders of Israel appear to be in retreat under pressure of world opinion to give up Judea and Samaria for the creation of a Palestinian state, so it is not surprising that they are unwilling to defend the settlers physically or in a media war

What is a Settlement?

Ask Christian Friends of Israeli Communities http://www.cfoic.com/

A settlement is a city, town or village established by Jewish pioneers in the Land of Israel.  The early Zionists established kibbutz and moshav settlements in the Galilee and the Negev.  Since 1967, settlement activity has focused on the biblical areas of Judea and Samaria.

The first communities were established in the 1970's as small military outposts that were later turned over to families who committed themselves to live and develop the land for security purposes. Others began with a nucleus of families in tents or mobile homes, laying the foundations for what later became residential communities or cities.

The larger urban communities were developed as a result of careful government planning and support. In all cases, the Government of Israel authorized and encouraged the creation of the community, lending assistance for infrastructure and development.

With the exception of some of the newest neighborhoods, all communities have built permanent housing and public buildings, including schools and synagogues. Some communities are structured as an agricultural "moshav" where the common work benefits the whole community; others, called "yishuv", are more like suburban neighbourhoods in the USA. All have day care centres to assist working parents. A community can be as small as twenty families or large enough to have a university and industrial park.

What is an illegal Settlement?

"As far as the rest of the world is concerned," the BBC's Tim Franks said, speaking from Jerusalem, "all Jewish settlements on the West Bank [sic] are illegal under international law."

This argument is based on the erroneous assumption that Israel is illegally occupying the West Bank / Judea and Samaria. See Land for the argument that this territory was never legally occupied by Jordan and that Israel’s capture in a defensive war made Israel the rightful owner. The Jordanian annexation of the West Bank in 1948 was not accepted by the International community, so Israeli recapture in 1967 meant it was Israeli land and settlement was perfectly legitimate.

The issue is more political than legal.

Israel designates some small settlements as illegal because they did not have government permission. Unfortunately they appear to be less zealous in challenging unauthorised Palestinian developments.

The Israeli government’s parameters for defining some settlements as illegal appears to have changed when it decided to give away the West Bank/Judea and Samaria for the creation of a Palestinian state in a Land for Peace deal.

However, since Palestinian Authority spokespeople refer to large towns like Ma’ale Adumim, Har Homa and even Jerusalem as “settlements” the term should always be interpreted with great care.

The settlers appear to be victims of the pressure being exerted upon Israel’s government by outside nations to bow to their demands that Israel should give Judea and Samaria to the Arabs for the creation of a Palestinian state.

What legal basis is there for the "Occupation" accusation ?


The Levy Report

The Levy Report (actual title: Report on the Legal Status of Building in Judea and Samaria) is a 89 page report on West Bank settlements published on 9 July 2012, authored by a three member committee headed by former Israeli Supreme Court justice Edmund Levy.

The committee, dubbed the “outpost committee”, was appointed by Israel's Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in late January 2012 to investigate the legal status of unauthorized West Bank Jewish settlements, but also examined whether the Israeli presence in the West Bank is to be considered an occupation or not. The report comes to the conclusion that Israel's presence in the West Bank is not occupation, and that the Israeli settlements are legal under international law, and recommends state approval for unauthorized Jewish settlement outposts.

From Wikipedia

Remember that much of the controversy is about the significance of "facts on the ground."

NGO reports illegal building by the EU in the West Bank

The Israeli NGO Regavim released a report Friday giving details of massive illegal building activity being carried out in the West Bank by the European Union. The report added that the EU has moved from "passive diplomatic and financial assistance (of the Palestinians) to a situation of active cooperation in illegal building which the Palestinian Authority has been advancing unilaterally since 2000, as part of its strategic plan to create a Palestinian state de facto, while avoiding the need for negotiations with Israel." The EU responded to the report with a statement that it is merely providing humanitarian support to the Palestinians, along with a reiteration of the EU's strong opposition to Israeli construction in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem.


Many of the above arguments could equally be applied to the Gaza strip. The only difference is that the process of “Disengagement”, as the 2005 total, forced withdrawal was called, is much further advanced. Gaza, or Azah as it appears in the Bible was just as legitimately Israeli territory, although it appears that Israel would have happily given it and its troublesome occupants over to Egypt if Egypt had been willing to take them.

The Disengagement gave the Palestinians the chance to prove that they had the will to create an independent state, but they chose the path of terrorism by electing a terrorist organisation to be their government. The result has been disaster for Gaza’s neighbours ( see Sderot) and for the people themselves who are being used as human shields in the confrontation with Israel (December 2008- January 2009)


Judea and Samaria have been known by these names for unbroken centuries, and were registered as such on official documents and maps, by international institutions and in authoritative reference books right up to about 1950. When the correct names became a problem for Palestinian Arabs trying to make their newly-minted claim on the land, it somehow became "politically correct" to use "West Bank" or "occupied territories" instead of the historically accurate names Judea and Samaria.

In United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181 adopted November 29, 1947, the world body referred to Judea and Samaria by those historical names

Although Jordan occupied Judea and Samaria for 19 years and Egypt occupied the Gaza Strip during the same period, there was never any attempt to form a Palestinian State at this time. 

Judea and Samaria, located west of the Jordan River, with Jerusalem approximately in the center, are historical parts of the Land of Israel. They are currently called the "West Bank", a name created by Jordan after the War of Independence in 1948 when Arab armies overran Judea and Samaria. Despite the fact that virtually the entire world rejected Jordan's annexation, and even after Israel drove the occupiers back across the river in the 1967 Six Day War, the phrase "West Bank" has stuck, and is used to the near total exclusion of any other.

Sondra Oster Baras ( Christian Friends of Israeli Communities) pointed out that,

Jewish sages in the Middle ages said that there are three places where Jews actually bought land recorded in the Bible. “They bought it so that the nations could never be able to contest that the Jews owned that land, because, you see, we bought it and paid for it with real money."

The contest is not about any area of land, it is about the validity of the Bible.

What are the three places?

And which three places in Israel are most hotly disputed – all lie within some people’s concept of the “West Bank” and the “Palestinian State.”

Hebron is extremely important to Jews of faith because, ...  Abraham bought a burial place for his beloved wife Sarah.  Also, The length of time David was king in Hebron over the house of Judah was seven years and six months." 2 Samuel 2:11   " before he conquered Jerusalem and was made king over all Israel. It is recorded in Jewish tradition, that the doors of the Garden of Eden are in Hebron. 

Hebron's Arabs hate the Jews and reject totally the right of any Israelis to live in the city. Massively outnumbered, Zionist Jews have risked, and some have paid with, their lives to slowly re-establish a Jewish where there used to be a Jewish community until the 1929 massacre in which 67 Jews were murdered by Arabs and the rest of the Jewish community was evacuated by the British.

Shechem 2 km east of present-day Nablus) was Canaanite city mentioned in the Amarna letters, and later became an Israelite city in the tribe of Manasseh. It was the first capital of the Kingdom of Israel.

Shechem first appears in the Tanakh in Genesis 12:6–8, which records how Abraham reached the "great tree of Moreh" at Shechem and offered sacrifice nearby. Later Joseph's bones were brought out of Egypt and reburied at Shechem.

Who are Settlers according to the Palestine Authority (Mahmoud Abbas)?

In a PA TV program about the history of Jaffa (southern Tel Aviv), pictures of a Muslim cemetery in Jaffa included the caption: "Jaffa's holy sites are in the hands of the settlers."

The Palestinian Authority uses the term "settlers" to imply illegitimacy.

Palestinian Media Watch has reported on the PA's continued denial of Israel's legitimacy.

This is yet another indication that concessions will never satisfy the PA until Israel ceases to exist; settlers and settlements are not the issue.


The Palestine Chronicle published an article attacking the South African Zionist Federation, making the following claims:

In 2005 our research unit within the Media Review Network [MRN] had verified that the SAZF has been actively promoting the emigration of South African Jews to a settlement called Modi'in in the West Bank. Despite Modi'in being built on stolen Palestinian land, it is promoted as an Israeli city!

A challenging question by Anna Weekes posed at the time we revealed details of SAZF's complicity in Modi'in's settlement activity remains as valid today: "Haven't fellow South Africans learnt from our history of apartheid and land grabs that it is neither right nor sustainable to settle on the newly confiscated land of an indigenous people?"

Sadly for the author's "research unit" and as even the most basic of sources such as Wikipedia shows, Modi'in is not located in the West Bank, is not a settlement but is a large city within the Green Line and undisputed territory of Israel.

The Palestine Chronicle's poorly researched propaganda was found by an HonestReporting staff member who lives in the Israeli city of Modi'in. Apparently, any wild claims are OK if the word "settlement" is used.


Updated 25/08/16

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