The Settlements in the West Bank (1967-2014): New Perspectives – Minerva Humanities Center, Tel Aviv University June 29-30, 2014

A research workshop
Jewish settlements are one of the most controversial issues in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Still, academic production and media attention on the topic focuses almost entirely on the radical, national-religious components of the settlers’ population; on the connection between the settlement enterprise and the religious-ethno-national territorial imperative of the “conquest of the land”; on the status of settlements within the framework of international law; on the role of the settlements as “obstacles to peace”; and as an issue of political campaigning (both inside and outside Israel).
The rationale for organizing this research workshop is to explore less conventional approaches and angles that go beyond the immediate politico-diplomatic dynamics and impact of Israel’s settlement policy. The underlying assumption is that the settlements’ enterprise is not an exceptional phenomenon contradictory to other trends in Israeli society, but is a historical process that was shaped by and related to other long-term processes.
We feel that a more comprehensive approach is needed in order to understand how the transformation of the landscape determined by the expansion of settlements created new – albeit not necessarily fair – patterns of relations amongst the resident population of Israel/Palestine. At the same time, a more holistic approach to the settlement issue can open up spaces for comparative analysis and theory building beyond the specific reality of Israel/Palestine.