Settlements, The Times of Israel

Settlers are Not Leaving

(Photo: Creative Commons: Alan Whelan / Trócaire)

An article in Reuters attempted to make the claim that the “settlement” movement in Israel is dying out as Israelis living over the Green Line get fed up with being obstacles to peace.

While it starts by telling the tale of a woman who “couldn’t take” living in a settlement any longer, the fact is that the population living in the disputed territories continues to increase. While the rate of increase has slowed, it is still well above the national average.

Given that more and more Israelis are moving across the green line, shouldn’t the thrust of the article be about what attracts them to live there?

The woman who “couldn’t take it” cites the lack of a supermarket and a medical clinic as the primary reason to leave, as if most settlements are isolated hilltops, cut off from the amenities of daily life.

But the facts contradict her story. The vast majority of settlers live in communities close to shops, schools, and businesses, let alone supermarkets and medical clinics.

By introducing the article with the story of this woman, Reuters is implying that her situation is representative of “settlers” and explains why so many are leaving,

But again, the facts show population growth, not a reduction. Yet along comes the article to say:

Reback’s (the woman leaving the settlement) perspective is not uncommon — settlers are getting fed up.

One should not make such a statement without statistics to back it up. A falling rate of increase is hardly a picture of massive disillusionment with “settler” life.

With no real stats to back its claim, the article uses an “expert” to try and grant legitimacy to its premise.

The settlement enterprise is waning and what is left is being artificially kept alive by the government pouring money in,” said Shaul Arieli, an analyst at the Economic Cooperation Foundation, a think-tank that advocates for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Again, how can an area experiencing greater population growth than the national average be called “artificially kept alive?”

Of course, one can always find non-representative stories and biased sources to push a claim. But doing so misrepresents the very news that companies like Reuters are tasked with reporting.

While they are entitled to their editorial opinion on settlements, they are not entitled to mislead the public about what is really happening within these towns and cities.

This article was originally published in The Times of Israel.

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