Monday, August 17, 2009


Having heard about the Israeli settlements on the West Bank, some of us St. John's pilgrims imagined improvised communities of prefab houses or even trailers. They're actually highly engineered, self-contained, well-fortified towns and villages. The third largest, with a population of over 30,000, is shown here, behind Pilgrim Monica. Some demographic insights from the current "Newsweek":
The number of Jewish settlers in the Palestinian territories has more than doubled since 1993, but the numbers are misleading. The fastest-growing cohort—nearly one third—are the ultra-Orthodox, who tend to be far less hawkish than the ultranationalists removed from Gaza in 2005. Another third are "economic settlers," who moved to the West Bank for the cheap rents and short commutes to Jerusalem. Many could probably be persuaded to leave with the right financial incentives. And for all the talk of "natural growth," only 9,602 babies were born to settlers in 2007, while 17,007 newcomers moved in, according to Peace Now. Raising barriers to further immigration could have a big impact.

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