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Film Reviews The Settlers: A potent documentary on Jewish settlements in the West Bank

The Settlers is Shimon Dotan’s documentary on Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank.

3 out of 4 stars

Title
The Settlers
Written by
Shimon Dotan
Directed by
Shimon Dotan
Genre
Documentary
Language
English
Year
2017

Recently, the U.S. President addressed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict blithely, saying, "I'm looking at two-state and at one-state, and I like the one that both parties like." Alrighty then. Call up the Nobel Peace Prize people: We have a winner.

Of course, geopolitical grievances aren't so easily solved, as we learn from The Settlers, Shimon Dotan's potent documentary on Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank. Using archival footage, amorphous maps and interviews with settlers, talking heads and the occasional Palestinian, the Israeli-raised Dotan adroitly lays out a post-1967 history and surveys the settlers' varied rationales.

Some of them see the occupation as a fulfilling of biblical prophecy; others see the contested land as cheap real estate. One Israeli settler is overproud of his racism and an extremist talks matter-of-factly about the bombing of Palestinians. Israeli politicians are cagey, but it's probably true the issue is "a bone swallowed in the government's throat."

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After 107 well-packed minutes, Dotan's film (which curiously fails to mention current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu) arrives at a pessimistic outlook. A settlement on the settlements is nowhere in sight.

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