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The Welfare State Across the Green Line: Measuring the Effects of Israeli Economic Policy on the West Bank Settlement Enterprise Open Access

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is oft heralded as one of the greatest geopolitical conflicts of our time, yet the discourse surrounding this issue tends to gravitate toward political considerations, and less toward the socioeconomic forces at play. In addition, intra-national tensions are often overlooked for the more eye-catching international disputes and developments. One of these intra-national tensions is the Israeli settlement enterprise, which is often painted in the lens of religious and ideological extremism. In reality, the overwhelming majority of Jews emigrating to West Bank settlements have chosen to do so in search of a lower cost of living and higher standard of living, a seemingly impossible combination that has been made feasible by a high degree of government economic intervention in the occupied territories. The juxtaposition of government economic intervention in the settlements with Israel’s neoliberal and market-oriented economy only complicates the issue further. Through a mixed quantitative and qualitative analysis, this research seeks to contribute a socioeconomic perspective to existing theories on the settlement enterprise and the conflict writ large. Specifically, this research tests the theory of Danny Gutwein (University of Haifa) that argues that settlement growth is directly correlated with the rise of Israeli neoliberal economic policy and privatization.

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