IDFA - The Settlers

The colonists on the West Bank of the Jordan River see themselves as leaders of Israel, but filmmaker Shimon Dotan wonders where are they leading it.

The Six-Day War in 1967 marked the start of colonization of the occupied Palestinian territories. Or of the “liberated territories,” according to the early Israeli colonists who thought they had a God-given right to this land. Successive Israeli administrations have turned a blind eye to this for political reasons, or have not felt able to stop the colonization.

Now, almost 50 years later, the West Bank of the Jordan River is a patchwork of Israeli settlements and outposts, as well as Palestinian towns and villages – a Gordian knot that makes the peace process significantly more difficult. The colonists see themselves as leaders of Israeli society, filmmaker Shimon Dotan explains in the voice-over. “But the question is, where are they leading it? Is it to divine redemption, as they claim? Or is it to an apartheid state?” Dotan doesn’t have a ready answer. Instead, he sets out a historical overview in which leading members of the colonizing movement look back at the genesis of the colonization. These interviews are intercut with archive material, and drawings of significant events mark the twists in Dotan’s story.