Are Jewish settlements legal?

West BankHow settlers live behind the fence

Modern houses, swimming pools in the garden, a high fence around them. Around 450,000 Israelis live in settlements in the West Bank. The prices are lower there, which attracts many young Israelis to the settlements. But there are always conflicts.

Lior Ben-Hamo leads us into her living room, chic designer furniture in pastel colors - from the balcony you can see the vastness of the West Bank. White houses with red roofs line up on many hills - the neighboring settlements.

"We moved here two years ago because we really fell in love with this place, with its atmosphere, with the environment and with nature. And also because it belongs to Israel and we believe that it is right and right for us is good to live here. "

Lior is 30 years old, originally from Afula, in northern Israel, and now lives with her husband and two children in Karnei Shomron, an Israeli settlement in the West Bank.

Palestinians are only allowed in with permission

"There is a great housing shortage in the State of Israel. It is not easy to buy a house, especially in the center of the country. A young couple does not have such sums of money. Here we have the opportunity to buy a house in a place where there is a good school system and a nice, supportive community. So if it can be done at a reasonable price, what should speak against it? "

Anyone walking through the streets of the estate quickly realizes that there is a lot of construction going on. In the last six years alone, the settlement has grown by a third. Around 10,000 Israelis now live here. And there should be more.

Karnei Shomron is just 45 minutes from Tel Aviv, there is a small shopping center, schools, kindergartens, a public swimming pool, baseball and tennis courts. All around a fence, Palestinians are only allowed in with permission. There are always conflicts. Still an attractive place, not only for religious but also for secular Israelis. They all share the conviction that it is their right to live here.

Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territories are illegal under international law. Lior is pleased that the American government now recognizes the settlements as legal. She hopes other countries will join as well.

Appeal to Biblical Roots

Also Sondra Oster Baras, a native American and one of the first settlers here, says: The US would finally support what has long been Israeli policy: "It's always a good thing and deepens our relationship with the US. I think Trump is one is a great President for Israel. And I can only hope that whoever sits in the White House continues what Trump initiated for this wonderful friendship with Israel. "

It was the pioneering spirit that drew her and her young family here in the early 1980s, says Sondra.

"As a Jew in the USA, I had the feeling that my true national and personal identity could only fully express itself in Israel. I believe that Jewish history has brought us here and I believe that Jews have to go here again. And especially in In the post-Holocaust generation, there was simply no other place for me. "

Israel - for Sondra this also includes the West Bank, or as the settlers call it - Judea and Samaria, they refer to their biblical roots here.

On the website Karnei Shomron advertises: The settlement lies on the biblical border between the peoples of Ephraim and Menashe. It's yours. - It's yours, that's reason number 1 why, according to the website, you should come to Karnei Shomron. There are currently around 650,000 Israeli settlers living in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. Sondra hopes that there will be many more soon.