ARTE documentary on life in Israel's illegal settlements

Who does the Holy Land belong to?

Two German Jews dreaming of living in the Holy Land chose to settle near Bethlehem. Under international law, Israeli settlement activities on Palestinian soil are, however, illegal. What attracted these two Germans, and how do they imagine themselves living with the Palestinians?

What causes Europeans to trade a relatively comfortable life for a much more uncertain and dangerous existence in the Occupied Territories?

Hailing from Cologne and Bonn, Chaya Tal and Nethaniel von Boxberg did not hesitate: they settled in the Gush Etzion settlement bloc near Bethlehem in the West Bank. Both are convinced that Judea and Samaria, as they call this region, belong to the people of Israel, and therefore to the Jews.

Under international law, however, the occupation by the Hebrew state is illegal.

But the Tel Aviv government does not see it that way. Among the approximately 450,000 settlers in the West Bank, Chaya and Nethaniel are not the only Europeans. In Gush Etzion, Belgians, French, Swiss and other Dutch have found a new home. Often they carry a surprising contradiction.

While they do occupy land belonging to Palestinians, this does not prevent them from working for peaceful coexistence ... yet how does this translate into everyday life?

Chaya is well aware of being an obstacle to peace, but she nevertheless recalls that she is one of the few in Israel who interacts with Palestinians every day. She is fluent in Arabic and has friends in the surrounding villages, which are strictly off limits to Israeli citizens. What makes her brave these prohibitions?

And why do Palestinians befriend settlers, even planning for the future with them? With ARTE Regards, plunge into a world steeped in contradictions.


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