Parts one and two of this series on Israeli settlers cover the West Bank. This final installment focuses on the settlers of Jerusalem who are the ideological epicenter of the conflict. Watch the video, which explores life in the middle of this conflict:
Unlike the settlers of the West Bank, who often move there for quality-of-life reasons, those living in East Jerusalem settle almost entirely for ideological reasons. Their mission is to claim land in the city that holds deep historical significance to them as religious Jews.
But often the sites in the city that have the most historical appeal (like Silwan and the City of David) are in Palestinian neighborhoods, where Israelis don't typically go. In order to pursue their mission, the settlers purchase homes from Palestinians, often with several intermediaries and with large sums of international donation money. Palestinians often protest the home purchases, saying that it's part of an ideological gentrification effort.
Israel unilaterally annexed East Jerusalem, where this activity takes place, in 1967 and since then has worked to establish a Jewish presence in the East in order to prevent any future division.
But the international community, including the US, does not accept East Jerusalem as part of Israel. The State Department recently called the settlement activities in East Jerusalem "corrosive to the cause of peace."
Yet despite international condemnation, the settlement enterprise marches on in both East Jerusalem and the West Bank. While peace talks are frozen indefinitely, Israel continues to support the growth of the settlements, and the possibility of a viable peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians grows fainter.