Lewsen, Emily. “Reeled In: The Settlement Project and the Evacuation of an Israeli Fishing Village from Gaza.” Settler Colonial Studies 5.1 (2015): 66-83.
Footage of emotional Israeli settlers leaving their homes as part of Ariel Sharon’s disengagement plan evoked a mixed reaction from critics, underlying a lack of consensus on the relationship between individual settlers, the settlement project and the government. In this essay, I explore the political dynamics between the Israeli state, settlers in the occupied territories and the Palestinians on a micro-level by analyzing Dugit – a small and overlooked former settlement from the Gaza Strip. The study of this marginal settlement shifts focus away from settlements that have more political clout and a larger public profile and troubles the idea of the settlement project as a monolithic enterprise. Furthermore, by virtue of its marginal status and its location at the very northern tip of the Gaza Strip just near the Green Line, Dugit existed at the intersection of many interfacing groups, ideas, institutions and geo-political entities within Israeli society. These include Israelis and Palestinians; Israeli settler society and Israeli liberal society; religious and non-ideological settlements; settlers and the Israeli government; Mizrahi Jews and Palestinians; as well as the concept of Israel proper and the occupied Palestinian territories. Based on interviews conducted with former members of Dugit, this study analyzes informants’ understanding of the politics of living in the occupied territories, their relations with their former Palestinian neighbors as well as their interpretation of their position in Israeli society post-eviction. Israeli–Palestinian encounters in Dugit were represented as amicable but these relations were nevertheless over-determined by the larger political structures, which the Dugit settlers did not challenge. This essay argues that a nuanced understanding of the dynamics of the Dugit settlement needs to take into account the settlers’ position as partial agents of their own political actions but also as victims of government policies.