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Keywords:

  • [West Bank settlements;
  • immigration;
  • neoliberalism;
  • normalization;
  • pragmatism]

This article draws on fieldwork in the West Bank settlement of Ariel, where nearly half of the residents are immigrants from the Former Soviet Union, and argues that the immigrants-turned-settlers of the 1990s and beyond are the subjects of contemporary normalizing procedures. This renders them the quintessential neoliberal settlers, amenable to market-adjusted fluctuations in settlement patterns that include opportune expansion, depreciation, and dismantlement. A discussion of immigration in Ariel illustrates an ex post facto politics in the West Bank that puts into relief some of the conundrums of the Israel-Palestine conflict. The ethnography establishes that it is precisely through their pragmatism that immigrant-settlers become political agents despite themselves: a conclusion that has serious consequences for the Israel-Palestine conflict in general.