Settlers in Contested Lands
Territorial Disputes and Ethnic Conflicts
Edited by Oded Haklai and Neophytos Loizides


Contents and Abstracts
1 Settlers and Conflict over Contested Territories
chapter abstract

This chapter introduces an innovative theoretical framework for investigating settlers in contested territories. Defining settlements as political action involving the organized movement of a population belonging to one national group into a territory to create a permanent presence and influence patterns of sovereignty, the theory explores diverse trajectories relating to how demographic engineering is used in state-building and state-expansion endeavors. A number of observations are made about the relationship between the principle of "right-peopling," sovereignty, and territorial boundaries. The diverse contours of conflict that emerge with pre-existing populations who make claims on the settled territory are then explored, with particular attention paid to the accentuated ethnonational dimension, the time factor, international constraints, and the variable agency of the settlers as a consequential factor for conflict resolution.

2 The Decisive Path of State Indecisiveness: Israeli Settlers in the West Bank in Comparative Perspective
chapter abstract

In contrast to common perceptions that view this case as sui generis, Israeli settlements exhibit important familiar patterns observed in other cases. First, settlement activity is a means to influence territorial boundaries through demography. Additionally, bureaucratic institutions accompany population movements. Furthermore, settler identity is consequential, thus highlighting the relationship between "right-peopling" a territory and sovereignty. But the Israeli experience also has distinctive characteristics. Israeli governments have not adopted a consistent policy regarding settlements. This lack of coherence stems partly from the dynamic interplay of variable international and regional conditions, the attributes of Israeli domestic politics, and contested notions about the relationship between territorial and socio-national boundaries. Furthermore, Israeli settlers have proven to be a consequential agent that influences practices beyond what is observed in most other cases. Ultimately, political outcomes have been influenced by the dynamic and mutually constitutive interaction between state (and central government) and settlers.

3 Moroccan Settlers in Western Sahara: Colonists or Fifth Column?
chapter abstract

Since occupying the former Spanish Sahara in 1976, Morocco has pursued active and passive settlement policies resulting in significant changes in the territory's population, both quantitatively and qualitatively. Though the territory now boasts a large Moroccan population (perhaps outnumbering the indigenous Sahrawis by as much as three-to-one), very little is known about the demographic composition of these settlers and their relationship to the broader political question of Western Saharan independence. Not only are there strong reasons to question many of the assumptions about the politics of settlers and of natives in Western Sahara but there are also unique dynamics at play in this conflict that hold insights for understanding the politics of settlement in contested territories more broadly.

4 Settlement, Sovereignty, and Social Engineering. Fascist Settlement Policy between Nation and Empire
chapter abstract

Was Mussolini's settlement program in Libya in the 1930s merely a further installment of European settler colonialism? The chapter explores the program in light of broader demographic policies implemented by the Fascist regime, not only on the North African shore but also in the newly annexed territories in northern Italy. Rooting Italian families in contested soil, the Fascist state became the primary motor: initiating, organizing, and financing the settlements with the stated aim of nationalizing contested lands. While resembling strategies of colonial settlement, these programs aimed at consolidating and expanding the Italian nation, thus marking a transition to the use of population settlement as a tool of nation- rather than empire-building.

5 The Indonesian Settlement Project in East Timor
chapter abstract

On December 7, 1975, Indonesia invaded East Timor, and controlled the region for the next twenty-four years. Alongside military control, Jakarta transferred into the territory tens of thousands of Indonesian nationals. This chapter analyzes the Indonesian population transfer into East Timor. Placing the settlement project in the broader context of the Indonesian claim to East Timor, it explores the fundamental aspects of the population transfer. It also explains why the Indonesian settlement project was initiated and pursed, including an investigation of the manner in which Indonesia used the settlers as part of its effort to subdue local resistance and deflect international opposition to its rule in the area.

6 Settlers and State-Building: The Kirkuk Case
chapter abstract

This chapter examines the migrations of Arab settlers to Iraqi Kurdistan after 1963 and their impact on negotiating the disputed territory of Kirkuk. It argues that demographic shifts and the actual numbers of Arab settlers have played a key role in framing Kurdish claims to Kirkuk, particularly as they have affected population percentages and distribution of resources. However, while the presence of settler communities may have played a key role in the early phase of the Kurdish authorities making claims to Kirkuk, their influence has weakened over time as the Kirkuk issue has taken on a life of its own. Changes in the nature of the Kirkuk problem and the framing processes linked to it will provide the basis for conflict resolution strategies.These will include issues of power sharing between Kurds and Arabs, as well as with other minority groups, governance issues, and revenue sharing.

7 Settlers, Immigrants, Colonists: The Three Layers of Settler-Induced Conflict in Sri Lanka
chapter abstract

This chapter analyzes the role of settlers and settler-related rhetoric in ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka, illustrating the different layers and shades that such conflicts can involve. It distinguishes between a discursive element (rhetoric and accusations of "settlers" and "settlement"), a temporal element (the historical time frame in which population movements took place) and a structural/situational element (whether this movement was driven by market forces or whether it was state-sponsored, as well as the material condition of the people introduced to the land). Sinhalese agitation against the Indian Tamil plantation workers and the policy of expelling them to India (which was halted in the 1980s) is compared with Sri Lankan Tamil agitation against Sinhalese irrigation and settlement projects in the so-called dry zone which significantly contributed to inter-communal violence before and during the civil war.

8 Settlers, Mobilization, and Displacement in Cyprus: Antinomies of Ethnic Conflict and Immigration Politics
chapter abstract

The post-1974 Turkish colonization of Cyprus is seen as a violation of Article 49 of the Geneva Convention of 1949 and an obstacle to the future reunification of the island. Yet settlers in Cyprus are not monolithically attached to expansionist nationalism and often share comparable concerns about and vulnerabilities to migrant populations. This chapter examines the causes of non-politicization among the Turkish settlers and sets the Cypriot experience apart from the current literature on colonization and displacement in contested territories. It also presents a set of novel institutional arrangements aiming to balance humanitarian and justice considerations focusing on the territorial and human rights aspects of peace settlements.

9 Conclusion: The Political Dynamics of Settlement Projects: The Central State–Settler-Native Triangle
chapter abstract

The studies in this volume explore the complex legacies of state-sponsored settlement of outlying and not-fully-absorbed territories. The starting point was the expectation flowing from Lustick's work that effective settler mobilization combined with clumsy state policies and antagonistic reactions by natives would produce long-term problems of oppression by the settlers, violent reaction by the natives, and destabilization of the central state. On the whole, the authors show that the Israeli-Palestinian case, however similar in detailed dynamics to the British-Irish and French-Algerian relationships, is in important ways misleading as a framework for anticipating the impact of settlement elsewhere. Although the settler-native-central state triangle does appear in each episode, the emphasis in each case is mainly on one side.