Ted at Israpundit wrote about whether the time has passed to call good sized Jewish towns “settlements”. Why settlements in the first place?
The answer comes straight from the Torah and Gemora…the mitzvah (positive commandment) of “Yishuv Ha’Aretz” – the commandment of Settling the Land. So, as you can deduce, this is simply a religious language issue. As the Jews set up towns, they called them ‘yishuvim’, the plural of settle in hebrew, which is…a settlement.
The mistake is doing a literal translation without taking into account the political impact. In Israel there are Jewish cities, suburbs, towns, and villages. Some of them are specialized, such as the kibbutz (the collective) and the moshav (the cooperative), some are ancient (Safed, Jerusalem), some are less so (Tel Aviv, Netanya, Petach Tikvah), and the group in the Shomron and Yehuda (West Bank) are only 20 years old or so, including cities such as Ariel, Maaleh Adumim, towns such as Bet El, Eli, Kedumim, and villages such as Elon Moreh, Itamar, and Shiloh.
Just describe them as such and help change a mistaken impression.