The defenders of Kibbutz Etzion were massacred by invading Arab armies even though they raised a white flag. Only four people survived.
The Jewish people had bought and settled land throughout Eretz Israel before the 1948 War for Independence. When the hostilities ended, the Arab armies ethnically cleansed any area inside the armistice lines that they occupied of all Jews, including the occupied Old City of Jerusalem, which had had a majority Jewish population before the 1948 War.
After the 1967 Six-Day War, the first settlements rebuilt were in the Gush Etzion bloc.
On another note, the Knesset has just passed a law that any agreement for land swops with the Palestinians has to be put to a national referendum or requires a supermajority of the Knesset. HERE
It seems that Israel has finally had enough of the Obama administration and the EU telling it what it needs to sacrifice for peace while placating those that want to continue the ethnic cleansing of Gush Etzion.