Washington, DC - The Israeli government today announced its determination to once again flout Israeli law in order to protect another illegal settler outpost in the West Bank. The outpost is called "Givat Ha'Ulpana" and is located deep inside the West Bank, near Ramallah, and far to the east of Israel's "separation barrier." The Israeli government had previously promised the Israeli High Court of Justice that it would remove the illegal construction but today announced that it had changed its mind.
Today's announcement comes just two days after the Israeli government tossed the rule of law out the window to "legalize" three West Bank outposts built by settlers in violation of Israeli law - in effect establishing the first new official, "legal" settlements since 1990.
Americans for Peace Now (APN) joins Israel's Peace Now movement in strongly condemning the Israeli government's position and actions on West Bank illegal outposts.
Previous Israeli governments have repeatedly committed to the removal of this illegal construction, including as part of Israel's acceptance of the Roadmap. The Netanyahu government is blatantly reneging on these commitments and on the longstanding Israeli official commitment to not establish new settlements in the West Bank.
APN President and CEO Debra DeLee said: "In addition to undermining the two-state solution and making peace for Israelis more difficult to achieve, the Netanyahu government is damaging Israel's reputation as a democracy that respects the rule of law."
"As our colleagues in the Israeli Peace Now movement have pointed out, Netanyahu's government had publicly committed to the Israeli Supreme Court to remove these structures, which are built illegally on land taken from Palestinian owners. The government has admitted the illegality of the construction and had committed to remove the structures by May 1st. Now it is turning its back on the law, on its own commitments, and on the international community, which strongly opposes settlements and land theft."
"This Israeli government's new policy on illegal outposts has destructive repercussions both in terms of the prospects for peace and in terms of how people around the world view Israel. That includes American Jews like us who love Israel and who this week celebrated with Israel her 64th Independence Day. We want to be proud of Israel's vibrant democracy and respect for the rule of law, not ashamed of Israeli actions that send a message that the government of Israel is ready and even eager to sacrifice Israeli democracy
and rule of law for the settlers' extremist, ideological agenda."
APN is a Jewish, Zionist organization dedicated to enhancing Israel's security through peace and to supporting the Israeli Peace Now movement.
For more on the case of Givat Ha'Ulpana: http://peacenow.org.il/eng/Ulpana