Today Americans for Peace Now joined its Israeli sister organization, Shalom Achshav (Peace Now), in condemning the Israeli government’s announced plan to establish a new West Bank settlement in the Shiloh Valley (full details on the announcement are here).
APN President and CEO Debra DeLee commented:
“This new plan appears to be a direct pay-off to settlers from the illegal outpost of Amona, who brazenly violated Israeli law by stealing and building on Palestinian private land. Prime Minister Netanyahu and his government worked for years to try to “legalize” these illegal actions, but ultimately were unable to find any means to do so. They are now looking to turn this rare win for the rule of law into a new defeat for the two-state solution, by exploiting the removal of this illegal outpost as a pretext to establish a new “legal” settlement, situated in the heart of the West Bank.
“In doing so, the Netanyahu government is sending a message to settlers that it is an eager partner and collaborator in activities that are illegal under Israeli law. And it is sending settlers a message that where such activities cannot be retroactively legalized – as the Netanyahu government had done repeatedly – they will be rewarded with new settlement in other places. At the same time, the Netanyahu government is sending a message to the Palestinians and the world that its rhetorical commitment to peace and a two-state solution is at best a cynical political cover for an agenda that seeks to expand and consolidate permanent Israeli control over the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and which is being implemented every day.
“Establishment of this new settlement violates longstanding Israeli commitments and contradicts any meaningful commitment to peace and a two-state outcome. This decision by the government to reward settler law-breaking imposes a high political price on Israel’s law-abiding citizens, who want and deserve peace and security but are seeing their interests, over and over, sacrificed at the altar of the settlements and the Greater Israel agenda.
“We condemn the Netanyahu Government’s plan to establish a new settlement in the Shiloh Valley. We urge the Obama Administration to reject this plan and to make clear to the Netanyahu Government that there will be consequences if it proceeds with this and other plans that undermine the viability of the two-state outcome.”