Americans for Peace Now (APN) is outraged by the Israeli government’s approval of more than 3,000 new housing units in West Bank settlements, a measure that comes days after the approval of another 2,500 new settlement homes. APN is equally outraged by the Trump administration’s acquiescence as the Netanyahu government opens the settlements floodgates.
The new wave of settlement construction permits is particularly infuriating because it is apparently intended to appease the settlers and their advocates in the Knesset, after the Israeli government was forced by the courts - after years of delays and excuses - to obey the law and evict settlers from the West Bank illegal outpost of Amona. Settlers have been resisting the eviction throughout the day Wednesday. Twenty five of the police officers who the settlers attacked – some of them had acid thrown in their faces – were hospitalized.
This wave of settlement approvals explicitly rewards and incentivizes settler law-breaking. Coupled with efforts in the Knesset to pass legislation that would "legalize" other illegal construction by the settlers, legislation that would bar from entry to Israel people engaged in activism against settlements, and legislation aimed at the ultimate goal of West Bank annexation, these approvals send a clear message that this Israeli government will cross any line – legal, ethical and political - in the service of the settlements.
The entire world, as demonstrated in the recent UNSC resolution 2334, regards settlements as illegal and an obstacle to peace. Settlements also compromise Israel's national security and jeopardize its character as a democracy and a Jewish state.
APN’s President and CEO Debra DeLee said:
“For years, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has led a government that, for all intents and purposes, is of the settlers, by the settlers, and for the settlers. And as many of us expected and feared, the departure of responsible leadership from Washington - leadership that on a bipartisan basis consistently opposed the anti-peace, anti-democratic, pro-"Greater Israel" settler agenda --has emboldened pro-settlement forces in Israel. Today, Americans are coming out in droves to protest the illiberal, anti-democratic policies of the new Trump Administration. And today, Americans, and especially American Jews who care about Israel, have a responsibility to stand against the illiberal, anti-democratic policies of the Netanyahu government. Silence is acquiescence - whether in the U.S. or in Israel, and Americans who care about Israel must realize that when it comes to both places, the sidelines have long ceased to exist."
For more on the approval of new settlement construction see here.