News from Peace Now's (Israel) Settlement Watch:

The Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics (ICBS) published its data on construction starts earlier today. The Data shows that in the first six months of 2016, 1,195 housing units started to be constructed in the settlements. This is an increase of 40% in comparison to the previous six month (July-December 2015), during which 850 housing units began to be constructed. In contrast, a 3% decrease in construction starts was noted in Israel proper (23,691 housing units in the first half of 2016 as opposed to 22,898 housing units in the second half of 2015).

Peace Now: "Netanyahu is the Prime Minister of one sector only - the settler sector, which comprises of less than 5% of the Israeli population. His investments in the settlements do not only come on the expense of the Negev, the Galilee and the rest of Israel but also lead towards a one state reality.

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Referendum_slider-doubleOn Monday, September 5th, Decision at 50,  a new organization composed of Shalom Achshav (Peace Now), Israel’s preeminent peace movement, in cooperation with other Israeli civil society organizations, issued the following press release:

Today (Monday, September 5th) "Decision at 50" launched a campaign demanding a referendum on the future of the Territories and the future of Israel during the 50th year of Israel's control over the West Bank and Gaza. Under the slogan "It's time to decide," the movement will promote a large scale media campaign, accompanied by public events and direct action throughout the country meant to collect signatures of Israeli citizens in support of a Knesset referendum bill.

"Decision at 50" was initiated by a group of organizations and individuals, including "Peace Now," "Blue White Future," as well as former security officials, former politicians, artists and social activists.

The founders of "Decision at 50" believe that after 50 years of Israeli control over the Palestinian Territories, and after 50 years of indecision by Israeli governments, it is time to bring the decision to the Israeli public and let the people decide on their own fate: a bi-national state or two states, 50 more years of military rule or a diplomatic resolution. "This is the most sensitive and explosive issue in Israeli society today, and we demand that after 50 years we will get the right to decide on our own future. We cannot allow ourselves another 50 years of governments' indecision, during which decisions are made every day on the ground," the founders of the initiatives say.

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Press Release: APN to Support New Israeli Initiative for Referendum on the Occupation

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Shalom Achshav (Peace Now), Israel’s preeminent peace movement, in cooperation with other Israeli civil society organizations, today launched a new initiative demanding a referendum on the future of Israel’s rule over the West Bank and on peace with the Palestinians.

Americans for Peace Now, the U.S. sister organization of Shalom Achshav, supports the initiative. APN calls on all Americans who care about Israel’s future to support the call for a referendum on the occupation, which is now entering its fiftieth year.

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Israel’s Peace Now movement today issued the following press release, after scoring a major victory in its fight against Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank.

High Court Orders Evacuation of 17 Structures in The Illegal Outpost of Derech Ha'Avot

Earlier today the High Court of Justice ruled on a petition submitted by Peace Now and by Palestinian landowners on the illegal outpost of Derech Ha'Avot. In its verdict, the High Court demanded that the State will evacuate 17 structures in the illegal outpost, located near Bethlehem. The court strongly criticized the State, which tried to retract its previous commitments, and over and over again postponed the enforcement of the law with regards to illegal construction in the outpost while raising a variety of contradicting excuses. The High Court ordered that the evacuation of the structures and fulfilment of the demolition order will be executed within 18 months (by March 2018), and ordered the State to pay high legal expenses.

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Peace Now Settlement Watch: Update - Plans Promoted for 463 Housing Units in the Settlements

News from Peace Now's (Israel) Settlement Watch:

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Peace Now Settlement Watch: Promotion of Plans for 546 Housing Units in The Settlements

News from the Peace Now's (Israel) Settlement Watch:

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Peace Now Settlement Watch: Establishing a New Settlement in Hebron - More Information Revealed

News from Peace Now's (Israel) Settlement Watch:

Following our exposure regarding the possible establishment of a settlement in Hebron's "Plugat Hamitkanim" military base, below is new information uncovered in the past 24 hours.  

1. It appears that former Defense Minister, Moshe Ya'alon, approved the allocation of a portion of the land where the military base is located to the Ministry of Housing. The Housing Ministry is now preparing a plan to build 28 housing units in the area. If implemented, the plan would increase the number of settlers in Hebron by approximately 100 (an increase of over 10% to the settler population in the city). The planning process at the Civil Administration's High Planning Committee has not yet begun.

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Peace Now Settlement Watch: Settlers' Residence Being Prepared in a Hebron Military Compound

News from Peace Now's (Israel) Settlement Watch:

Summary:
  • Renovations are currently taking place in the military compound of "Plugat Hamitkanim" in Hebron, in order to prepare the area for the residence of settlers.
  • This area, which used to serve as Hebron's central bus station, was seized through a military order during the 80's. By law, and according to a High Court verdict from 1979, it is forbidden to seize lands for military needs and then use them for the purpose of settlements.
  • Having residential housing in a military base also contradicts the principle of distinction between civilians and combatants, and constitutes a clear violation of International Humanitarian Law. Thus, the plan is to deduct a portion of the land seized for military purposes and allocate it for the purpose of a settlement. While the seizure order will be lifted, this constitutes a bending of the law mentioned above for the benefit of settlers.
  • This portion of the land used to be under Jewish ownership prior to 1948 and was leased to the Hebron municipality by the Jordanians. The status of Hebron municipality is of protected tenancy and therefore, until now, the Israeli legal opinion was that the land cannot be taken from the municipality other than in the pretext of military use.
  • In addition, allocating lands belonged to Jews before 1948 to settlers  is practically an implementation of the "right of return" for Jews only and on the expense of the protected Palestinians tenants.
  • In a letter to the Defense Minister and to the Head of the Civil Administration, Peace now demanded to prevent the establishment of this New settlement in Hebron.
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Peace Now Settlement Watch: Land Expropriation Advanced for a New Settlement on JNF Lands

News from Peace Now's (Israel) Settlement Watch:

In the State's response from August 10, 2016, to Peace Now's High Court petition, the State notified the court that it is currently conducting a land survey in order to declare "state lands" south of Bethlehem, near the village of Nahla. A declaration as such, combined with the allocation of a small portion of the state lands in the area for the purpose of a road, will enable to connect the planned settlement of Givat Eitam to the settlement of Efrat. This connection will then allow for the establishment of the Givat Eitam settlement, also known as E2 due to its dire consequences on the two state solution. While the state lands in Givat Eitam have not yet been allocated for the construction of the planned settlement, the government intends to initially build the new settlement on the 300 dunams owned by Himanuta, a subsidiary of JNF. 

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Washington, DC – Americans for Peace Now (APN) joins its Israeli sister organization, Shalom Achshav (Peace Now) in strongly condemning the Israeli government’s decision to take over West Bank Palestinian absentee land east of the Palestinian city of Ramallah, apparently in order to relocate Israeli settlers who have been evacuated from the illegal outpost of Amona. 

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