Peace Now Settlement Watch: Settlers Take Over Two Houses in Hebron

Today, (January 21st, 2016), settlers took over two houses in Hebron near the Cave of the Patriarchs. The settlers broke into the houses claiming to have purchased them from the Palestinian owners. It was reported that the owners deny having sold their houses and plan to take legal measures to force the settlers out and maintain ownership on their property.

Even if the houses were truly bought by the settlers, it is still in the hands of the Israeli government to decide whether to allow them to settle in the houses. The authority to establish a settlement in the West Bank rests exclusively in the hands of the Government of Israel, irrespective of any ownership claim. Every purchase of property in the West Bank by Israelis must be approved by the Minister of Defense, and such an approval have yet to be granted.

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Press Release: APN Condemns Israeli Government Confiscation of West Bank Land

Americans for Peace Now (APN) strongly condemns the Israeli government's decision to confiscate some 380 acres in the West Bank. The expropriated land, according to Israeli media reports, is intended for Israeli settlers' use.

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This morning the Army Radio reported that Minister of Defense Ya'alon authorized the declaration of 1,545 dunams south of Jericho as state land. This land has been overtaken by settlers years ago for the purpose of agricultural cultivations. According to the Army Radio the declaration will be published in the coming weeks. This is the largest declaration since August 2014, when 4,000 dunams in the Etzion Bloc area were declared as state lands, resulting in an international storm of criticism. 

This approval comes after several declarations and confiscations in the last few weeks as two orders were signed on 23 December 2015, intended to take over new lands in the Qalqilya region and Qusra region southeast of Nablus (see details below).

Peace Now: Continued land confiscation by the Netanyahu government is a diplomatic catastrophe. The government's decision is another step on the way to destroy the possibility for a two state solution. Netanyahu is being dragged by Naftali Bennett and begins a silent annexation of area C.

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APN warmly welcomes implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)

APN warmly welcomes implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and congratulates the Obama Administration and its international partners on this historic achievement. The JCPOA has already succeeded in dramatically rolling back Iran’s nuclear program and will stringently limit this program going forward, in order to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear program in the future. In doing so, the JCPOA is a clear win for the American people, for U.S. leadership, for U.S. national security and, we believe, for Israel. It is for these reasons that APN and our supporters across the U.S. for years worked in support of a diplomatic solution to the challenge of Iran.

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Americans for Peace Now welcomes the statement issued by the European Union's foreign ministers, which states that no European agreements with Israel would be applicable in the Occupied Territories and reiterating the EU's policy of labeling products made in West Bank Israeli settlements.

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Last week the High Court rejected a petition submitted by landowners of the village of Nahla, located south of Bethlehem, and approved the declaration of 1,341 of their lands as state land. This petition was the last legal obstacle that stood in the way of the government's plan to establish a new settlement with thousands of housing units east of the separation barrier in Givat Eitam. The plan, known as "E2," has disastrous consequences on the two state solution as it blocs Bethlehem from the south and cuts the southern part of the West Bank in half, quite similarly to the plan known as E1.

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Peace Now report: Who is Funding Israeli Right-Wing NGOs?

94% of the donations of 9 well-known right-wing NGOs are nontransparent

 In light of the NGO bill, a Peace Now study examining the funding sources and transparency of 9 right-wing pro-settler NGOs finds that 94% of the donations to these organizations in the years 2006-2013 were nontransparent, meaning that there is no possibility to identify their original donor. The study also finds that the majority of the funding to the organizations examined originated from private individuals abroad, arriving mainly through U.S. organizations with a tax-deductible donations status. Many other millions of shekels originated from Israeli taxpayers' money through government ministries and an local municipalities. 

Peace Now: The NGO bill, also known as the "transparency bill" has nothing to do with transparency and everything to do with the delegitimation of organizations criticizing the government's policies. If the Minister of Justice is truly interested in transparency, she must first and foremost promote legislation requiring right-wing organizations to expose the millions they receive from private donors abroad and from the state budget.
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APN to Obama: Tell Netanyahu to scrap plans for new settlement construction

Washington, DC – Americans for Peace Now (APN) is alarmed by new evidence, exposed today by our Israeli sister organization Peace Now, indicating that the Israeli government is planning massive new settlement construction in the West Bank, including in an area known as “E-1” adjacent to East Jerusalem. Settlement construction in E-1 would likely be a death blow to the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It has therefore been consistently and vehemently opposed by both Republican and Democratic administrations, and by the international community.  

The new evidence, some 200 pages Peace Now obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, shows that for the past year, Israel’s Ministry of Housing has been actively working outside of the public's eye to advance plans for 55,548 new homes in West Bank settlements.

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A Settlement Watch Report

A Peace Now report, based on information disclosed by the Ministry of Housing (MoH) following our freedom of information petition, reveals highly concerning facts on the government's actions and intentions with regards to the settlements and the two state solution. The report includes data on the planning of 55,548 housing units in West Bank Settlements, including in E1, as well as plans for two new settlements and the immediate construction of 3,078 units, 78% of which east of the separation barrier.
 
For the full report click here
Peace Now: The exposed MoH plans portray a worrying and dangerous picture for the state of Israel and for the two state solution. The execution of the plans exposed does not only stand in contrast to previous promises to the United States, but also seriously threaten the possibility of arriving at a two state solution. We call on Housing Minister Yoav Galant of Kulanu not to follow his predecessor's vision and to stop these plans immediately. Rather than continuing to plan thousands of units in the settlements, we call upon Minister Galant to invest in planning and construction in Israel proper.
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