Newsflash: Peace Now Exposes Netanyahu's Deceit; Makes a Difference

Peace Now’s Settlement Watch project reported this week that Benjamin Netanyahu’s government approved construction of hundreds of new homes in West Bank settlements, and is accelerating the pace of planned building in the settlements. Peace Now’s data was based on info obtained from the High Planning Council for Judea and Samaria, the government agency responsible for construction licensing and planning in West Bank settlements. The data showed that this year’s numbers (January through March) were higher than the equivalent period last year.

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

Yesterday it was published that the High Planning Committee of the Civil Administration advanced plans in different stages for over 200 units in the settlements after receiving a green light to do so from the Prime Minister and the Minister of Defense. This is another indication of a shift away from the so-called "planning freeze" of 2015. For a list of all plans approved in 2016 click here.

While the government issued a statement arguing that all of the plans advanced were for already existing buildings except from those in Ganei Modi'in, Peace Now's aerial photos illustrate that this is not the case, and much of the planning is for new housing units.
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News from Peace Now's (Israel) Settlement Watch:

Advancement of Plans for Housing Units in the Settlements up by 250% in the First Quarter of 2016 Compared with the Same Period Last Year

While the government's declared policy in the settlements is that of a "planning freeze," during January-March 2016 plans for 674 housing units in the settlements were advanced (all over the West Bank and particularly in isolated settlements), as opposed to 194 housing units in the same period last year. 
 
During 2015, plans for 1,665 new housing units were promoted (1,044 of them were retroactively legalized after having been built illegally and without a plan). This number constitutes a substantial decrease from 2014, during which 8,606 new housing units had been promoted (801 of which retroactively legalized). The figures of the first quarter of 2016 illustrate an upturn in the approval of plans, and sharply increase the total number of units promoted by the current Netanyahu government. Additionally, as illustrated by the numbers above, while the government states that it currently approves plans for already existing construction only, in reality in 2016 only 26% of the plans advanced constituted retroactive legalizations (compared with 63% in 2015).

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Peace Now Settlement Watch: Government declares another 596 dunams as state land

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

The Palestinian News agency Ma'an reported yesterday that the Civil Administration issued a new order determining state land boundaries in the settlement of Eli. 
The order is a result of the work of the Civil Administration's Blue Line Team which works to correct inaccurate state land declarations made during the 1980s. According to the new order, 2,781 dunams of the lands of the villages Lubban al Sharqiya, Karyut and Al-Sawiya are now considered state lands, 596 dunams of which were not considered state lands according to the old declaration. Additionally, 590 dunams were detracted from the old declaration.
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Peace Now Settlement Watch: The government declares 2342 dunams south of Jericho as state land

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

The Army radio exposed today that on March 10, 2016, during Vice President Biden’s visit to Israel, the Civil Administration’s Head of the Government Property signed a declaration according to which 2,342 dunams (580 acres) south of Jericho are now government property. This declaration of state land comes two months after the Minister of Defense approved a declaration of 1,500 dunams as state lands in an area south of Jericho. It appears that the January approval by the MoD permitted the land declaration which is now being implemented. However, the size of the land declared is larger than what was published in January and includes 2,342 dunams. The declaration, which is in fact a confiscation, was meant for the expansion of nearby settlements as well as for trade and tourism projects operated by the settlers. This is one of the largest declarations in recent years, and it is another illustration of the government’s policy of land confiscation, including those far beyond the green line and the separation barrier.

 
Peace Now: This declaration is a de-facto confiscation of Palestinian lands for the purpose of settlement. Instead of trying to clam the situation, the government is adding fuel to the fire and sending a clear message to Palestinians, as well as to Israelis, that it has no intention to work towards peace and two states. Netanyahu proves yet again, that settler pressure is more important to him than the deteriorating security situation.

 

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APN Outraged at Violent Escalation in Israel

Washington, DC – Americans for Peace Now (APN) is outraged and heartbroken at the spiraling violence in Israel today, a day in which Israelis were shaken by three terrorist attacks. In one of these attacks, in Jaffa, a young American tourist was murdered and his wife severely injured.

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

Earlier today (March 7, 2016) the State updated the High Court of Justice on its position regarding Peace Now's petition for the evacuation of 17 structures in the outpost of Derech Ha'Avot. Due to the "request of the political echelon" and despite its previous commitments, the State announced that it seeks to work on the retroactive legalization of 10 of the structures built on private Palestinian land in the illegal outpost. The State hopes to do so by applying a "First Registration" procedure, a long complex procedure asking applicants to prove legal ownership of a land. This comes only two years after this land had been surveyed and was not declared state land, as it had clear owners. If the court accepts the State's position, in the best case scenario the evacuation of the illegal structures as well as the return of the land to its Palestinian owners will be postponed by several years, and in the worst case scenario, the State will find a way to retroactively legalize the structures. As for the remaining 7 structures, the state argued that it will evacuate them within two years.

Peace Now: The government's shameless legal acrobatics efforts meant to take over  lands in area C is putting the two state solution in danger. We hope that the High Court will deny the State's attempt to act against its previous commitments and demand the evacuation of the illegal construction in the outpost of Derech Ha'Avot.

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

Report2015SettlementsOver the weekend, Israel’s Peace Now movement published its annual report on West Bank settlement planning and construction in the past year. Following is the executive summary of Peace Now’s report, followed by a link to the full report, as well as links to several news articles about the report.

2015 In the Settlements: No Freeze At All
Settlement Watch Annual Construction Report
Peace Now's annual construction report reveals that in 2015 construction continued throughout the West Bank settlements, and especially in isolated settlements. These finding refute the argument that a "silent freeze" is currently in place. While earlier this year Netanyahu argued in English that he is the Prime Minister who has built the least in the settlements, in Hebrew he proudly demonstrated to Likud members the increase in settlement construction during his time in office. It is clear that in 2015 as well, Netanyahu's statements in Hebrew are more representative of the reality on the ground than his statements in English.
 
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Peace Now Settlement Watch: Settlers Take Over Two Houses in Hebron

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

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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