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

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

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

Two important settlement developments in this update:

1. Appointed Attorney General proposes to confiscate private Palestinian lands for settlements

2. A new settlement established south of Bethlehem

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

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

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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