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

This morning an ad was published in Al-Quds Newspaper on behalf of the Custodian's Office which is responsible for government and abandoned property announcing the takeover of absentees' land near the illegal outpost of Amona. It can be assumed that the takeover's purpose is to allow the relocation of the settlers of Amona from the land they are currently occupying to a nearby plot. Those who claim ownership of the land can submit their objections within the next 30 days.

Earlier this month, this relocation idea was raised by the regularization committee, a committee established by the government to find a solution for the illegal outposts issue. On August 7, 2016, the Attorney General, Avichai Mandelblit, stated that he will consider the option of moving Amona to a nearby absentees' property despite "weighty legal issues." 
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News from Peace Now's (Israel) Settlement Watch:

The Attorney General, Avichai Mandelblit, stated yesterday (August 7, 2016) that he will consider the option of moving Amona to a nearby absentees' property despite "weighty legal issues." The option was proposed to him by a committee established by the government to find a solution of the illegal outposts issue. Approving the committee's legal opinion will consist of a sharp change of Israeli policy thus far, and contradict decisions of the Supreme Court, according to which private land cannot be used for the purpose of settlements. Such an approval will expose Israel to lawsuits and create a precedent that could lead to the doubling of the land taken up by settlements.

Peace Now: "The Attorney General is signaling that he is willing to approve the stealing of private lands of absentees for settlers who themselves stole private lands against the law. The extrapolation of the AG approving this option is that from now on, absentees' property could be leased to the settlers, despite of the fact that these are private properties. The government's willingness to politically compensate the settlers of Amona, who settled on private Palestinian land, is leading to devastating consequences on the ground and to the distortion of Israel's moral and legal systems."

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

The Legal Opinion Submitted to the Attorney General
on Amona: a Crossing of a Red Line

Amona-wikimedia-320x265This morning the Army Radio reported that the committee established by the government to find a solution of the illegal outposts issue recently submitted a legal opinion to the Attorney General according to which it is possible to use the absentees’ property in the case of the illegal outpost of Amona. The committee’s idea is to take private Palestinian lands in the nearby plot to where Amona is today, whose owners do not live in the West Bank, and lease them to the settlers of Amona through a lease that will be renewed every three years. This way, the settlers of the illegal outpost, which must be evacuated by the end of December due to a High Court ruling, will be able to live close by to where the outpost is located today. AG Avichai Mendelblit will soon announce whether he intends to accept or reject the legal opinion.
 
Peace Now: "Accepting the legal opinion of the committee and thereby violating private property rights in the Occupied Territories will constitute the crossing of a red line. The acceptance of the legal opinion would have dire consequences on a future peace agreement as it could lead to the establishment of dozens of new settlements and to the multiplying of the land taken up by settlements in the West Bank. The Israeli government cannot justify the stealing of private lands of absentees only to please the demands of settlers who themselves stole private lands against the law."

 

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Peace Now Settlement Watch: Tenders Published for 323 Housing Units in East Jerusalem

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

This morning, tenders for 323 housing units in East Jerusalem were published:

89 units in Gilo
36 units in Neve Yaacov
68 units in Pisgat Zeev 
130 units in Har Homa
 
These tenders are for housing units that have been tendered in the past but were never built (the tender in Gilo was published without dates and details so we cannot tell if these are new units or units that were tendered before). Although the government tried to build these units in the past, it never did so and thus the government is now initiating entirely new construction.
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APN on the JCPOA at One Year: A Clear Win for Both the U.S. & Israel

Secretary_Kerry_greets_Iranian_Foreign_Minister_Zarif474x531This week, on the first anniversary of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Americans for Peace Now (APN) celebrated the achievement of this historic deal – a deal that has already proven itself by radically rolling back and limiting Iran’s nuclear program. 

APN President and CEO Debra DeLee commented:

“We reiterate today our thanks and congratulations to President Obama and his P5+1 partners – France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Russia, and China – on this historic agreement and its ongoing implementation. A year on, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) has proven itself a clear win for the American people, for U.S. leadership, for U.S. national security and, we believe, for Israel. Already this agreement has dramatically and verifiably rolled back Iran’s nuclear program, stringently limited Iran’s ongoing and future nuclear activities, and taken off the table what pre-JCPOA was the looming threat of Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon in the foreseeable future.  The implementation of the JCPOA also ensures that, where in the past the U.S. and international community had very limited means to monitor Iran’s activities, today, should Iran decide to break the terms of the deal and try to ‘sneak out’ to a nuclear weapon, there is a far greater chance such an effort would be detected and the U.S. and its allies would be in a far stronger position to respond effectively.

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APN condemns new anti-democratic Israeli law

Israel’s Peace Now Movement to Challenge New NGO Law before Israel’s Supreme Court 

Washington, DC -- Americans for Peace Now (APN) joins its Israeli sister organization, Peace Now (Shalom Achshav) in strongly condemning the new NGO Law, adopted last night by the Knesset, as a blatant violation of freedom of expression. APN supports Peace Now’s intention to challenge the new law before Israel’s Supreme Court. 

As Peace Now points out, this law is tailored specifically to target only peace and human rights organizations. It intends to divert the Israeli public discourse away from the occupation, and to silence opposition to the government's policies. 

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

On July 6, 2016 the High Planning Committee of the Civil Administration convened in order to discuss and approve construction plans in the settlements. The committee discussed the approval of 531 housing units in Ma'ale Adumim and the plan to retroactively legalize the illegal outpost of Horesh Yaron, which is located west of Ramallah. Since the beginning of 2016 construction plans for 1,823 housing units in the settlements were promoted. out of the 1,823, 314 are retroactive plans for housing units which were built illegally. It is important to note that the Quartet Report's criticism on Israel's settlement policy focused specifically on retroactive legalization of illegal outposts and illegal construction. 

Additionally, yesterday, July 10 2016, the government approved a transfer approximately 50 Million Shekels to Kiryat Arba and Hebron.

Peace Now: The promotion of plans in Ma'ale Adumim and the retroactive legalization of an illegal outpost are a slap in the face of the Quartet. Netanyahu is signaling to Israel's most important allies that he is not interested in peace and two states but rather in the continuation of the occupation. 

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

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Peace Now Settlement Watch: Tender for 42 Housing Units in Kiryat Arba Issued

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

Today, (Wednesday, 6th of July) the Israeli Ministry of Housing issued a tender for the construction of 42 housing units in Kiryat Arba. The tender was issued today but bids can only be submitted at the 31st of July. This means that the Government wanted to publish the tender quickly, before the paperwork is completed, in order to make the connection between the deadly attacks against Israelis last week and the promotion of the construction in Kiryat Arba. 

Peace Now: "Construction in settlements is not an answer to terrorism; it is not going to save the life of any Israeli but rather strengthen the extremists on both sides. The real answer to terrorism is ending the occupation and reaching a negotiated peace agreement. Unfortunately, Israeli citizens continue to pay the price of the extreme right wing government's policies."

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Peace Now Settlement Watch: Settlement Construction Is Not The Answer to Terrorism

From Peace Now's (Israel) Settlement Watch:

Following the deadly attacks against Israelis last week, it has been reported that the government is advancing plans for 800 housing units in Maale Adumim and in East Jerusalem. It is not clear at this point exactly which plans are being promoted and the promotion of 560 housing units in Ma'ale Adumim, for instance, seems to be made up of several smaller plans. In addition, it has been reported that the government will open a tender for 42 housing units in Kiryat Arba. For more information on this tender and the Kiryat Arba population see below.

Peace Now: Settlement construction is endangering both the possibility for peace and two states and the security of Israeli citizens. New housing units in the settlements will not prevent the next victims but rather strengthen the extremists on both sides. The real answer to terror is ending the occupation and reaching a negotiated agreement. Meanwhile, Israeli citizens will continue to pay the price of the extreme right wing government's policies. 

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