Israel’s Peace Now movement submitted on March 5th 2017 a petition to the Israeli High Court of Justice against the newly adopted Expropriation Law (also known as the Legalization Law or the Regulation Law), a law that allows the expropriation of privately-owned West Banks Palestinian land for settlement construction.
Trump recently said that advancing settlement construction is unhelpful for peace, but which settlements exactly he was referring to is open for interpretation.
If his latest statements are any indication, U.S. President Donald Trump may be having second thoughts about how unharmful Israel’s West Bank settlement project is to the peace process.
In an interview published on Friday with the Israeli daily Israel Hayom, Trump described himself as “not someone who believes that advancing settlements is good for peace,” and urged the government to “act reasonably.”
“There is limited remaining territory,” Trump said. “Every time you take land for a settlement, less territory
In a statement issued through the White House a week earlier, he said that although settlements per se were not an impediment to peace, “the construction of new settlements or the expansion of existing settlements beyond their current borders may not be helpful in achieving that goal.”
America’s unpredictable new president may be a bit more forthcoming about where he draws the line when he meets with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday. Meanwhile, his statements have been interpreted as a green light for Israel to continue building within the settlement blocs, though not beyond them.
Settlement blocs refer to the larger Jewish population centers located in the West Bank, many of which are close to
the Green Line, or the borders of the 1949 armistice agreement. Many of them fall on the Israeli side of the
incomplete separation barrier Israel began building nearly 15 years ago during the second Palestinian
News from Peace Now:
Peace Now: "Netanyahu is taking advantage of the presidential transition in the United States in order to appease the settlers, a small minority of the Israeli public, and score political points with his right flank. Instead of jeopardizing the two-state solution, it is time for Netanyahu to take responsibility for the future of Israel by halting settlement construction and assuring the future of Israel as both Jewish and democratic."
In 2014, opponents of boycotts, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) against Israel began promoting legislation in various U.S. states denouncing the BDS movement. In 2015, these efforts shifted/expanded to mirror efforts in the U.S. Congress to hijack concerns about BDS against Israel in order to pass legislation mandating that Israeli settlements be treated, in effect, as part of sovereign Israel.
News from Peace Now:
News from Peace Now:
This morning (December 2) a plan for temporary housing on three plots of absentee property near the illegal outpost
of Amona was deposited. This was done through a special order - originally used for the Migron settlers - which
allows for the promotion of plans in an expedited process. It is now clear that the government is promoting
temporary housing for the Amona settlers in the nearby absentee property, despite Israel’s legal interpretation
since 1967 according to which absentee property cannot be used for the establishment of settlements.
It is important to note that while the plan is for eight months only, in the settlements what is temporary usually becomes permanent. For example the two year long temporary housing for the Migron settlers from in Givat HaYekev (or the New Migron) is still in place.
Peace Now views the regulation law as a grand land robbery, which will lead not only to the expropriation of 8,000 dunams of private Palestinian lands but might also rob Israelis and Palestinians of the possibility of arriving at a two state solution.
To read the full report click here.
(published 10/21/16 at Haaretz - here)
Last Friday, the UN Security Council held a meeting organized under the title “Illegal Israeli Settlements: A
Threat to Peace and the Two-State Solution.” Americans for Peace Now proudly took part in that event, offering
testimony grounded in love for Israel and expressing an unwavering commitment to Israel’s security and its survival
as a democracy and a state rooted in the Jewish values expressed in its Declaration of Independence. Of course,
that testimony also dealt with the settlements, explaining why they are detrimental to the cause of
Israeli-Palestinian peace and therefore to Israel’s national security interests.
Many people, both inside and outside Israel, were happy to see a pro-Israel, pro-two-state organization delivering a nuanced, fact-based presentation at this event. Others were less enthused, most notably Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, who accused APN of participating in “diplomatic terror” against Israel. Likewise, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took to social media to call APN’s arguments “deluded.” And now, in this newspaper, the former head of the Union of Reform Judaism, Rabbi Eric Yoffie, criticized APN’s testimony as a “mistake” – not for the facts it conveyed or its tone, but for the timing and location of its delivery.
Last week, Jewish Federations of North American (JFNA), an organization representing federations across the United States, opened the door, as a matter of formal policy, to taking Americans to visit Israeli settlements. These are the areas located east of the 1949 Armistice line separating Israel and the occupied territories (aka “the Green Line”) in which Israel has been actively settling its citizens since 1967. This decision, upending longstanding JFNA policy, doesn’t come in a vacuum. Rather, it comes in the context of a campaign to legitimize settlements in the eyes of American law and in the minds of American Jews – contrary to consistent U.S. law and policy since 1967 rejecting the legitimacy of both settlements and the occupation, and contrary to the vital interests of Israel.
Make no mistake: Settlements are the bricks-and-mortar expression of an ideology that prioritizes land over peace, and values the expansion of Israel’s borders over Israel’s democracy, over its security, and over good relations with the world. Generations of Israeli generals and security experts have concluded that a peace agreement with the Palestinians is vital to Israel’s security, and that such an agreement will have to be based on the Green Line, with limited border modifications agreed to by both sides. Continued Israeli settlement expansion and obfuscation of the Green Line threaten the achievement of such an agreement and undermine Israel’s security.
News from Peace Now's (Israel) Settlement Watch:
Earlier this week Haaretz
reported that a new illegal outpost is being established on private Palestinian land near Givat Salit and near
the Palestinian community of Al-Khaimah. Yesterday (25.10) the settlers moved the outpost from the private lands
and re-established it on "state lands" in a nearby hill.
It is yet to be seen whether the government takes action to evacuate the illegal structures or allows for the substantiation of a new outpost.
All of the structures in Al-Khaimah were demolished completely by the Civil Administration approximately a month ago and Peace Now tends to think that the demolition of Al-Khaimah and the establishment of the new outpost are related, in the sense that the settlers exerted pressure on the government to demolish specifically in that area. Furthermore, It is possible that the new illegal outpost is meant to serve as a bargaining chip by the settlers, who will demand demolitions of more Palestinian homes if the government will seek to enforce the law and evacuate them. Peace Now is familiar with at least one case in which this method was utilized by the settlers, when two years ago settlers established an illegal outpost near the settlement of Maskiyot and the Palestinian community of Ain al Hilweh and agreed to evacuate only after several Palestinian homes were demolished.