Today (October 5th, 2016) Peace Now and Ir Amim jointly released a new report on settlement planning in one of the most sensitive and volatile areas in Jerusalem, in a Palestinian neighborhood in the heart of Silwan. The report,  "Broken Trust: State Involvement in Private Settlement in Batan Al-Hawa, Silwan." The report describes how, since 2001, the Ateret Cohanim settler organization has been working to transform Batan al-Hawa into a large Israeli settlement through sales without tender, questionable acquisition of Palestinian properties, forced eviction and removal of Palestinian families who have lived in the neighborhood for decades. If the settlers are successful, Batan al-Hawa will become the largest settlement compound in a Palestinian neighborhood in the Historic Basin of the Old City,  significantly tightening the emerging ring of settlements around the Old City, creating,"an irreversible reality" and severely undermining the possibility of a future two state solution.

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APN Condemns New Israeli Settlement Plan

Today Americans for Peace Now joined its Israeli sister organization, Shalom Achshav (Peace Now), in condemning the Israeli government’s announced plan to establish a new West Bank settlement in the Shiloh Valley (full details on the announcement are here).

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

The Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics (ICBS) published its data on construction starts earlier today. The Data shows that in the first six months of 2016, 1,195 housing units started to be constructed in the settlements. This is an increase of 40% in comparison to the previous six month (July-December 2015), during which 850 housing units began to be constructed. In contrast, a 3% decrease in construction starts was noted in Israel proper (23,691 housing units in the first half of 2016 as opposed to 22,898 housing units in the second half of 2015).

Peace Now: "Netanyahu is the Prime Minister of one sector only - the settler sector, which comprises of less than 5% of the Israeli population. His investments in the settlements do not only come on the expense of the Negev, the Galilee and the rest of Israel but also lead towards a one state reality.

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Hebron-and_Amona404x604The Israeli government is in the process of establishing – by stealth –the first new settlement complex (28 units, providing housing for some 100 settlers, or a 10% increase in the settler population in the area) in Hebron in more than a decade. It is doing so by taking properties seized years ago by the Israeli government for military use and handing them over to the settlers. This action directly contravenes Israeli law, which prohibits seizing lands for military needs and then using them for the purpose of settlements. It also contradicts the principle of distinction between civilians and combatants and constitutes a clear violation of International Humanitarian Law. In addition, allocating these properties to the settlers based on the argument that they belonged to Jews before 1948 in essence constitutes implementation of a “right of return” for Jews, at the expense of protected Palestinians tenants – even as Palestinians are denied any parallel “right of return” to properties they left or were expelled from before 1948.

On August 24th, State Department Deputy Spokesman Mark Toner said that if reports about what is happening in Hebron are true, “…it would represent a deeply concerning step of settlement expansions…

At the same time, the Israeli government is moving ahead with plans to “relocate” the illegal outpost of Amona. It plans to move the settlers off the privately-owned Palestinian land where the outpost it currently located – land that after years of trying, the Government was forced to admit it could find no “legal” way to expropriate and give to the settlers – and on to a nearby plot of privately-owned Palestinian land that it has now found a pretext to seize. In short, this case involves Israel taking new land from the Palestinians for the sole benefit of settlers. And it involves Israel acting not to punish and deter settler law-breaking, but instead rewarding and incentivizing such illegal actions. And it contributes to the growth of the settlement foothold deep in the West Bank, via the direct support and collusion of the Israeli government.

On August 11th, the Director of the State Department’s Press Office, Elizabeth Trudeau, said that the State Department was “deeply concerned by reports that the Israeli Government has begun the process to take over privately owned Palestinian land to relocate the illegal Israeli outpost of Amona.”

 

Take Action Today!

 

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Sign our Petition: Tell Israel - Stop the land grabs, stop the settlement expansion.

PN_pic_Setlement_overlook475x680Nearly 50 years into the occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, the current Israeli government continues to exploit a wide range of tactics, laws, and regulations to take control of more Palestinian land and hand it over to the settlers. Here are just the latest examples:

  • In Sussya, located in the south Hebron hills, Israel is seeking to raze Palestinian homes to make way for more settlement.
  • Northeast of Ramallah, near the settlement of Ofra, Israel is working to take over more Palestinian-owned land to give to settler law-breakers from the outpost of Amona.
  • South of Bethlehem, the Netanyahu government is actively seeking to seize land in order to implement an extraordinarily dangerous and destructive new settlement plan which activists have dubbed “E-2,” involving thousands of new units.
  • In the heart of Hebron, the Israeli government is in the process of establishing – by stealth – a new settlement complex: 28 housing units for some 100 settlers, or a 10% increase in the settler population in the area. This is the first new settlement construction in Hebron in more than a decade. The government’s method, this time, is taking properties seized years ago by the Israeli government for military use and handing them over to the settlers – in direct contravention of Israeli law.

With actions like these, the Israeli government is telling the Palestinians that it is not interested in peace or a two-state solution. It is telling the world that it places greater value on land than on peace, that it prioritizes settlements over security, and that it is more concerned with ensuring permanent control over “Greater Israel” than in ensuring Israel’s relations and reputation with nations around the world, including the United States.

With no immediate possibility of re-starting peace talks on the horizon, it is critical that world leaders stand firm against Israeli government efforts to further expand and entrench the occupation – the very possibility of the two-state outcome hangs in the balance.

Sign our petition today (to be sent to addressees and released as an open letter). Join us in calling on the heads of state of the U.S., UK, France, and Germany -- as well as top officials in the European Commission and the UN, and other world leaders -- to individually and collectively stand up to the Netanyahu government’s plans to confiscate or transfer West Bank land for new settlement activity.

Take action NOW.

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Planned “relocation” of the illegal outpost of Amona

FOTG_AmonaAmona is the largest illegal outpost in the West Bank, home to some fifty families, located near the settlement of Ofra, northeast of Ramallah. Built on some 100 acres of land registered as privately-owned by Palestinians, the outpost was built without permits from the Israeli government, but with the direct and indirect support of Israeli authorities. In 2006, following a decision of the Israeli High Court of Justice, nine structures in the outpost were demolished – but in the years since, the outpost has grown and flourished. Now, the High Court is forcing the Israeli government to take action once again to remove the illegal construction – but rather than simply removing the outpost, the Israeli government has decided to re-locate it – to another area of privately-owned Palestinian land.

 

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Write to the State Department
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LEARN MORE

APN Q&A on Amona
APN Briefing Call with Peace Now Settlement Watch Director Hagit Ofran (August 25, 2016)
APN to Obama 8/11/16: Act to Reverse Israeli Government Taking Over Palestinian Land for West Bank Settlement
Peace Now Report, August 2016: The Legal Opinion Submitted to the Attorney General on Amona: A Crossing of a Red Line
APN report 8/8: Peace Now Settlement Watch: AG Mandelblit Considers Relocating Amona to Lands Owned by Absentees (with translation of AG’s opinion)
Peace Now report 8/11/16: The Israeli Government is Taking Over Absentees' Property Near Amona
Comprehensive report on the original battle over Amona and the destruction of 9 units there: APN Settlements in Focus 2/17/06 and APN Settlements in Focus 7/29/05
View this & other settlement-related developments on APN’s Map App

 

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Expanding the Settlers’ Hold in Hebron

FOTG_HebronThe Israeli government is in the process of establishing – by stealth –the first new settlement complex (28 units, providing housing for some 100 settlers, or a 10% increase in the settler population in the area) in Hebron in more than a decade. This action directly contravenes Israeli law, which prohibits seizing lands for military needs and then using them for the purpose of settlements. It also contradicts the principle of distinction between civilians and combatants, and constitutes a clear violation of International Humanitarian Law. In addition, allocating these properties to the settlers based on the argument that they belonged to Jews before 1948 in essence constitutes implementation of a “right of return” for Jews, at the expense of protected Palestinians tenants – even as Palestinians are denied any parallel “right of return” to properties they left or were expelled from before 1948. The Israeli Peace Now movement uncovered this story and is leading the effort to pressure the Israeli government to cancel these plans.  

 

TAKE ACTION

Write to the State Department
Sign our petition
Forward this page
Tweet this page
Share this page on Facebook
Sign up for APN’s News Nosh & Weekly Update
Donate to support our work

 

LEARN MORE

APN Briefing Call with Peace Now Settlement Watch Director Hagit Ofran (August 25, 2016)
Peace Now’s August 23, 2016 report: Establishing a New Settlement in Hebron - More Information Revealed
Peace Now’s August 22, 2016 report: Settlers' Residence Being Prepared in a Hebron Military Compound
View this & other settlement-related developments on APN’s Map App

 

US OFFICIAL REACTION

Haaretz 8/24: U.S. 'Deeply Concerned' About Plans to Advance Construction for Jewish Settlers in Hebron
State Department Press briefing 8/23: “…if these reports are true, it would appear to be an effort to expand civilian Israeli settlement in the city of Hebron, and that would represent a deeply concerning step of settlement expansions…

 

IN THE MEDIA

Arutz Sheva (settler media outlet) 8/24: Peace Now 'slanders' activists over Hevron construction
Maan News 8/23: Peace Now: New settlement will add 100 more Israeli settlers in Hebron
Haaretz 8/22: For First Time in Decade, Israel Plans to Expand Jewish Settlement in Hebron
Times of Israel 8/22: Israel said planning to build several Jewish homes in Hebron
Associated Press 8/22: Israel Takes Steps Toward New Settlement in Volatile City

Planned new settlement of Givat Eitam, aka E-2

FOTG_E2The Netanyahu government is actively promoting an extraordinarily dangerous and destructive new settlement plan which activists have dubbed “E-2” – a name that reflects the fact that the plan is as dangerous and destructive to the two-state solution as the infamous E-1 project (against which the international community has formed a united front). The E-2 project, which the settlers call Givat Eitam, involves thousands of new units to be built south of Bethlehem, near the settlement of Efrat. Documents recently released by the government in connection with a lawsuit brought by Peace Now show that the Netanyahu government is actively moving ahead with this plan at this time, including working to seize new land on which it can build necessary infrastructure to implement the project (a new major road).

 

TAKE ACTION

Write Letters to the Editor
Get the word out: Tweet About E-2
Sign our petition
Forward this page
Tweet this page
Share this page on Facebook
Sign up for APN’s News Nosh & Weekly Update
Donate to support our work

 

LEARN MORE

APN Briefing Call with Peace Now Settlement Watch Director Hagit Ofran(August 25, 2016)
Peace Now report 1/13/16: High Court Rejects Nahla Landowners' Petition Removes Legal Obstacle to Establish a Settlement in E2
Peace Now report January 2015: The new settlement in a-Nahla – a significant threat to the two-state solution
September 2014 report by Peace Now, Kerem Navot, and Combatants for Peace: The New Settlement in E2 (Nahla) - A Significant Threat to the Two States Solution
View this & other settlement-related developments on APN’s Map App

 

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Peace Now Settlement Watch: Update - Plans Promoted for 463 Housing Units in the Settlements

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

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Peace Now Settlement Watch: Promotion of Plans for 546 Housing Units in The Settlements

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

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