with Michael Sfard

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Yossi Alpher is an independent security analyst. He is the former director of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University, a former senior official with the Mossad, and a former IDF intelligence officer. Views and positions expressed here are those of the writer, and do not necessarily represent APN's views and policy positions.

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Legislative Round-Up: October 29, 2021

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Urge your Member of Congress to Call on the Biden Administration to Prevent Settlement Construction in E-1

Israel’s plans to build in the area known as E-1 are putting a future where a secure and democratic Israel lives next to a viable independent Palestine at grave risk.

Israel’s Civil Administration is currently holding hearings to review objections to settlement plans in E-1. This is one of the few remaining stages before settlement construction will be allowed to commence.

There’s a reason the proposed settlements in E-1 have been called “doomsday settlements.” If Israel allows the plans to be enacted it would threaten the territorial contiguity necessary for a viable independent Palestinian state by dividing the north of the West Bank from the south, as well as the West Bank from East Jerusalem. E-1 is a vital corridor for Palestinian communal life, connecting Ramallah and the northern West Bank to Bethlehem and the southern West Bank. 

Our colleagues at Peace Now have filed objections to the plans in Israel, and now it is our turn to back them up. Representative Mark Pocan is leading a letter urging the Biden Administration to weigh in and use diplomatic pressure to halt Israel’s approval process of E-1 settlements.

This action closed on Friday, November 19.

Representative Pocan to Secretary Blinken on E-1 Settlements

The Honorable Antony J. Blinken Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20520

 

Dear Secretary Blinken:

We write to express our immense concern about the Israeli Government’s efforts to approve settlement construction in the 12 square-kilometer E-1 area near Jerusalem in the West Bank.

Israeli settlements in the West Bank further entrench the occupation and undermine the prospects of a two-state solution. Settlements diminish the viability of a contiguous Palestinian state, thereby also threatening the future of a negotiated two-state solution that guarantees the civil and political rights, safety, and self-determination of both peoples. Furthermore, settlements are a violation of Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention which prohibits the transfer of civilians by an occupying power into the territory it occupies.

Prior to the Trump presidency, U.S. Administrations from both parties have held that Israeli settlements in the West Bank are “inconsistent with international law” in accordance with 1978 U.S. State Department guidance. Unfortunately, there was a 28 percent increase in West Bank settlement construction during the previous Administration.1 The recent efforts by the Israeli Government to advance the approval to build 3,400 housing units in the highly sensitive area known as E-1 pose an irreconcilable challenge to a lasting peace solution between Israel and the Palestinians. Frozen for years, plans to build settlements in E-1 have been referred to as “doomsday settlements” because they would threaten the territorial contiguity necessary for a viable independent Palestinian state by dividing the north of the West Bank from the south, as well as the West Bank from East Jerusalem. E-1 is a vital corridor for Palestinian communal life, connecting Ramallah and the northern West Bank to Bethlehem and the southern West Bank.

To ensure the prospects of peace we urge the State Department to exert diplomatic pressure to prevent settlement construction in E-1. In addition, we request an update regarding the State Department’s steps to discourage the advancement of settlements in E-1 by December 15, 2021.

Sincerely,

Mark Pocan Member of Congress

1 https://apnews.com/article/joe-biden-donald-trump-israel-iran-nuclear-west-bank- afda64d2a213cb8de2ce72e46fe3385f

Speak Out to Protect Palestinian Civil Society

Last week, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz declared that six prominent Palestinian rights groups — Al Haq; Addameer; Defense For Children International-Palestine; Bisan; the Union of Agricultural Work Committees; and the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees — were “terrorist organizations.” 

As the Association of Civil Rights in Israel notes, “neither evidence nor proof of the serious charge have been provided.” Unfortunately, Palestinian civil society and human rights organizations have long faced such spurious accusations from certain Israeli politicians and right-wing commentators. But the consequences of these designations from the Defense Ministry are much more severe and alarming. Employees, activists, donors, and others affiliated with these organizations are now potentially subject to prosecution. 

We, the undersigned, support the two-state solution. We want to see a safe, secure, and democratic Israel living side-by-side with a viable and independent Palestine. While we believe that negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian leadership remain the best possible path to ending the occupation, we also state unequivocally that Palestinians have a right to nonviolently resist and oppose the occupation. 

The organizations targeted by the Defense Ministry are doing just that. While we may not agree with every single statement and objective of these groups, we cannot afford to be silent in light of this naked attempt at suppression. Supporters of a liberal and democratic Israel have an obligation to speak out against this decision.

We call on the Israeli government to reverse the designations, and for Israel’s friends and allies in the world to actively encourage it to do so.

Sign the Petition!

Legislative Round-Up: October 25, 2021

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Hard Questions, Tough Answers: Israel and the global climate crisis (October 25, 2021)

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Yossi Alpher is an independent security analyst. He is the former director of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University, a former senior official with the Mossad, and a former IDF intelligence officer. Views and positions expressed here are those of the writer, and do not necessarily represent APN's views and policy positions.

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Hard Questions, Tough Answers: Shrinking the conflict? (October 18, 2021)

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Yossi Alpher is an independent security analyst. He is the former director of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University, a former senior official with the Mossad, and a former IDF intelligence officer. Views and positions expressed here are those of the writer, and do not necessarily represent APN's views and policy positions.

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Legislative Round-Up: October 15, 2021

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