Washington, DC – Americans for Peace Now (APN) joins its Israeli sister organization, Shalom Achshav (Peace Now) in strongly condemning the Israeli government’s decision to take over West Bank Palestinian absentee land east of the Palestinian city of Ramallah, apparently in order to relocate Israeli settlers who have been evacuated from the illegal outpost of Amona.
APN calls on the Obama administration to weigh in and reverse the Israeli government’s decision to rebuild Amona, a West Bank outpost built in violation of Israeli law, without official government authorization, on land privately owned by Palestinians. Rebuilding the outpost, which was removed ten years ago amidst severe violent resistance by the settlers, sends a terrible message about the Israeli government’s respect for the rule of law and for efforts to achieve Israeli-Palestinian peace.
The takeover was announced today in an ad in the Palestinian newspaper al-Quds, on behalf of the Israeli Government’s Custodian of Absentee Property.
Commenting on the unusual move, Peace Now today stated: “This is the crossing of a red line and a reversal of previous policies, including Likud governments' policies, according to which private lands cannot be used for the purpose of settlement. There is no dispute that Absentees' lands are private property and using them for the purpose of settlement will be considered illegal by legal advisers in Israel and abroad. In order to compensate a small group of settlers who stole private Palestinian lands, the Israeli government itself is now stealing private lands as well. The government's willingness to politically compensate the settlers of Amona is leading to devastating consequences on the ground and to the distortion of Israel's moral and legal systems."