Americans for Peace Now (APN) is alarmed at the Israeli government's advancement of three new settlement initiatives around East Jerusalem, which would deny contiguity to a future Palestinian state.
These are plans that in the past were blocked by US administrations, both Republican and Democratic. Now -- less than a week before Israel's general elections, and as a joint Israeli-American committee starts discussing the status of West Bank settlements – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is going ahead with the most consequential settlement plan in years.
APN calls on fellow American Jewish organizations to join its condemnation of these plans and to urge Prime Minister Netanyahu to reverse these plans and thus keep the door open for a future two-state solution.
The plans are for new settlement construction in three locations, to the north south and east of Jerusalem, which will cut East Jerusalem from its West Bank environs, and deny contiguity to a future Palestinian state.
In the north, there is a newly announced Jerusalem Municipality plan for a 9,000 housing-unit settlement at the site of the Qalandia (Atarot) Airport, which will be wedged between Palestinian neighborhoods and breaks the contiguity between East Jerusalem and Ramallah. See the details here
In the south, there is a new plan, announced earlier this week by Netanyahu's government, for a 1,077 housing unit settlement project in Givat Hamatos, which would entrap the Palestinian East Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Safafa, and, along with the adjacent Har Homa settlement, sever the territorial contiguity of the Jerusalem-Bethlehem metropolitan area. For more details see here
In the East, Prime Minister Netanyahu today announced that he gave a directive to advance plans for 3,500 units in the area known as E1, the narrow corridor that extends between East Jerusalem and the large settlement of Maale Adumim. E1 has been a red line for past US administrations, which vetoed past Israeli government plans to build there. This strip of land is the only land corridor connecting the northern and southern West Bank. Building in E1 would sever this territorial connection, torpedoing the possibility for a viable Palestinian state, if Israel insists on retaining the land. For more on this plan, see here
APN joins its Israeli sister organization, Shalom Achshav (Peace Now) in calling these plans "a national disaster that must be stopped." We call on Netanyahu to reverse these plans.
APN calls on fellow American Jewish organizations, including mainstream groups that claim to endorse the two-state solution, to join our call. For sake of future Israeli-Palestinian peace, Netanyahu must cancel these disastrous plans.