Americans for Peace Now (APN) urges the Biden administration to block Israel’s planned construction of 4,000 more homes in West Bank settlements.
The plan, publicly announced today by the Civil Administration, Israel’s governing occupation authority in the West Bank, includes 25 settlements, most of them deep inside the West Bank. The Civil Administration’s planning committee is expected to approve the plans this coming Thursday. It will be one of the largest single batches of settlement construction authorization in recent history.
According to Israeli media reports, the timing and scope of the planned construction was coordinated with the Biden administration. Some reports note that the intention is to approve the construction well in advance of President Biden’s planned visit to Israel, in about a month, so it does not overshadow his visit. Israeli news outlets report that the Israeli government and the Biden administration agreed to disagree on the planned construction.
APN’s President and CEO Hadar Susskind said: “The White House must block these plans. It is not enough to object or condemn. It is incumbent on the administration to weigh in and stop this provocative, anti-peace step. US administrations, Democratic and Republican, have always held that West Bank settlements are politically illegitimate because they prejudge the final status of the West Bank. Past administrations have for more than two decades envisioned the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as the future state of Palestine. West Bank settlements have been used by Israeli politicians as a tool to either torpedo Palestinian statehood or to prejudge the future contours of a Palestinian state. President Biden must not lend his hand to such a disastrous policy.
“The United States government is not a neutral observer. It has regional interests, and Israeli-Palestinian peace is one of them. Furthermore, the US government has leverage, which it has used in the past, to influence the government of Israel to pursue responsible policies and not undermine American interests. This is why APN supports conditioning US aid to Israel. American taxpayer foreign aid should not be used to undermine American foreign policy objectives. Whether it is financial aid, diplomatic support, or other leverage that the US routinely uses to advance its interests, this White House – like others in the past – has the tools to influence the government of Israel to stop the settlement madness.”
APN joins its Israeli sister organization, Shalom Achshav, in urging pro-peace members of Israel’s governing coalition to use their influence to block further settlement construction in the West Bank.