Recent developments in Israel and the West Bank make it even more urgent for the U.S. Congress to speak out against Israeli settlements, and for a just peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
Since the beginning of this year, the Israeli government has approved over 6,000 new housing units in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. And on February 6 the Israeli Knesset passed a bill retroactively legalizing some settlement outposts built in the West Bank on privately owned Palestinian land. While the bill, which is being challenged in Israeli court, makes these outposts legal under Israeli law, in fact all settlements are illegal under international law.
The rapid expansion of settlements and this latest effort in the Knesset to legitimize some outposts undermine the prospects for a just peace between Israelis and Palestinians. The problems with expanding settlements, however, are not just in diminished prospects for peace. Settlement expansion also means ongoing suffering for Palestinians. As settlements expand, Palestinians are pushed out of their homes and off their lands, homes are demolished, trees are uprooted, and the West Bank is carved up by settler by-pass roads, making travel for Palestinians arduous if not impossible.
Former President Obama urged the Israeli government to stop building settlements in the Occupied Territories seeing them as an obstacle to peace. President Trump has asked the Israeli government to "hold off" on settlement building.
Contact your senators and representative today and ask them to speak out against Israeli settlements and for peace. Let them know you believe an end to settlements will serve the interests of both Israelis and Palestinians by helping lead to a just peace.
For more information:
B’tselem’s response to Regulation Bill: a semblance of legality to ongoing plunder
UPDATED: Israel’s “Formalization Law,” FMEP, Feb. 8, 2017
Explained: Israel’s new Palestinian land-grab law and why it matters, Haaretz, Feb. 7, 2017
Israel Defiantly Cranks West Bank Settlement Plans Into High Gear, NYT, Feb. 1, 2017