In response to a series of actions taken by the Netanyahu-Gantz government in recent weeks, including home demolitions, forced evictions and new settlement approvals in Givat Hamatos and E-1 meant to secure “facts on the ground” and prevent the successful pursuit of a two-state future for Israelis and Palestinians, the Progressive Israel Network issued the following statement.
We are alarmed by the recent set of moves by the government of Israel to initiate settlement projects and take other provocative and harmful actions in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, including home demolitions and forced evictions, which further damage the possibility of a negotiated future two-state solution. It is clear that the Netanyahu government is trying to exploit the outgoing Trump Administration’s wholehearted embrace of Israel’s settlement enterprise in order to further erase the distinction between Israel and the territory it occupies. The recent announcement of the Israeli government’s approval of tenders for new construction in the planned settlement of Givat Hamatos and statutory approval for the construction of E-1 are particularly harmful. These settlement projects have the strategic objective of cutting off Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem from the West Bank city of Bethlehem, seriously undermining the prospects of establishing a contiguous Palestinian state alongside Israel.
This effort to create new “facts on the ground” in the West Bank are meant to salt the earth for future negotiations and could cause serious tensions between Israel and the United States in the early days of a Biden-Harris Administration. This ongoing and illegal process of de facto annexation will only deepen the conflict and push Israelis and Palestinians further towards a permanent and unequal one-state reality.
After four years of overt encouragement by the Trump Administration of Israel’s expansionist settler movement, the Biden-Harris Administration must do everything it can to reverse these harmful steps, to revive the prospect of a just and durable two-state solution, and realign U.S. foreign policy with the values of human dignity, equality and peace.