APN urges Trump block “Legalization” of West Bank Settlements
Americans for Peace Now is urging President Donald Trump to stop impending wholesale “Legalization” of West Bank Settlement & Outposts
Washington, DC The government of Israel seems to be on the verge of legalizing scores of illegal settlement-outposts in the West Bank and making it dramatically easier for Israeli settlers to construct more such outposts on privately-owned Palestinian land.
APN is alarmed by these dangerous developments. We call on the Trump administration, as well as friends of Israel in the United States and worldwide, to tell Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that more West Bank settlements are not the answer to terrorism and that they further jeopardize Israeli-Palestinian peace.
In reaction to murderous terrorist attacks targeting West Bank Jewish settlers and Israeli soldiers, the government of Israel has come under pressure from the settlers to exact retribution against Palestinians. Two of the measures adopted are bound to open the floodgates for the legalization of existing settlement-outposts and the establishment of new ones.
Outposts are constructed by settlers without authorization of the Israeli government, in violation of Israeli law, and often on land owned privately by Palestinians. Most legal experts worldwide agree that all West Bank settlements are illegal under international law.
The two measures are:
• A bill that would legalize (“regularize”) as many as 66 illegal outposts, almost all of them located deep inside the West Bank, far from the 1967 lines, in areas that according to all past plans and draft agreements would become part of the future Palestinian state. The bill was drafted by extreme right-wing MK Bezalel Smotrich of the Jewish Home Party. Endorsed unanimously by the government’s Committee on Legislation, it is almost certain to pass the Knesset.
• A legal opinion by Israel’s Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit to approve a doctrine known as “Market Regulation.” This doctrine would permit expropriating land in the West Bank from Palestinian landowners (and financially compensating them) in cases where the land was taken from its owners “in good faith” (i.e. settlers claim they did not know that the land belonged to Palestinians). Implementing the doctrine, as AG Mandelblit indicated he is about to do, would allow the government to legalize settler homes illegally built on privately-owned Palestinian land, even without dedicated legislation.
For more about these two developments and their repercussions, see the background and analysis of our Israeli sister-organization, Shalom Achshav (Peace Now).
Ray Hanania is an award winning political and humor columnist who analyzes American and Middle East politics, and life in general. He is an author of several books.
Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. He began writing in 1975 publishing The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper (2004-2007).
Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues as Special US Correspondent for the Arab News ArabNews.com, at TheArabDailyNews.com, and at SuburbanChicagoland.com. He has published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper, YNetNews.com, Newsday, the Orlando Sentinel, Houston Chronical, and Arlington Heights Daily Herald.
Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media. In 2009, Hanania received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.
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