Open Letter to PM Netanyahu says controversial settlement expansion could be ‘final blow to a peaceful solution’
WASHINGTON—More than four hundred US rabbis, cantors, rabbinical students and cantorial students are expressing grave concern about Israel’s plans to advance the construction of settlements in the controversial E1 area of the West Bank and authorizing thousands of new housing units in East Jerusalem.
In an open letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the rabbis, cantors, and students warn that the move undermines the territorial contiguity of the future Palestinian state and the prospects for reaching a two-state solution, while damaging US-Israel relations.
“We fear that building settlements in E1 would be the final blow to a peaceful solution,” the letter warns.
The letter also expresses concern that “the current situation in the occupied territories violates Palestinian human rights and undercuts the very values on which Israel was founded – democracy, liberty, justice, and peace.”
The full text and list of signers to date can be found here.
The letter responds to Israeli government decisions announced the day after the United Nations General Assembly voted to upgrade the status of Palestine to that of non-voting state.
Construction in E1 would violate repeated commitments that Israeli governments have made to the United States since 1994 not to build there.
Thus far, the letter has been signed by more than 400 rabbis from 38 states and the District of Columbia. The majority of the signers are congregational leaders.
Americans for Peace Now, J Street and Rabbis for Human Rights-North America coordinated the appeal.
More details on the planned construction in the E1 area and its implications for the two-state resolution can be found at http://goo.gl/gPV5u.