J Street's Jeremy Ben-Ami Responds to Ulpana Evacuation and West Bank Settlement Announcements

June 7th, 2012

J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami issued the following statement in response to this week’s developments concerning Israeli settlements in the West Bank:

"This week saw several important developments—some positive, others deeply troubling— regarding Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

“J Street was heartened by Prime Minister Netanyahu’s decision to comply with the order of the Israeli Supreme Court to remove settlement homes built illegally on privately-owned Palestinian land at Ulpana Hill. J Street also applauds the Prime Minister’s opposition and the Knesset’s rejection of a bill to retroactively legalize other illegally constructed settlement houses in the West Bank. These decisions fortify the rule of law in Israel, which is a cornerstone of its democracy and Jewish values.

“Yet J Street is profoundly disappointed by the government’s decision to approve the construction of more than 850 new settlement houses, including many outside of the major settlement blocks. Such moves contravene Israel’s obligations and prior commitments under the Roadmap, and undermine efforts toward the two-state resolution which is essential to Israel’s security and survival as a democratic homeland for the Jewish people. We also believe that Prime Minister Netanyahu's assertion that “no other government would ever support the settlement movement more than the government [he is] leading,” is deeply disconcerting with respect to prospects for reaching a two-state agreement. J Street continues to urge both Israeli and the Palestinian leaders to refrain from actions which negatively alter the facts on the ground and otherwise damage the prospects for peace.”