Stop Demolitions, Build Peace

Zoe Goldblum Image
Zoe Goldblum
on November 12, 2017

At J Street U, we’re leading the pro-Israel, pro-peace, pro-democracy movement in launching a new campaign to help defend the two-state solution and oppose creeping annexation by the settlement movement by standing with vulnerable Palestinian communities in the West Bank.

With the Netanyahu government tacking hard to the right while the Trump administration largely stays silent, it’s no secret that the prospects for a two-state solution are in serious jeopardy. The far-right is trying to pave the way for Israeli annexation of parts of the West Bank — by expanding settlements, and by demolishing and evicting the Palestinian communities that stand in their way.

By destroying communities and potentially leaving thousands of people homeless, these demolitions violate our core values. By severely undermining the possibility of creating a viable independent Palestinian state, they threaten Israel’s future as a secure, democratic homeland for the Jewish people. By entrenching the occupation, they erode the basic principles on which Israel was built.

What’s happening in the West Bank demands the world’s attention. Under the Obama administration, we could hope for US diplomatic leadership to help oppose these kinds of destructive Israeli government actions. But while we can still urge the Trump administration to act, we can’t rely on them.

Now, it’s on all of us in the pro-Israel, pro-peace, pro-democracy movement to step up and raise the alarm about this issue — and to rally our communal leaders and our Members of Congress to push back in order to help these communities and defend the two-state solution.

This year, each of J Street U’s six regions across the country will partner directly with a West Bank Palestinian community facing the threat of demolition.

On campuses across the country, we’ll take actions to support these communities by raising awareness about the threats they face and showing our Jewish community leaders and elected officials that stopping demolitions is key to supporting a better future for Israelis and Palestinians and building peace. We’ll convene calls and conversations with members of these communities and with activists working to oppose occupation and creeping annexation on the ground. And we’ll be joined in this effort by Israeli partners who share our goals and values.

The threats facing these communities are very real — and the Israeli government’s policies of creeping annexation will be hard to stop. But we’ve seen that when we speak out and stand up for what’s right, and work together with both Israelis and Palestinians, we can make an impact.

Over the past year, J Street U and J Street have taken action to defend the Palestinian village of Susya when it faced imminent demolitions and evictions. Thanks in part to our efforts, major voices from Congress and the American Jewish community called on the Israeli government not to demolish the village. Susya’s leaders let us know how grateful they were to us for speaking out and helping them in their battle to keep their homes and their community intact.

Last month, J Street’s Congressional and Leadership delegation to Israel and the Palestinian territory brought leaders of our movement and members of Congress to see the community and meet some of its residents. Below, you can watch a short video about the impact of American engagement on what’s happening on the ground in the West Bank.

Today, Susya still stands — but remains under imminent threat. Later this week, the Israeli government is due to tell the High Court whether it has decided to move forward with Susya’s demolition. Now more than ever, Susya and the many communities like it in the West Bank need our attention and support. Their future is inextricably bound up with the future of Israel and with our hopes for peace and a two-state solution.

J Street U is excited to fight this year for that more peaceful future. We’re ready to show our communities and our elected officials that they cannot stay silent about what’s happening in the West Bank — not when so much is at stake.

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