Members of Congress Should Visit Settlement Construction Sites, Observe First-Hand Damage Done to Two-State Prospects

August 16, 2011

J Street strongly opposes the Israeli government’s announcement of new housing development in the outlying settlement of Ariel.

In calling the new housing “unhelpful” or “counterproductive,” the Obama administration is understating the enormous damage that daily announcements of new settlement construction are doing to the chances for a two-state solution.

This month, over 80 Members of Congress are visiting Israel. We urge them to see – as their fellow Congressmen who visit the region with the J Street Education Fund do – the damage that ongoing settlement construction in places like Ariel or the Jerusalem suburbs over the Green Line are doing to the chances for a peaceful two-state solution.

These announcements constitute exactly the sort of unilateral action that undercut Israel’s argument that the Palestinians should refrain from unilateral steps such as appealing to the United Nations as they try to create a viable state on the West Bank.

We urge the Members of Congress visiting Israel to gain further first-hand knowledge of the situation on the ground by visiting the expanding settlements and to take advantage of the opportunity they have in meeting with Israeli officials on their trip to make clear America’s long-standing opposition to these developments.