J Street strongly opposes the Government of Israel’s decision to move ahead with 3,300 new housing units in the West Bank. Not just this announcement – but the ongoing program of expanding Israeli settlement beyond the Green Line – demands a stern US response that goes beyond routine statements of disapproval.
The United States has been issuing such statements for decades with no appreciable impact on the settler movement’s drive to expand its presence in the West Bank. Settler leaders, including ministers in today’s Israeli government, have one clear objective: to destroy hopes of ever achieving a two-state solution.
Housing Minister Uri Ariel of the “Jewish Home” Party, which favors annexing most of the West Bank, cast this most recent decision as a response to the formation of a technocratic Palestinian interim government reuniting the West Bank and Gaza, calling it “an appropriate Zionist response.”
We, however, agree with Justice Minister Tzipi Livni who said, “This isn’t a punishment against Hamas, it’s a punishment that the Jewish Home has imposed upon the citizens of Israel.”
This conflict can only be resolved through a two-state solution based on the 1967 lines with agreed-upon land swaps. Once an agreement is implemented, Israel can build to the extent it pleases within what will be legitimate and internationally recognized borders.
The time has come to recognize and deal with settlement expansion as the existential threat it is to the very core of Zionism, putting at risk Israel’s survival as the secure and democratic national home for the Jewish people.