Following news today of the Netanyahu administration’s evacuations and demolition of Palestinian homes in the West Bank village of Sur Baher on the outskirts of East Jerusalem, J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami issued the following statement:
“The Netanyahu government’s forced evictions and demolitions of Palestinian homes this Monday is devastating for the families and homeowners of Sur Baher, undercuts the prospects for a two-state solution and is not compatible with Israel’s obligations under international law. These demolitions are yet another example of how the far-right has weaponized building permits in East Jerusalem and is seeking to advance an agenda of ‘creeping annexation’ in the West Bank which aims to restrict and demolish Palestinian communities and undermine the terms of any future peace agreement.
This is an agenda which weakens Israel’s important security relationship with the Palestinian Authority and, by laying the groundwork for annexation of the West Bank, jeopardizes Israel’s future as a democratic homeland for the Jewish people. That these demolitions occurred across the Green Line and in Area A of the West Bank, which is ostensibly administered by the Palestinian Authority, makes this all the more concerning.
As American Jews, we must also be clear that the Trump administration has encouraged and enabled the advance of this destructive agenda in Israel. Trump’s unilateral recognition of Jerusalem and Ambassador David Friedman’s starring role in a recent East Jerusalem settlement group event has sent a clear message that the Trump White House has no respect for the rights or legitimacy of Palestinians in East Jerusalem — or for decades of bipartisan US foreign policy. By embracing the most extreme elements of the settlement movement, the Trump administration has written Netanyahu a blank check which backs exactly the type of destructive, unilateral action seen on the outskirts of East Jerusalem this week.”