J Street Gravely Concerned about Israeli Plans to Expand Housing in Gilo

September 27, 2011

WASHINGTON — J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami issued the following statement in response to the Israeli government’s announcement today of its plans to build 1,100 new housing units in Gilo, a contested Jerusalem neighborhood beyond the Green Line.

J Street is deeply disappointed by Israel’s announcement today of plans to build 1,100 new housing units in Gilo and is gravely concerned that such unilateral moves will further undercut the prospects for achieving a two-state solution at this very politically fraught time.

Why as the international community is working feverishly to restart peace talks following the events last week at the UN would Israel announce such a provocative move?

The time has come to stop counterproductive unilateral actions and return immediately to focused negotiations aimed at reaching agreement on borders and security between Israel and a new Palestinian state – based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed upon land-swaps.

Once a border is set and security arrangements are agreed upon, we are confident that Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem like Gilo will be included within the state of Israel, at which point Israel can build as much or as little as it desires. Until negotiations over the border have been finalized, we urge Israel to delay this and any further construction over the Green Line in the interest of its long-term security and survival as a democracy and as the homeland of the Jewish people.