The Israeli Knesset is poised to vote on a government-backed bill to retroactively “legalize” some 16 West Bank settlements built without government approval.
Most of these outposts were built on private Palestinian land but the legislation outrageously supports the theft of this land and bans its rightful owners from accessing it or using it.
This move is not only illegal under international law but it is also profoundly unjust under any system of justice. It would be difficult to argue against those who describe it as blatantly racist.
Even Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit, a government appointee, opposes the legislation, dubbed the regularization bill. Justice Ministry officials say he is not prepared to defend it against the legal challenges that will no doubt ensue.
The fact that this bill is being brought to a vote within days of the Trump administration taking office shows that Prime Minister Netanyahu and his ultra-nationalist allies no longer fear US opposition to their settlement drive. They clearly do not care that Israel is isolating itself from many of its friends around the world and driving the country down a path that ends with total control of the West Bank and makes a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict nearly impossible.
J Street urges American vocal and urgent opposition not simply to any one piece of legislation, one particular settlement announcement or one particular home demolition but to the entirety of this enterprise that threatens the long-term security, democratic character and Jewish nature of the state of Israel.
Without a serious international outcry demanding a halt to the deepening occupation and creeping annexation, the project of creating a democratic nation-state of the Jewish people in the land of Israel is at risk.