Settlement Movement’s Growing Power in Israeli and US Policy-Making is Dangerous for Israel

December 6, 2016

Legislation that passed the Knesset on Monday to “legalize” illegal settlements is part of a larger pattern of deepening settlement and occupation of the West Bank that Israel’s friends must oppose.

Israel’s settler movement – representing a small percentage of Israel’s citizens – has managed to take control of political parties, the governing coalition and governmental institutions. It is 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.  

The majority of Israelis and their friends and family around the world must make clear that these developments must stop if Israel is to have a realistic chance at separating from the Palestinian people into two states.

Now, with the settlement movement’s best friends in the United States coming to power in the circles around Donald Trump, the settlers may be on the verge of exerting disproportionate and damaging influence on US and Israeli policy toward the West Bank.

We call on friends of Israel in the United States to respond with appropriate alarm not simply to this latest legislative action but to the totality of developments on the West Bank in recent years.

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.  And the cause of its demise will not be external enemies and threats – of which there are many – but the extreme, unwise and illegal activities of a zealous minority.

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