Statement on new Israeli settlement construction

September 4, 2009

Today, J Street Executive Director Jeremy Ben-Ami released the following statement:

J Street is deeply dismayed by reports of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s planned approval of additional settlement construction in the West Bank. We share President Obama’s concern that continued settlement growth will make it impossible to achieve a negotiated, peaceful two-state solution to the conflict, which is critical to Israel’s future as a Jewish, democratic homeland. It is only with the establishment of permanent and recognized borders as part of a comprehensive peace agreement that we best serve the long-term interests of Israel, the Palestinians and the United States. As the United States works to re-launch negotiations, we urge all sides to support these efforts by fulfilling their obligations – including an Israeli settlement freeze, Palestinian steps to end incitement and violence, and Arab moves toward normalization with Israel.  When any side takes unilateral steps that undermine US efforts to resolve the conflict, they not only hinder the chances of peace and their own interests, but also hurt American credibility and interests in the region. President Obama’s efforts to halt Israeli settlement construction and restart talks have widespread support in the American Jewish community.  Some 60 percent of American Jews strongly oppose the expansion of settlements, recognizing such actions as detrimental to peace efforts.  69 percent of American Jews firmly support active American engagement in bringing about a two-state solution and regional, comprehensive peace, even if it means publicly disagreeing with or pushing both sides to fulfill their obligations under the Road Map.