WASHINGTON–An urgent new statement is the latest indication of mounting alarm in Congress over the Netanyahu government’s policies of demolitions, displacement and settlement expansion in the West Bank.
In a joint statement, US Representatives Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), John Yarmuth (KY-03), Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Mark Pocan (WI-02), David Price (NC-04), Peter Welch (VT-At Large), Barbara Lee (CA-13) and Keith Ellison (MN-05) expressed strong opposition to the Israeli government’s imminent plans to demolish the Palestinian village of Khan al-Ahmar.
Under the cover of the US holiday on July 4, Israeli authorities dispatched bulldozers to Khan al-Ahmar to begin preparing the way for its demolition and the eviction of its residents. While the Israeli Supreme Court has issued a temporary stay, the demolition could move forward within weeks.
The representatives write that forcible evictions of Palestinian communities “unilaterally change facts on the ground and jeopardize the prospects of a two-state solution. This endangers Israel’s future as a Jewish democracy and prohibitively impacts Palestinian’s national aspirations.”
Beyond the devastation for residents, the demolition would also strike a major blow to prospects for a two-state solution and a peaceful future for Israelis and Palestinians. Destroying the village would help pave the way for the settlement movement to achieve its aim of cutting off East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank — a massive obstacle to the eventual creation of a Palestinian state.
In May, 76 Representatives, led by Reps. Schakowsky and Yarmuth, sent a letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu warning that “The forcible eviction of Palestinian communities and the expansion of settlements in areas of the West Bank, which would become part of a future Palestinian state, abandon our two countries’ shared values of justice and respect for human rights.” That followed on a similar letter from ten US senators, led by Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT), sent in November 2017.
With time running out, lawmakers and Jewish communal leaders who support a two-state solution must add their voices to those who are already speaking out against the demolition of Khan al-Ahmar. Pro-Israel Americans must make clear that the actions of Prime Minister Netanyahu and the settlement movement are endangering Israel’s future as a democratic homeland for the Jewish people.