Israel Policy Forum (IPF) expresses its dismay and concern over the Israeli government’s announcement yesterday of 3,000 new settlement units in the West Bank, in addition to the 2,500 new units announced last week. Accelerating settlement activity in the West Bank is most unhelpful to a two-state solution and unwise in the current uncertain geopolitical environment, before the Israeli government has ascertained what policy stances the Trump administration will take. It is also grossly inappropriate as a political response to the execution of the High Court’s decree ordering the evacuation and dismantlement of the illegal Amona outpost, which took place yesterday, and evinces rank opportunism and political cynicism that will damage Israel’s long-term interests. Similarly, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s announced intention to build an altogether new settlement to replace Amona will further harm the prospects of two states, and will incentivize more illegal building in the West Bank in contravention of the Knesset’s own laws and the High Court’s judicial rulings in setting the example that illegal construction will only lead to legal and larger settlements.

In addition, the recent announcements of new housing units include construction that will be concentrated outside of the settlement blocs, which is particularly damaging to the prospects of two states. It calls into question Israel’s commitment to the eventual establishment of a viable Palestinian state, and it will exact a greater financial and emotional toll in the future when such settlements must be evacuated.

We respectfully urge the Israeli government to rethink its current settlement policies and refrain from damaging the prospects for a Jewish and democratic Israel within secure borders.

Israel Policy Forum

Israel Policy Forum was founded in 1993 to build support in the American Jewish community and in Washington for the diplomatic vision of the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.