Montreal, November 4, 2013 — Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East urges both the Harper government and the Opposition parties to take a strong stance against the dramatic wave of settlement expansions announced last week by Israel. According to Israeli newspaper Haaretz, the settlement approvals include both implementation of previously expansion plans plus completely new initiatives. “If Canada’s federal parties are still committed to the ‘two-state solution’ to the conflict, or indeed to any negotiated solution, they must vigorously oppose these plans,” warns CJPME President Thomas Woodley. Although both the US State Department and the UN Secretary General condemned the plans, announced October 30, Canada has remained silent. CJPME reminds MPs that establishing settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories violates international law.
According to government announcements last week, Israel will implement a controversial prior plan to build 1,500 new housing units in Ramat Shlomo, beyond the Green Line in northeastern Jerusalem, occupied Palestinian territory. It is also issuing tenders for the immediate construction of 860 new housing units in several larger settlement blocs, in addition to 2,500 more housing units in smaller settlement blocs.
Israel will also establish a national park on the slopes of MountScopus, between the Palestinian neighborhoods of Isawiyah and A-Tur, on land previously allocated for those neighborhoods’ expansion. According to Haaretz, employees of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority recently admitted that the park’s real purpose was to block construction in the Palestinian neighborhoods.
“Sadly these most recent announcements entrench the impression that, rather than being serious about reaching a negotiated settlement with the Palestinians, the Israelis simply want to illegally confiscate more Palestinian land, and displace the Palestinians living there,” concluded Woodley. The wave of announcements provoked an internal crisis in the PLO, with senior PLO officials threatening to resign if the PLO did not pull out of peace negotiations. However, although the PLO’s peace negotiators condemned the announcements, they have not yet followed through on threats to pull out of the US-sponsored negotiations.
About CJPME – Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) is a non-profit and secular organization bringing together men and women of all backgrounds who labour to see justice and peace take root again in the Middle East. Its mission is to empower decision-makers to view all sides with fairness and to promote the equitable and sustainable development of the region.
For more information, please contact Patricia Jean, 438 380 5410
Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East www.cjpme.org
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