This groundbreaking report shatters the oft-repeated claim that settlements are built exclusively on public lands or on land privately owned by Jews.
The media whirlwind surrounding this report has just begun. See the front page story in the New York Times with additional articles appearing in the Washington Post, Washington Times, BBC, the Times of London, Ynet, Ha'aretz, Jerusalem Post, Voice of America, and more.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - November 21, 2006
CONTACT: Ori Nir - (202) 728-1893
Washington, D.C.- Israel's Peace Now movement today released a report showing that vast portions of Israeli settlements in the West Bank are built on land which the Israeli government recognizes as privately owned by Palestinians.
This groundbreaking report shatters the oft-repeated claim that settlements are built exclusively on public lands or on land privately owned by Jews. The findings also present a significant legal problem for the settlements. The Israeli High Court of Justice has a long established precedent that privately owned lands cannot be used for settlement construction.
"For decades, American administrations opposed Israeli construction in the West Bank because settlements are a political impediment to any future Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement. The report published by Peace Now reveals that settlements are not only a disaster politically. They are also acts of large-scale land theft, and American policy must respond to this revelation," said Debra DeLee, APN's President and CEO.
APN, a Jewish, Zionist organization dedicated to enhancing Israel's security through peace and to supporting the Israeli Peace Now movement, has long challenged the settlements as an impediment to Israel's long-term security.
The data regarding land ownership used in the report is based exclusively on official Israeli government sources.
The report's principal findings are that:
- Palestinians privately own nearly 40% of the land on which all of the settlements have been built.
- Palestinians privately own over 40% of the land in settlements located west of the security barrier in "settlement blocs," which many believe Israel plans on annexing, including 86.4% of Ma'ale Adumim, 44.5% of Giv'at Zeev, 47.7% of Kedumim, and 35.1% of Ariel.
"Construction on private Palestinian land adds criminal insult to the political injury that West Bank settlements represent. Friends of Israel should be embarrassed - as are we - that the government of Israel would be involved in such wholesale theft of private land," DeLee said. "This upsetting revelation should encourage the government of Israel to adhere to its commitments and cease all settlement activity. It should also propel the Bush administration to work with Israel on doing so. The time has come for the United States to finally hold Israel to its longstanding commitment to freeze all settlement activity and remove the outposts established since March 2001," DeLee added.
For a short version of the report please go to: http://www.peacenow.org/images/112106PNReport.pdf
For a version that includes aerial photographs (PDF file; 9.5 MB) please call Ori Nir: (202) 728-1893