JJP wrote to the new Foreign Secretary to urge her to tell Israel there would be severe consequences if it proceeded with settlement building in the E1 area of the West Bank. The strategic significance of E1 is well known.
The UK and several other countries have been preventing Israel from building there for the last 15 years.
Our letter and the Ir Amim and Peace Now e-mail are below:
Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss 24 October 2021
Dear Ms. Truss,
The Israeli government is now progressing plans to build 3,400 settlement housing units in the E1 area of the West Bank. As your Middle East staff will have told you, E1 is of the utmost strategic importance in keeping the possibility of a contiguous Palestinian state alive. If Israel is allowed to proceed, it will bisect the West Bank form North to South and thereby destroy the possibility of creating an independent, contiguous Palestinian state.
For 15 years, western governments, including the United States and the UK, have made clear to Israeli governments that there will be severe consequences for Israel if there is any settlement building in E1. The last such demarche, delivered by the UK and other European govrnements, was in August 2020. So far, that clarity of purpose has been successful.
We urge you, together with like-minded European governments, to make this clear once again to your Israeli counterpart, Yair Lapid. We woiuld be grateful if you would please tell us what action you will be taking.
In the longer term, we urge you join with other governments in telling Israel that it will face increasingly severe consequences unless it negotiates in good faith to end the 54-year long occupation and settlement of the occupied Palestinian Territories. Security Council Resolution 2334, passed in December 2016, provides a basis for action.
Please find overleaf the e-mail about the E1 issue sent by the Israeli NGOs, Ir Amim and Peace Now.
Parliamentary and Diplomatic Liaison Officer
James Cleverly, Minister of State
Ir Amim and Peace Now e-mail text
Dear Friends, 13.10.2021
Next Monday, October 18, the Supreme Planning Council of the Civil Administration will discuss objections submitted against the plans for the construction of thousands of housing units in E1- an initiative furthered by Netanyahu towards the end of his premiership. The plan is considered especially lethal to the two-state solution as building in the E1 area will bisect the West Bank for Palestinians and detach it from East Jerusalem, foiling the possibility of it ever serving as a future Palestinian capital.
Promoting this plan would mean the abandonment of the two-state solution as it furthers in practice measures of de facto annexation of “Greater Jerusalem,” which includes the E1 area. It bears reminding that Israel’s new ‘government of change’ was built on the basis of maintaining a political status quo.
Israeli construction in E1 means crossing a red line!
E1 is beyond the Green Line, mere kilometers (miles) from East Jerusalem, yet stretching 10km (6 mi) into the West Bank
E1 is an open area that can be utilized for prospective Palestinian development and currently serves as a vital corridor for Palestinian communal life, connecting Ramallah and the northern West Bank to Bethlehem and the southern West Bank, and likewise between all of these areas and East Jerusalem.
Building in E1 would be the most tangible expression of Israel turning its back on the two-state solution.
Implementation of this destructive plan for building 3400 housing units would split the West Bank into two, and would prevent the development of a central metropolitan area between Ramallah, East Jerusalem, and Bethlehem.
Authorizing the plans in E1, as promoted by outgoing Prime Minister Netanyahu with the backing of the Trump Administration, would lead to Israel solidifying indefinite control over millions of Palestinians with no guarantee of provision of civil rights – in essence, de facto annexation with moves towards a further apartheid–like reality.
Israeli construction in E1 would lead to a forced separation between the north and south of the West Bank, which would severely harm sustainable Palestinian life and the chance for a stable and fair agreement to the conflict. It would likewise sever territorial contiguity between East Jerusalem and the West Bank necessary for a viable independent Palestinian state with a capital in East Jerusalem.
Building thousands of housing units in E1 would also lead to the displacement of the Bedouin communities who currently live in this area, the most well-known of which is Khan al Ahmar.
After years of being frozen, the E1 plans were authorized for deposit by Netanyahu in an unprecedented and abrupt manner, taking place in the tail-end of Israel’s third election campaign in 2020. Promoting E1 will only serve to return Israel to a dangerous policy that Netanyahu created when he was afraid of losing power.
Along with other partners, Peace Now and Ir Amim have filed objections to the E1 plan, which will be among those discussed at the meeting on October 18. Additionally, Ir Amim and Peace Now have launched an email campaign (for Israeli citizens only) calling on the Israeli public to pressure Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Alternate Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Yair Lapid to suspend the plans, and prove to them that the majority of Israelis are determined to fight for peace and for a political agreement based on the two-state solution.
Ministers Lapid and Gantz can and must act to halt these plans and fully take them off the table.
Ir Amim and Peace Now