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13 October 2021

Dear Friends,

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. 

In solidarity,
Ir Amim Staff

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