New Har Homa Settlement Expansion Undermines New Peace Efforts and
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (December 6, 2007)
Contact: Rafi Dajani
Washington, DC, December 6 -- The American Task Force on Palestine
(ATFP) expressed grave concern today about reports that the Israeli
government has invited bids to build more than 300 new housing units in
the Har Homa settlement in occupied East Jerusalem.
Both Israelis and Palestinians had committed at the Annapolis meeting to
immediately begin implementing their Roadmap obligations, of which an
Israeli settlement freeze including natural growth is a key part. ATFP
urges the Bush Administration to use its good offices to ensure that
this new settlement construction program does not go forward, and that
neither side take steps to jeopardize re-launched peace efforts or
undermine final status negotiations scheduled to begin on December 12.
serious opportunity for progress towards peace has been created at
Annapolis and we urge all parties to refrain from undermining these
hopes by actions inconsistent with peace. The expansion of the Har Homa
settlement in occupied East Jerusalem is precisely such an action and
will only serve to undermine upcoming peace negotiations.”
Dr. Asali continued, “East Jerusalem is occupied territory and subject
to a politically negotiated return. Israeli actions beginning with the
annexation of East Jerusalem and continuing through settlement building
do not establish Israeli sovereignty there. Now is the time for all
parties to work together to seize the opportunity created at Annapolis
and build momentum to ensure the success of final status negotiations
leading to a fulfilling of President George W. Bush’s vision of a
Palestinian state living alongside Israel in peace.“
ATFP reaffirmed that the future of Jerusalem should be negotiated based
on the following principles:
1) A resolution of the issue of Jerusalem can only come about through
direct negotiations between Israeli and Palestinian officials as an
expression of their national policies.
2) Jerusalem is a central part of the present and futures of both
Palestinian and Israeli societies, and is holy to Jews, Christians and
Muslims around the world. Lasting peace can only be achieved by securing
political aspirations of both peoples and religious rights of adherents
to all three religions. The right of access to holy places and the right
of worship in the city must be guaranteed for people of all faiths from
around the world.
3) There can be no monopoly of sovereignty by either party. Jerusalem
should remain shared and undivided. The occupation of Arab East
Jerusalem must end and it should serve as the capital of the future
state of Palestine. West Jerusalem should serve as the capital of Israel.
4) Unilateral measures taken by Israel since 1967 cannot be allowed to
dictate or prejudice the final status of Jerusalem. Such measures
include buildings, confiscation of land, barriers and walls, as well as
political and legal documents.