Bring the West Bank Settlers Home to Israel

Dear Friends of Brit Tzedek,

We are reissuing Brit Tzedek's first national campaign, the Call to Bring the Settlers Home to Israel.  More than 11,000 of you signed on to this important initiative when it first launched in 2003, helping to raise awareness that the vast majority of settlers chose to live in the West Bank and Gaza for "quality of life issues," not ideological or religious ones, and would relocate willingly within the Green Line upon an Israeli government decision to withdraw. This raised the very real possibility that removing one of the greatest obstacles to peace --the settlements--was not only possible, but actually practical. 

Sign the Call today.

The Call was ahead of its time, presaging the precedent set this summer by the successful compensation of settlers from Gaza and four West Bank settlements who voluntarily relocated within Israel. Compensation was accepted by the majority of settlers affected by the pending disengagement, and perhaps more significantly was proposed and carried out by a government headed by Ariel Sharon, the architect of the settlement project. Today, as we focus our energies on ensuring that Gaza marks the first and not the last substantial Israeli disengagement towards the goal of a negotiated, two-state solution, our Call is more relevant than ever.

Therefore, Brit Tzedek is re-issuing a Call to Bring the Settlers Home to Israel. If you did not sign the original Call, please sign now. Your support for the Call to Bring the Settlers Home to Israel is more important now than ever.  

The newly reissued Call to Bring the Settlers Home is a call for the U.S. to spearhead an international effort to establish a fund to provide housing grants to West Bank settler families who wish to return to Israel voluntarily. Ideally, the Israeli government would establish such a fund, but, if not, we call upon the international community do so.
The difference between voluntarily evacuating individuals or whole communities from the West Bank and a coercive, government-sponsored en masse withdrawal is immense, both in spirit and cost. The new leader of the Labor Party, Amir Peretz, has just introduced a bill in the Knesset that would require the Israeli government to provide funds to pay for the voluntary withdrawal of whole communities.

The Call, if actualized, would build on the momentum of the Gaza withdrawal.  Haaretz recently reported that 25% of the settlers living on the Palestinian side of the security barrier have said they would willingly leave their homes immediately if compensated. Thirty-five percent of the West Bank settlers support the evacuation-compensation bill proposed by Amir Peretz. More significantly, the bill has the support of fully 74% of the general public. In addition, One Home, an organization of West Bank settlers eager to evacuate voluntarily, has recently been organized to advocate for the compensation bill.
There is wind behind the sails of this demand. But under present circumstances, it cannot be met without U.S. leadership in the establishment of an international fund.

Please sign the Call today by clicking here

Help us get this initiative out to the American Jewish community. Check to make sure you have signed the Call  and send this email on to your own lists by clicking here.
With continued hope for peace,               

Marcia Freedman, President

Brit Tzedek v'Shalom, The Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace
11 E. Adams Street, Suite 707
Chicago, IL 60603
Phone: (312) 341-1205
Fax: (312) 341-1206

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