Dear Brit Tzedek Member,

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has wasted no time in pushing for substantive on the ground changes in Gaza and East Jerusalem. On her recent trip to the region, she argued forcefully for Israel to stop restricting food shipments into the Gaza Strip, and Israel quickly complied. She also lodged strong objections to the demolition of homes in East Jerusalem calling them harmful to the peace process "...and not in keeping with the obligations entered into under the road map."

However, neither Sec. Clinton nor anyone else in the Administration has yet to make any serious pronouncements on settlement expansion.

Thank Sec. Clinton for her important first steps to lay the groundwork for peace and urge her to now press for strict enforcement of a freeze on settlement expansion.
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In recent days, Defense Minister Ehud Barak has blocked the removal of nine houses in the settlement of Ofra, a settlement which was recently revealed to have been built largely on privately owned Palestinian land. Plans to build over 15,000 new housing units in the West Bank have already been approved, while another 58,000 units await approval. If these plans all go forward, the settler population would nearly double.

Shortly after President Obama's inauguration, Israel announced plans for massive expansion of the settlement of Efrat, in the Etzion bloc. Just this week, it was reported that part of the coalition agreement between incoming Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Yisrael Beiteinu's Avigdor Lieberman was a deal on construction in the controversial E-1 corridor in the West Bank.

Continued expansion of settlements creates serious obstacles to the two-state solution.  The U.S. must take decisive action to freeze their growth in order to move forward its peace agenda. Thank Secretary Clinton for advocating for on the ground changes and encourage her to press forward by addressing settlement expansion. 
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B'Shalom,

Sue Swartz, Chair of Advocacy

Deepa Domansky, Washington Liaison and Advocacy Coordinator

P.S. Please share this Action Alert with family, friends, and colleagues.

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Sign this petition :

Dear Madam Secretary,

As a supporter of Brit Tzedek v'Shalom who strongly backs  Israel in its quest for peace and security, I applaud your advocacy for substantive on the ground changes for Palestinians. In particular, I thank you for calling on Israel to expand food aid to the Gaza Strip and your questioning the efficacy of Israel's home demolition policy in East Jerusalem. Now, I hope that you will act with equal vigor to advocate for a complete freeze on settlement construction in the West Bank.

Any expansion of settlements creates serious obstacles to a two-state solution. A settlement freeze would help secure Israel's future and offer hope to Palestinians, thereby increasing regional stability.

Sincerely,

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Click here to thank Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her important first steps to lay the groundwork for Israeli-Palestinian peace and urge her to press for enforcement of a settlement freeze.

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References:

Netanyahu, Lieberman 'struck secret deal for West Bank construction'. Haaretz. March 25, 2009.

Israel bows to U.S. pressure, lifts food restrictions on Gaza by Reuters. Haaretz. March 24, 2009.

U.S. furious over Israel's demolition of East Jerusalem homes by Barak Ravid and Natasha Mozgovaya. Haaretz. March 22, 2009.

Ministry of Housing’s Plans for the West Bank - March 2009. Peace Now. March 2009.

Israel Takes Control of More West Bank Land by Karin Laub. Common Dreams. February 19, 2009.

Ofra - An Illegal Outpost. B’Tselem. December 2008.


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