Statements   
Major written statements and reports published
by churches, governments, organizations
and the United Nations. 
 
  
Peace Now

The Peace Now Plan
Renewing channels of dialogue - Dismantling outposts
- Continuing to evacuate settlements

(excerpt)


Dismantling outposts and freezing construction in settlements

The settlers, and for different reasons, most Israelis, the Palestinians and the international community view the settlement enterprise as a unilateral Israeli measure obstructing any chance for reaching a peace agreement and causing escalation of the daily friction and hostility between Israel and the PA.
 
Therefore, stopping the expansion of the settlements and dismantling the outposts has an important political significance and could shape the face of the whole region.
 
Dismantling outposts – The Government of Israel must instruct the IDF and the police to immediately dismantle all 105 outposts in the territories, which were built in contravention of official Israeli policy that opposes creating new settlements in the West Bank (see map of outpost and appendix A below). The outposts are not only a political issue but also a legal issue. Failing to dismantle them will continue to signal to the settlers that beyond the Green Line the rule of law is not binding.
 
Freezing construction in settlements – The Government of Israel must freeze all construction beyond the Green Line. Any additional construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem complicates the existing situation, increases friction and hatred between the peoples and comprises a key element in causing violence and mistrust between Israel and the Palestinians. The final settlement must be reached by a political process and not by creating facts on the ground.

The continued evacuation of settlements in phases

Peace Now has always viewed the settlements as the main obstacle to peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Evacuating most if not all of the settlements is a necessity, without which neither a real agreement with the Palestinians nor the creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel will be possible.
 
The price of the existence of the settlements in general and the isolated settlements in the heart of the Palestinian area in particular has long been intolerable both for the Palestinian population and for Israeli society. The Disengagement Plan has proven that Israel is able to evacuate settlements and hand over to Palestinian control areas that are certain not to stay under Israeli control in any future final settlement.
 
Under the framework of negotiations for a final settlement, the government of Israel must continue the process of evacuating the settlements in stages as a trust-building measure towards the Palestinian leadership that will improve the situation on the ground, strengthen the moderates on both sides and improve Israel’s security and economic situation. The Government of Israel must evacuate the settlements in coordination with the Palestinian side, and not unilaterally as done previously.
 
The continuing evacuation of settlements primarily benefits Israel by improving Israel’s security, economic and political situation in the present and future.
 
Peace Now has set the following criteria for evacuation: proximity to Palestinian population centers, distance from the Green Line, size of settlement and possibility of safe access to it, the desire of the residents of the settlement to leave, excluding those most likely to be accorded to Israel in a future agreement on land swaps.

Phase I (immediate) - evacuation of 26 isolated settlements surrounded by Palestinian communities (see map of settlements):

Northern West Bank: Hermesh, Mevo Dotan, Elon More, Yitzhar, Itamar, Bracha
Central West Bank: Kfar Tapuach, Talmon, Dolev, Halamish, Nahaliel, Ateret
Hebron Mountain: Jewish settlement in Hebron, Telem, Adora, Negohot, Asfar, Ma'ale Amos, Nokdim, Tko'a, Kfar Eldad
South Hebron Mountain: Otniel, Haggai, Pnei Hever, Carmel, Ma'on

The realization of Phase I will allow the IDF to withdraw from large areas of the West Bank and give the Palestinians contiguous control of most of the areas of the northern West Bank, most of the Hebron Mountain area (except for Kiryat Arba) and control of the Southern Hebron Mountain area.

Phase II - Dismantling 17 settlements from heart of West Bank:

Shavei Shomron, Kedumim, Eli, Shiloh, Ma'ale Levona, Beit El, Ofra, Psagot, Kochav Ya'akov, Geva Binyamin (Adam), Enav, Avnei Hefetz, Ma'ale Michmash, Almon (Anatot), Keidar, Karmei Tzur, Migdalim

Phase III - Evacuation of settlements as part of signing final settlement:

As part of negotiations on the final settlement, the fate of all the settlements that were not evacuated in the interim period will be decided, with the goal of removing the smallest number of settlers possible from their homes and giving the Palestinians alternative land as part of a land swap deal. The Green line (1967 borders) will be utilized as the guideline to determine fixed boundaries between the Israeli and Palestinian states. Both sides will consider the facts on the ground and reevaluate the borders accordingly; changes will be made only through mutual agreement.

Conclusion

Now more than ever the government of Israel has the ability, as well as the responsibility to continue the process of shaping the country's permanent borders while maintaining its security interests and constantly striving to achieve peace in the region.
The government must continue the process of withdrawing from the territories through constant dialogue with the Abu Mazen government and striving to reach a final settlement on the basis of two states for two peoples.
Both sides must resolutely fight terror elements and ensure the political process is accompanied by security calm, economic recovery and the restoration of trust between the sides.


Appendix A – West Bank outposts
 
In 1992 after Yitzhak Rabin was elected prime minister, the Israeli policy regarding settlement in Judea, Samaria and Gaza changed, and the government’s guidelines said explicitly that the government of Israel would not build new settlements in those areas.
 
As a result of constant pressure by the Israeli left and the international community including the U.S., the policy stayed in place even after the change of government and the return of Likud to power. The government continued to build in the existing settlements but officially did not build even one new settlement in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. In order to circumvent the government decision and continue taking over more hilltops and points throughout the West Bank, the settler leadership began the system of building illegal outposts with the intention of creating facts on the ground, taking control of more places and forcing the government to recognize the outposts as irreversible facts and within a few years turn them into legal settlements for all purposes, according to Israeli law.
 
The settlers choose to build the outposts at central points in the heart of the Palestinian population, deep in West Bank territory, in order to create territorial contiguity between existing settlements and break the contiguity between Palestinian communities. In this way the settlers are trying in every way to undermine the possibility of separating the two peoples and establishing a contiguous Palestinian state in the West Bank.
 
The outpost system has become the most effective system for the settlers to create new settlements and expand the existing ones, outside of any government constraints or supervision. Moreover, not only did the state not take action against the construction of the outposts, it even helped build them, with funds, infrastructures and protection of the settlers living in them.
 
The outposts entered the national and international agenda and received special attention as part of the demands from the government of Israel in the Road Map. President George Bush mentions the subject every time the question of the settlements is addressed.
 
Due to the domestic and international criticism against the continued establishment and expansion of the outposts Prime Minister Ariel Sharon had to ask lawyer Talia Sasson to do a comprehensive study of the way the outposts were established, how they were funded, the involvement of government bodies in the approval and help for the outposts, their legal status and how their removal was being handled.
 
On March 8, 2005, after months of intense work, Tali Sasson submitted to the prime minister a report that said: “The violation of the law has become established. We are not dealing with an offender or a group of offenders acting against the law. The picture that emerges is of a blatant violation of the law by certain state authorities, public authorities, regional councils in the West Bank and settlers, all while presenting a façade as if this were an organized institutional system acting lawfully.”
 
Considering Talia Sasson’s report on the outposts, and considering the state of Israel’s commitment to the rule of law, the government must instruct the IDF and the police to immediately dismantle all 105 outposts in the West Bank and return the land on which they were built to their lawful owners.

Source: http://www.peacenow.org.il/site/en/peace.asp?pi=362



This Fence is still out of Line!
March 2005

Peace Now supports Israel’s right to build a security fence along the Green Line. However the actual fence continues to be constructed deep within Palestinian territory.
The current route of the fence is intended to destroy all chances of a future peace settlement with the Palestinians and to annex as much land as possible from the West Bank.
Thus the method of creating facts on the ground by annexing land to existing settlements continues, this time by using the route of the fence.

The current fence may currently save lives of Israelis but in the long run will only deepen the conflict between the two peoples. This fence will only increase the blood to be split on both sides and continue the sacrificing of Israeli and Palestinian lives for the settlements.

Despite the best efforts of the government of Israel to tar the opposition to the fence as “anti-Israeli”, it is evident that the majority of the opinion in Israel and around the world does not oppose the actual fence but its intended route.

Following international pressure the government was forced to remove several kilometers of the constructed fence; after it had already unnecessarily damaged personal property and lands of the local Palestinian population and which also cost the country several millions of dollars. So the question remains what else must happen in order that the Israeli government recognizes that continued one sided bullish attempts to annex land from the West Bank will only lead to failure?

A Number of Facts:
* The planned length of the fence is 679 km, only 300km of which is along the Green Line
* The length of the extension planned for Ariel, Emmanuel and Kedumim in 111km
* The length of the extension planned for Maale Adumim and its eastern settlements is 45km
* The cost of 1km of the fence is more than 2 million dollars
* The current route of the fence will annex de-facto around 8-10% of the West Bank land
* The current fence has mainly been build on private Palestinian lands whose owners have now been left without any means of income
* The fence has created many Palestinian cities (i.e. Kalkiliya), villages and Jerusalem neighborhoods to completely cut off and caged without any freedom of movement.

Source: http://www.peacenow.org.il/site/en/peace.asp?pi=362&docid=1568&pos=3



Peace Now’s Position Following the Rise of Hamas
to Power
February 2006


In January 2006 parliamentary elections were held in the Palestinian Authority. The Hamas political wing succeeded in gaining a majority of the seats in the parliament.

1.        Peace Now respects the Palestinian people's democratic decision.

2.        Peace Now continues to strive for peace with the Palestinian people on the basis of two states in agreed borders in the spirit of the Geneva understandings and the Clinton outline.

3.        Peace Now calls for negotiations between the government of Israel and any willing representative Palestinian body. At the start of such negotiations Israel will demand a complete renunciation of terror. Entering negotiations will be an implicit recognition of the State of Israel.
Regardless of such negotiations, Peace Now will continue conducting a dialogue with people and organizations who belong to the Palestinian peace camp.

4.        Peace Now continues to view the illegal outposts and the settlements as major obstacles to ending the occupation and promoting an agreement, as well as an element that contradicts the Israeli national interest. Peace Now is committed to a public campaign to evacuate the outposts and settlements while providing the settlers with adequate
compensation and seeing to their rehabilitation.

Source: http://www.peacenow.org.il/site/en/peace.asp?pi=362&docid=1684&pos=1