uploaded : Thursday 8th Jul 2004 at 13:05
by : Americans for Peace Now
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 7, 2004
APN Calls On Bush To Hold Firm On Settlement Outpost Dismantlement
Washington, D.C.?Americans for Peace Now (APN) today sent a letter to President George W. Bush calling on him to hold firm in insisting on
Israel living up to its commitments on the question of dismantling settlement outposts in the West Bank. The Israeli Peace Now movement?s
Settlements Watch project has challenged the recent claims by the Sharon government that only 28 outposts remain to be taken down, pointing to
their own independent research in the West Bank that indicates a much higher number. APN is a Jewish, Zionist organization dedicated to
strengthening Israeli security through peace and to supporting the Israeli Peace Now movement.
The APN letter was signed by Luis Lainer, APN Chair, and Debra DeLee, APN President and CEO. The text reads as follows:
?On behalf of Americans for Peace Now, a Jewish, Zionist organization dedicated to enhancing Israel?s security through peace, we are writing
to encourage you to be firm in your insistence on Israel living up to its commitments to you on the question of dismantling settlement outposts in the West Bank.
?In an April 14th letter from Dov Weisglass (Prime Minister Ariel Sharon?s Bureau Chief) to U.S. National Security Advisor Condoleezza
Rice, your Administration was promised that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz would prepare a list of unauthorized
outposts with indicative dates of their removal. This commitment was made in the context of the disengagement plan and of fulfilling Israel?s unmet obligation under the Road Map to immediately dismantle ?settlement
outposts erected since March 2001.?
?According to media reports, your Administration has now received a list of twenty-eight unauthorized outposts from the Israeli Defense Ministry, of which twelve are marked for dismantlement and some of the remaining
sixteen are in the process of being provided with retroactive approval.
?We are concerned that the Israeli government is using this list to evade its full obligations to you under both the Road Map and the disengagement plan.
?First, the Road Map does not differentiate between authorized and unauthorized outposts; it establishes a cutoff date after which outposts
are to be removed, regardless of their legal status. According to research from Peace Now?s Settlements Watch project, Israel is required
to dismantle fifty-two out of the existing ninety-six outposts under the Road Map, not the lower figure presented by the Defense Ministry.
?Second, even if one accepts the differentiation between authorized and unauthorized outposts, it is clear that the Defense Ministry is working
hard to provide legal sanction for outposts that were constructed illegally. The effort to grant legal approval to illegally constructed
outposts, as reflected in the recent Defense Ministry letter on this subject, is not a credible way for Israel to meet its commitments to you.
?The seriousness of your Administration?s approach to the disengagement plan and the Road Map can be called into question if you accept such a blatantly dishonest effort to minimize Israel?s obligations to dismantle settlement outposts. These sites undermine your own vision of the establishment of two states, Israel and Palestine, living side-by-side in peace and security. Your Administration correctly insists on the Palestinian Authority?s fulfillment of its commitments to fight terrorism and to institute credible political, security, and economic reforms. You should do no less with Israeli obligations.
?In the months ahead, it is important for you to show that you are willing and able to convince Israel to meet its commitments to your
Administration when it comes to removing settlement outposts. If your Administration cannot deal with this relatively minor issue in a forthright manner, then there is little hope of getting Israel to take even more difficult steps back to the path of a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as outlined in the Road Map.?
Assistant Executive Director
Americans for Peace Now
Fax (202) 728-1895