TO THE EDITOR:
As a Member of Knesset, my job is to speak out on behalf of the best interests of my fellow citizens and my country.
These days, I am truly alarmed by how much those interests are being undermined by the right-wing leaders of Israel’s settler movement. These leaders prioritize Jewish control of Palestinian land over Israel’s security, democracy and Jewish values.
If Israel is going to remain a secure democracy and a Jewish state, we need to reach a two-state agreement with the Palestinians. Most Israelis understand that — which is why they would oppose the annexation of the territory that needs to form the basis of a future Palestinian state.
Yet unbeknownst to the average Israeli, the settler movement and its powerful allies in the Benjamin Netanyahu government have been quietly laying the groundwork for annexation in the West Bank’s Area C. In 2016, they have already demolished more Palestinian homes than in all of last year. They have seized private Palestinian land and made it extremely difficult for Palestinians to remain there. New housing construction in the West Bank is up 16 percent this year — while new housing construction within Green Line Israel has decreased.
This process is led in part by influential right-wing N.G.O’s (like the group Regavim), which have been systematically mapping out strategically located Palestinian villages — like Susya — and lobbying the Israeli government to demolish them. Their goal is simple — to destroy the dream of the two-state solution.
Incredibly, Regavim and their fellow settler groups often benefit from tax-free contributions coming from the USA — even while they actively oppose the two-state solution, undermining key U.S. and Israeli interests.
That’s why J Street has called on the U.S. Department of the Treasury to review whether the activities of Regavim should make them ineligible to receive tax-free contributions.
I am convinced that Prime Minister Netanyahu is leading Israel down a disastrous path, putting our future at great risk. Many important voices in Israel are beginning to realize this.
We can’t let that happen. In the Knesset, my party and our allies are going to do everything that we can to stand up to the settler movement and groups like Regavim. We’re going to fight for the two-state solution, an end to the occupation and an Israel that can live in prosperity, justice and peace.
I’m so grateful to J Street supporters, and to all those Jews around the world who love Israel and know that supporting Israelis means standing up for diplomacy and peace — and speaking out when our government’s policies put our values and security at risk.
Member of Knesset
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