Rabbinic Human Rights Group Condemns Announcement of New Settlement Construction

RELEASE DATE: January 11, 2021

NEW YORK — Today, T’ruah, a rabbinic human rights organization that represents over 2,000 rabbis and cantors and their communities, issued the following statement condemning the recent announcement from Israel about plans to build 800 new settler homes in the occupied West Bank. 

Rabbi Jill Jacobs, executive director of T’ruah, released the following statement: 

“We condemn the recent announcement of Israel’s plans to build 800 new homes in settlements in the occupied West Bank. This construction is clearly a ploy by the Israeli government to expand settlements before President Trump leaves office, and will create unnecessary conflict with the incoming Biden-Harris administration. 

“The settlements represent a clear violation of human rights, as the Fourth Geneva Convention prevents the transfer of civilian populations into occupied territories. The expansion of settlements results in the theft of land from Palestinians, further restrictions on Palestinians’ freedom of movement, and the strengthening of a program to bring about de facto annexation. In Area C of the West Bank, Israeli citizens and Palestinians live under two different sets of laws–Israelis under Israeli civil law, and Palestinians under military law. Increasing the number of settlers only adds to this fundamentally unjust dual system. 

“This last-minute land grab, typifies the greed and disregard for law that God warned against as the Israelites first prepared to enter the Land of Israel, ‘Beware lest your heart grow haughty and you forget the Eternal your God—who freed you from the land of Egypt, the house of bondage…and you say to yourselves, ‘My own power and the might of my own hand have won this wealth for me.’ (Deuteronomy 8:14;17)

“Prior to the Trump administration, American policy for decades has been to support self-determination and human rights for both Israelis and Palestinians. We encourage the incoming Biden-Harris administration to recommit to these principles, including by working to end the occupation, to stop the expansion of settlements and the de facto annexation, and to move toward two sovereign states, side by side.” 

 

T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights mobilizes a network of more than 2,000 rabbis and cantors from all streams of Judaism that, together with the Jewish community, act on the Jewish imperative to respect and advance the human rights of all people. Grounded in Torah and our Jewish historical experience and guided by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we call upon Jews to assert Jewish values by raising our voices and taking concrete steps to protect and expand human rights in North America, Israel, and the occupied Palestinian territories.