For years now, the residents of Khan al-Ahmar have faced countless verbal, physical, and legal challenges to their homes and structures, including their one and only school. As part of the Israeli government’s broader campaign to expand settlements and limit Palestinian development in the West Bank, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman has announced Israel’s intention to destroy the school and set up a new one next to a garbage dump outside the village limits.
The situation unfolding in these areas of the West Bank under Israeli control (known as Area C) is no accident; it is the direct result of the growing influence of right-wing politics and the settlement movement over Israeli policy. Last year, Minister Lieberman and other Israeli officials sent a letter to the Israeli Supreme Court voicing their intention to destroy 40% percent of the structures in the community of Susya, including multiple homes, a school, and the solar panels that provide the community’s sole access to electricity.
For supporters of the settlement movement, the gradual, systematic displacement of Palestinians from Area C is part of their mission to ultimately annex the area and undermine the prospects for a two-state solution. Their agenda seriously jeopardizes Israel’s future as a democratic homeland for the Jewish people.
It is because of these concerns that J Street U Columbia/Barnard is urging our Member of Congress, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, to take action in opposition to these demolitions and in support of a better future for Israelis and Palestinians, by adding his name to a letter now circulating in the House of Representatives. Led by Rep. Nadler’s Democratic colleagues and fellow Jewish-Americans, Rep. Jan Schakowsky (IL-09) and Rep. John Yarmuth (KY-03), the letter directly urges Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his government to end their support for demolitions and settlement expansion, and to instead take immediate steps to advance a lasting two-state solution.
Rep. Nadler has long maintained a strong record of support for Israel and has been vocal strong advocate for the two-state solution. Recently, in expressing his opposition to the referendum on Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions (BDS), he noted that such tactics run “contrary to the only realistic and just outcome to the conflict embraced by the entire international community — the two-state solution — allowing both parties to actualize their right of self-determination.” He asserted that the right path forward for progressives is “smart, nuanced, effective work in solidarity with peace-seeking Israelis and Palestinians aiming to end this conflict and bring about a two-state solution.”
We believe the Schakowsky-Yarmuth letter is an urgent and important example of precisely that kind of work, and the kind of pro-Israel leadership we need in Washington.
The Palestinian residents of Area C need principled leaders to take a stand. So do the citizens of Israel, whose hopes for a secure, Jewish and democratic future are now being imperiled by the dangerous policies of their own government. That’s why I and others here at J Street CU, who live at the crossroads of a campus highly polarized by the broken politics surrounding Israel-Palestine, are eager to work with our representatives to take a proactive stand against demolitions and the threat they pose to long-term peace in the region.
This story "Will Nadler Oppose Demolition Of Palestinian Villages" was written by Eliza Bayroff.