AJDS Statement on New Housing Units in Gilo 9th November 2011

GiloThe announcement on 27th September by the Jerusalem regional planning and construction committee, of the building of 1100 new housing units in Gilo has been met with universal opposition by the United States, the Quartet, Germany, France, the UK and other countries -all active supporters of Israel on the international stage.
The Israeli government argues that Gilo is merely a Jewish neighbourhood in southern Jerusalem and is entitled to build there as it would in any other part of Israel.
But there are significant reasons to reject that argument.

Contrary to Israeli government claims, Gilo is not just another Jewish neighbourhood. Gilo was built on land over the 1949 green armistice line annexed from the Palestinian village of Al-Walaja after the six day war in 1967. That annexation has not been recognised by the international community. As British Foreign Secretary William Hague said in response to the announcement of the new housing units, “Settlement expansion is illegal under international law, corrodes trust and undermines the basic principle of land for peace”.
It is in Israel’s long term interest to act in a manner consistent with its stated support for the establishment of a Palestinian state and embrace territorial compromise as fundamental to ending the conflict rather than treating parts of that territory as if agreement had been reached.
If, as Israel argues, it is not acceptable for Palestinians to unilaterally seek recognition of Palestine prior to negotiation, then it should be equally unacceptable for Israel to unilaterally lay claim to part of the West Bank prior to negotiation.
It is essential that both Israelis and Palestinians publicly signal their commitment to a negotiated two state resolution of the conflict through both word and deed.
AJDS Executive

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