Action: Tell Congress to call for an end to all Israeli settlement activity in the occupied Palestinian areas.

Background: Peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians are at a halt, but human rights violations associated with the Israeli occupation continue. Settlements, in particular, continue to take Palestinian land and obstruct daily life for Palestinians.

According to Peace Now, “During the 9 months of Secretary Kerry’s efforts in the region, the Israeli Government promoted plans and tenders for at least 13,851 housing units in the settlements and East Jerusalem–an average of 50 units per day and 1,540 units per month.” Nearly 700,000 Israelis live in settlements throughout the West Bank, including East Jerusalem–all of which are illegal under international law (Applied Research Institute - Jerusalem).

In addition to the relentless expansion of the settlements themselves, a complicated infrastructure system supports the settlement enterprise. A network of West Bank roads, for example, connects settlements to Israeli territory inside the 1967 borders. Although the roads are built on Palestinian land, their use by Palestinians is controlled and limited by Israel.

Just as damaging for Palestinian life is the process of West Bank land confiscation by the Israeli government. The Israeli human rights organization, B’Tselem explains, “Israel has used a complex legal and bureaucratic mechanism to take control of more than fifty percent of the land in the West Bank. This land was used mainly to establish settlements and to create reserves of land for the future expansion of the settlements.”

Faith reflection: In 1 Kings 21, we read about King Ahab unjustly taking over a plot of land belonging to Naboth. The prophet Elijah declared God’s anger over this abuse of power; the Lord is clear that injustice will not stand.

Action: Tell Congress to call for an end to all Israeli settlement activity in the occupied Palestinian areas.

Alert prepared May 15, 2014 by Rachelle Lyndaker Schlabach, director,

Organizations in the Faith Forum on Middle East Policy send out action alerts monthly, focusing on different issues so that members of Congress hear consistently that their constituents support a just and lasting peace in Palestine and Israel.