Posted on November 22, 2006 in Press Releases

WASHINGTON – Nov. 22, 2006 – The Arab American Institute (AAI) joins Peace Now in criticizing the Israeli government’s systematic disregard for the intrinsic and internationally-recognized property rights of the Palestinian people and calls upon the Bush Administration to publicly acknowledge the eroding effect this has on prospects for a longterm Israeli-Palestinian peace.

In its recently published report, Peace Now found that close to 40% of Israeli settlements in the West Bank are built on land which the Israeli government recognizes as privately-owned by Palestinians. The study, based on information culled directly from Israeli government sources responsible for overseeing the Jewish state’s occupation of Palestinian land, provides further evidence that Israel’s ongoing settlement activity continues to erode prospects for achieving a peace agreement with the Palestinians.

“No longer can the Israeli government claim that its settlement activity is taking place on what it refers to as ‘state land’,” said AAI Executive Director Nidal Ibrahim. “This definitive study casts a bright and harsh light on Israeli government practices in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, documenting that Israeli leaders—in complete contravention of international law governing occupation—have knowingly sought to confiscate private Palestinian lands for settlement activity.”

“It is time for the Bush Administration to join the world community in condemning Israel’s settlement practices,” Ibrahim continued. “Further validating what are obviously illegal practices hurts our already low standing in the Middle East and further erodes our ability to act as a party that can bring about long-lasting Palestinian-Israeli peace.”