4000-plus units proposed for contested neighborhood will further endanger peace prospects

Toronto, ON - JSpaceCanada has announced its strident opposition to news that Israel’s far-right governing coalition is set to announce significant expansion of settlements in the occupied West Bank in defiance of the international community and in a move that will further set back the peace process.

“As a whole, Israel’s settlement enterprise in the West Bank has caused immense harm to the safety and security of both Israelis and Palestinians.” said JSpaceCanada Board Chair Joe Roberts, “this proposed expansion of settlements is designed to do nothing more than circumvent the prospect of a contiguous Palestinian territory and exacerbate violent conflicts between Israeli settlers and Palestinian communities.”

The plan seeks to build at least 4,000 units to expand several West Bank settlements. This comes following push-back from the far-right in response to the announcement that E1 construction is postponed. Minister of Finance Bezalel Smotrich, of the Religious Zionist Party,a self-described “proud homophobe” who has made statements comparing the LGBTQ+ community to bestiality announced "we will have big news for the settlements in the West Bank imminently." The international community, including Canada, considers Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank illegal under international law.

“This far-right coalition’s plan is an intentional impediment to peace and is designed to undermine efforts from Israelis, Palestinians, and the international community who have been working to sustain the hope of a just, negotiated two state solution,” said Roberts, “And we call on the Netanyahu government to abandon such a disastrous course of action."

The plan is yet another policy that has led a sizeable majority of Canadian Jews to (59%) respond that Israel’s government is heading in the wrong direction according to a recent JSpaceCanada/New Israel Fund of Canada survey of Canadian Jews conducted by EKOS Research Associates and Dr. Robert Brym. That same poll found that settlement expansion and the prospect of “creeping annexation” is opposed by Canadian Jews by a margin of 2 to 1.