Today, in response to the United Nations Security Council vote on a resolution concerning Israeli settlements, Israeli and American Jewish leaders of the New Israel Fund, a nonprofit that promotes democracy and equality for all Israelis, issued the following statements:
Talia Sasson, President of the New Israel Fund, author of the 2005 Sasson Report and world leading expert on Israel’s settlement policy, said:
“This is a sad day, not a happy one. That it has come to this — that our own Israeli leadership refused to protect us from the damage that the settlement enterprise causes. The settlements contradict Israel’s interests and stand against the principles of our declaration of Independence. If the government of Israel took seriously the need to end the occupation and stop the settlements, there would be no need for the Security Council to take up the matter. Unfortunately, under our current leadership, my government has failed to do this.
“Moreover, this resolution that was brought before the Security Council reiterates what we have long known to be true: settlement construction is a violation of international law.
Above all, settlements are impediments to peace, and endanger Israel’s democracy.”
Daniel Sokatch, CEO of the New Israel Fund, said:
“The events of this week at the Security Council should be a wake-up call to Israeli government. For too long they have acted with impunity, expecting no consequences for policies that are entrenching the occupation and burying the prospects for a two-state solution.
“They were wrong.
“Despite the extreme stances we’ve been told to expect from the incoming American administration, Israel’s true friends around the world are sending a clear message: settlement expansion, the Outpost Bill, serious talk of annexing parts of the West Bank, and the outrageous financial investment in settlers at the expense of the Israeli public are leading Israel to a dead end.
“By allowing this resolution to pass, President Obama has made a difficult and perhaps unpopular choice. But his abstention is an important demonstration of his enduring belief in a better future for Israel that, I hope, will be heard as the act of a true friend in Jerusalem. All of us who care about Israel’s future need to stand with our president today.”