Dear Friends:  

Ir Amim views with concern the latest developments surrounding the inauguration of US President Donald Trump, with increasing talk about moving the US embassy to Jerusalem and plans by Israel to expand settlement construction and possibly annex settlements such as Ma’ale Adumim. 

As stated in our recent policy paper on an US embassy move: 

“Ir Amim yearns for the day in which the American flag flies over two embassies in Jerusalem – the American embassy to Israel in West Jerusalem and the American embassy to Palestine in East Jerusalem. The only framework in which this vision will be realized, however, is a comprehensive political agreement resulting in a two-state solution. Jerusalem, the capital of two peoples, will be an open, diverse, and vibrant city, administered by separate institutions of the two peoples but open to all its residents and visitors, hosting numerous embassies, and enjoying physical, economic and cultural prosperity. 

Moving the American embassy in Israel to Jerusalem in the current circumstances, in which there is both political stagnation and daily tension on the streets of the city, is incompatible with this vision. It is a dangerous unilateral move which violates international law and negates the essence of Jerusalem as the capital of two peoples. In what is the fiftieth anniversary of the annexation of East Jerusalem by Israel, it would be perceived as particularly provocative. In Jerusalem, more than elsewhere, Israelis and Palestinians share an urban space, and political decisions hold immediate ramifications for the daily life, wellbeing, and the security of residents of both sides.” 

Click here to read the full paper.

 

IR AMIM UPDATES

Netanyahu Declares Unrestricted Construction in Jerusalem 

Following the inauguration of US President Trump, Prime Minister Netanyahu stated on January 22 that he had decided to lift restrictions on construction in East Jerusalem. On the same day, the Local Planning and Building Committee approved building permits for 566 housing units in East Jerusalem - 174 units in Ramat Shlomo, 324 units in Ramot and 68 units in Pisgat Ze’ev. 

Ir Amim has issued a policy paper listing key building plans that are in various stages of approval and pose a serious threat to reaching a two-state solution. Notable plans on the agenda include Givat Hamatos, which together with plans in Har Homa stands to cut off East Jerusalem from the West Bank, and Area E1.

Click here for the full policy paper, and here for a map showing some of the major building plans addressed in the paper.

Policy Paper on Proposed Annexation of Ma’ale Adumim and E1

The proposed legislation to annex Ma’ale Adumim being promoted by right wing leaders would apply Israeli law over the city, as well as the E1 area which is included in its municipal boundaries.

The annexation of Ma’ale Adumim would substantially harm the existential interests of Israel. It would perpetuate a settlement bloc in the heart of the West Bank and irreparably damage territorial contiguity between the northern and southern West Bank. Equally damaging, the annexation of Ma’ale Adumim and E1 will block East Jerusalem on its eastern side, swallow up its last development reserves and deepen its detachment from the West Bank.

For the full policy paper, see here.

Paris Can Save the Two-State Idea 

Two weeks ago, the Paris Peace Conference convened, in continuation to the principles laid out in UN Security Council Resolution 2334.

Ir Amim board member Alon Liel wrote a column explaining the imperative of the conference and why Israeli NGOs must support it:

“The Paris Conference… should consolidate the growing international consensus that in this 50th year of Occupation, we must reach an agreed political resolution to the conflict founded on the two-state solution, based on the June 4 1967 borders, and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, with Jerusalem as the capital city of both states and full respect for Israel’s security within internationally recognized borders.”

To read the full column on Ir Amim’s website, click here. 

Ir Amim Course Engages Jerusalem College Students  

We completed another course this month, the seventh in a series of courses on East Jerusalem for young leaders and social activists. Continuing to reach out to new audiences, this time the course was carried out with students of Middle Eastern studies from the Shalem Center. 

Course participants heard in-depth analyses from Israeli and Palestinian experts, officials and grassroots activists, on issues such as education, planning and scenarios for the future of Jerusalem.

One student said: “The course led me to understand much better the Jerusalemite story within the conflict; it gives me a certain perspective. Surprisingly enough, the course also gave me some hope, in the sense that things are happening and there are changes, and perhaps it will be good here one day.”  

 

IR AMIM IN THE MEDIA

Ir Amim: “The United States will find it exceptionally difficult to effectively fulfill its pivotal role as a mediator if and when it moves its embassy to Jerusalem. Such a move contradicts the position of the entire international community while clearly favoring one side over the other.”

Los Angeles Times, January 20

Ir Amim: “The proximity of the approval of building permits in Ramot and Ramat Shlomo to the inauguration of President Trump proves that the government of Israel is busy playing cat-and-mouse games with the American administration instead of managing a responsible policy on Jerusalem.”

Haaretz, January 22

 

Yudith Oppenheimer, Executive Director of Ir Amim: “Everything possible must be done to ease daily life for all residents of the city and allow the two communities to develop within the urban space through cooperation with civil society and the national leaderships of both peoples. This city has known much loss, destruction and pain. What has been done cannot be undone, but we can and must choose for Jerusalem a different present and future.”

Jerusalem Post, January 25

 

 

UPCOMING STUDY TOURS            

Ir Amim invites you to join one of our public tours – an opportunity to learn about the political, economic and social issues associated with Jerusalem’s role as the epicenter of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and to engage in dialogue about the future of the city. The tours provide an incisive and candid look at Jerusalem and how developments – from settlement building to revocations of Palestinians’ permanent residency status – impact our ability to negotiate a resolution to the Conflict.

Participation requires registration in advance and a small contribution towards the cost of the tour.

 

The next tours:  

Friday, February 10, 2017 - 9:00 AM: Study Tour of East Jerusalem in English (register here)  

Friday, March 24, 2017 - 9:00 AM: Study Tour of East Jerusalem in English (register here) 

  

SUPPORT IR AMIM

Ir Amim works to inspire an informed public discourse on political issues related to Jerusalem, and to promote conditions for a more equitable Jerusalem today and towards a future, agreed-upon political resolution. In addition to our internationally recognized monitoring and advocacy, we help raise the level of discourse on Jerusalem by reaching out to the general public in Israel and to our friends abroad through tours, lectures, press reports, social media activity, media campaigns and more.

Please consider making a contribution to Ir Amim as we work to monitor all of the current developments in our city, and conduct legal and policy advocacy to fight developments that undermine hope for a political resolution on the city. To donate, please click here.

 

Follow us on Twitter: @IrAmimAlerts and Facebook (tinyurl.com/IrAmimEngto keep current on Ir Amim’s positions on unfolding events in Jerusalem and be the first to access our latest resources. Stay tuned for updates on Ir Amim’s growing English language social media presence. For more in-depth information, check out the Ir Amim website.

 

With thanks for your continued interest and support,

The Ir Amim team

  

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