The Hon. François-Philippe Champagne
Minister of Foreign Affairs
House of Commons
Dear Minister Champagne,
Canadian Friends of Peace Now, an organization of progressive Zionists that promotes the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, is extremely concerned about the spread of Israeli settlements into the West Bank. We know your government also is strongly committed to the two-state solution and considers settlements a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention and a serious obstacle to an eventual peace.
We are particularly alarmed about a large, problematic new settlement project in Givat Hamatos on the southern edge of Jerusalem and urge your government to voice strong opposition to this highly misguided endeavour. The Givat Hamatos project would see new 1,257 settler homes built in this area. In fact, the Israeli government has called for tenders for the 1,257 units to be submitted by January 18, 2021, two days before U.S. president-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.
What makes this project so dangerous is not just that it swells the already unacceptably high number of settlement units in the West Bank, but its location: Givat Hamatos would place a large enclave of settler housing between East Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Thus it would sever East Jerusalem from the southern West Bank, blocking the territorial contiguity of a future Palestinian state, obstructing the possibility of a Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem, and making a viable two-state solution extremely difficult to achieve. For this reason, Givat Hamatos has been considered a red flag for many proponents of the two-state vision.
The Netanyahu-Gantz government is clearly taking advantage of the final weeks of the Trump administration to establish facts on the ground that will be exceedingly hard to undo to achieve peace.
Diplomats from the European Union, 15 European governments, and the United Nations’ Mideast envoy, Nickolay Mladenov, have objected to the project, while France and the U.K., in particular, have condemned the move, saying it jeopardizes the possibility of a two-state solution.
The Givat Hamatos project comes hard on the heels of other Israeli settlement approval plans. This makes 2020 a record year for planned settlement construction.
CFPN urges the Canadian government to join the chorus of voices opposing construction plans in Givat Hamatos and other settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.
We would be happy to discuss this matter with you or your representatives. Thank you for your attention.
National Chair, Canadian Friends of Peace Now