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“Israeli settlement sale in Teaneck discriminatory, may violate international law and the roadmap”

Press Release from ADC New Jersey and 11 other Civil and Human Rights groups

February 23, 2007, Clifton, New Jersey – The New Jersey Chapter of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC New Jersey) was joined today by 11 civil and human rights groups in warning New Jersey public officials that the February 25 planned sale of Israeli settlement homes in Teaneck, New Jersey may violate international law and the US government’s Roadmap to Peace, and introduce discriminatory sales practices in New Jersey. Groups joining ADC in this warning included The Center for Constitutional Rights (www.ccr-ny.org), The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation (www.endtheoccupation.org), Jewish Voice for Peace www.jewishvoiceforpeace.org), and The International Committee of the National Lawyers Guild (www.nlginternational.org). ADC New Jersey’s expression of concern was sent to Teaneck Mayor Elie Katz, Congressman Steve Rothman, Senator Frank Lautenberg, Senator Robert Menendez, Attorney General Stuart Rabner, and Teaneck Rabbi Steven Pruzansky of Congregation Bnai Yeshurn.

The sale of Israeli settlement homes in the Occupied Territories by the Yesha Council is planned to take place at Congregation Bnai Yeshurun in Teaneck, New Jersey on Sunday February 25, 2007. Property in Israeli settlements has historically been sold exclusively to Jewish people. Palestinians who live in the area are not permitted to purchase such property because of their religion and their ethnicity. ADC New Jersey and the 11 other civil rights groups warned against the toleration of such discriminatory sales practices in New Jersey.

Pursuant to the Fourth Geneva Convention, to which Israel is a signatory, an occupying power is prohibited from transferring civilians from its own territory into the occupied territory, and from creating permanent changes in the occupied territory that are not for the benefit of the occupied population. There exists broad international consensus that that all Israeli settlements in the West Bank – including those in East Jerusalem – violate the Fourth Geneva Convention (Article 49) and constitute a war crime. Any sales of settlements are therefore presumably illegal. Liability attaches under international law for aiding and abetting the commission of a war crime.

The illegality of Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories has been affirmed by the UN Security Council the International Court of Justice, major human rights organizations like Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the Israeli organization B’Tselem, and affirmed by the US government throughout the 1970s and 1980s.

The rental and sale of Israeli settlements at the event in Teaneck, New Jersey may also contradict US government foreign policy as outlined in the United States Government’s “Performance-Based Roadmap to a Permanent Two-State Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict” which, in Phase I, requires Israel “to freeze all settlement activity (including natural growth of settlements).”

CONTACT: Samer Khalaf – ADC-NJ at (201) 280-3434; Hany Khoury (973) 246-7474