"Not Obama's. Not the world's. The settlements are your problem" – this is the slogan chosen to lead Peace Now's new media campaign against the Israeli expansion in the West Bank.
The movement's Secretary General Yaniv Oppenheimer explained at a press conference Tuesday that the campaign aims to "wake up the public, who's forgotten that freezing construction in the settlements serves the Israeli interest, first and foremost."
He added that the campaign, which addresses the diplomatic, security and economic cost of the settlements, sends the message that not all the Israeli public stands behind the settlement project. In time the organization plans to start staging demonstrations within the Green Line and in settlements and outposts.
Oppenheimer and Raz present the data (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
According to Peace Now, at the end of 2008, 52% of the population living between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea were Jewish and 48% were Palestinian. If natural growth in the area continues at the same rate, by 2015 the situation is expected to be reversed – with 51.5% Palestinians and 48.5% Jews.
'Settlements are a burden'
The movement said this would be the end of the Jewish State. Therefore, they said, Israel should actively pursue the two-state solution, to which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he was committed in his Bar Ilan policy speech. And since the settlements are an obstacle to this solution, their expansion should be halted.
On the security level, Peace Now said that there was currently a need to evacuate 100 illegal outposts, which house some 4,000 people. They claimed that at least 36 outposts were constantly being guarded by 700 soldiers.
Economically speaking, the group stated that over NIS 100 billion (roughly $25 billion) have been invested in the settlements over the years.
"The settlements are a security burden and soldiers died to protect them. I call on the opposition, Kadima and Meretz to start acting on the matter immediately," said Peace Now's Mossi Raz.