Press Release
Contact Information: Hussein Ibish
October 11, 2007 - 12:00am

Washington, D.C., October 12 -- The American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP) today voiced deep concern regarding reported plans by the government of Israel to construct a new road that would connect occupied East Jerusalem with the West Bank city of Jericho. The new road would set the stage for the development of a new area of settlement known as “E-1” that could cut off Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank. The E-1 area lies between Jerusalem and the Israeli settlement of Ma'aleh Adumim, and is slated to include 3,500 apartments and an industrial park. The existing Jerusalem-Jericho road runs through the proposed E-1 area.

ATFP welcomes efforts by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to seek clarification from Sallai Meridor, the Israeli ambassador to the United States, about Israel’s intentions regarding the road project and the E-1 settlement plan. The E-1 project has been dormant since 2004 due to objections from the international community, including the United States, that it would sever geographical contiguity between Jerusalem and the West Bank and greatly limit the access of Palestinians to the city.

ATFP expressed concern that the announcement of the new road and the ordered confiscation 1,100 dunams of land from four Arab villages located between Jerusalem and Ma'aleh Adumim prejudices the status of occupied East Jerusalem prior to a final peace agreement. Such actions play into the hands of extremist groups of all faiths and communities. ATFP noted that the timing is particularly damaging given the run-up to the planed fall meeting designed to revive Palestinian-Israeli peace negotiations that have been stalled since January 2001. ATFP also pointed out that unilateral actions that prejudice final status talk outcomes and that encourage extremism should not be undertaken by either side. It urged the United States government to use its good offices to ensure that Israel does not undertake the development of the E-1 project or any other measures that prejudice the status of Jerusalem or isolate it from the West Bank.


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017