Washington, D.C. - August 3, 2022

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Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) Calls on Biden Administration to Condemn Mitzpe Kramim Outpost Legalization

On Wednesday, July 27, 2022, Israel’s Supreme Court ruled against the evacuation of settlers in an outpost of the settlement Mitzpe Kramim, built on private Palestinian land. This ruling reversed a 2020 decision according to which such outposts could only be recognized legally if they were made in “good faith” that the land was not occupied, and that the outpost of Mitzpe Kramim did not meet that standard. The current ruling changes the criterion of “good faith” to “market regulations” meaning that land can be legally purchased from Israel’s Commissioner of Government Property and Abandoned Lands in Judea and Samaria (West Bank) if the land is believed to be government owned. According to this new, lower standard, the Mitzpe Kramim outpost was effectively declared legal. 

This ruling sets a new legal standard, potentially applicable throughout Area C of the West Bank, that settlement outposts built on private Palestinian land can and should be deemed legal and remain the property of the settlers if there is no legal decision affirming private Palestinian ownership when settlers attempt to purchase it. This precedent could motivate further settlement outpost expansion and weakens Palestinians’ capacity to protect their land in Area C.

CMEP calls on the Biden Administration to condemn this new legal precedent, potentially legalizing settlement outpost expansion, as it threatens the possibility of “two states along 1967 lines” with mutually agreed land swaps, which the President affirmed as the preferred U.S. outcome. Furthermore, we call on members of Congress to support HR 2590, The Palestinian Children and Families Act, to make it clear to the Government of Israel, that no U.S. funds should be used to further annex Palestinian land. 



Formed in 1984, Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) is a coalition of more than 30 national church communions and organizations, including Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, and Evangelical traditions that works to encourage US policies that actively promote a comprehensive resolution to conflicts in the Middle East with a focus on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. CMEP works to mobilize US Christians to embrace a holistic perspective and to be advocates of equality, human rights, security, and justice for Israelis, Palestinians, and all people of the Middle East.

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