The wider struggle to preserve the two-state solution includes the battle to save the Palestinian village of Susya.  The forces behind the demolition threat want to move Palestinians off land that would become part of a viable Palestinian state -- opening it up instead for Israeli annexation.  

A major player among these forces is an organization called Regavim. Backed by tax-deductible donations from the United States, it’s responsible for the most recent demolition threat to Susya.

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Regavim (the Hebrew means 'clods of earth') deploys “field inspectors” to prevent “foreign elements” -- by which it means the Palestinian population -- from taking land in the West Bank. Since the IDF Civil Administration refuses to issue building permits to Palestinians, they are often forced to build illegally. These Regavim sanctioned “inspectors” photograph, document and map this construction and the organization then puts pressure on the authorities to halt and demolish these buildings, as explained on its website.

Regavim describes itself as being dedicated to “the return of the rule of law to all areas and aspects of the land and its preservation.” According to Haaretz, “in plainer language, their m.o. is to try to force the state to speed up and increase the execution of home demolition orders and forced relocations of non-Jews.” 

Regavim’s work routinely leaves Palestinians homeless, miserable and desperate. The organization’s activities throughout the West Bank and related to the Temple Mount seriously exacerbate tensions between Israelis and Palestinians, and have the potential of igniting major violence.

You may be asking, what role have U.S. Jews had in this organization?  Regavim raises money through the New York-based Israel Independence Fund, which was founded in 2008 by venture capitalist Kenneth Abramowitz and collects money for a variety of right-wing, pro-settler causes. 

It is a group partially funded by Israeli government entities and partially by Americans who receive a tax deduction from the Treasury -- even though its activities are completely contrary to US foreign policy.  Americans should not be receiving deductions for things that are contrary to US foreign policy.  Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requirements are clear about the criteria organizations must meet to be eligible for tax-deductible status: Their activities must not be “illegal [or] contrary to a clearly defined and established public policy.  Regavim should not be allowed these funds. 


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