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The Illusion of the Unilateral Solution

Walla.co.il (online service) by Shaul Arieli -- The author is a member of the Economic Cooperation Foundation [as well as a retired IDF colonel and a board member of the Council for Peace and Security].
Translation via Israel News Today, May 27, 2014.

   Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s remarks about the need for unilateral measures in the aftermath of the collapse of the talks with the Palestinians could have been referring to two possible courses of action. The first, which is rooted in his concern that Israel might “turn into a bi-national state,” would be to continue down the road that Ariel Sharon took. Namely, it would entail complementing the disengagement plan from the Gaza Strip and northern Samaria with additional actions that during Ehud Olmert’s term in office were given the slightly whitewashed name of the “convergence plan.” The second possible course of action would be for Netanyahu to openly endorse the three-phased messianic plan to annex the West Bank that was presented by Naftali Bennett, the first stage of which is to annex the settlement blocs to Israel.

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Gifts from Your Will or Living Trust

One of the most popular legacy gifts is a bequest. Making a bequest is easy to do, whether you are creating a will or amending an existing one. In fact, if you have an up-to-date will, you may not need to redo it. A gift to Americans for Peace Now can be added through an amendment to your will. Your attorney can explain how simple it can be.

A bequest also affords you great flexibility. If your circumstances change, you can make adjustments to your will (or living trust) at any time. Many of our supporters have discovered that they can take care of family members and provide a bequest for Americans for Peace Now. Your attorney may provide suggestions on how to create your bequest, including which assets are best to give to charity. Here is some sample language.

Specific Bequest - a gift of a specific amount of money or property

You might use or modify the following language:

I, [Name], of [City, State, Zip] give and bequeath to Americans for Peace Now (Federal Tax ID# 13-3509867) located in Washington, DC [amount or percentage of estate or property description] to be used for its general purposes

If you would like to provide funds for a particular program or project, please contact Americans for Peace Now staff prior to finalizing your plans. We would like the opportunity to discuss your intentions ahead of time to be sure that your gift can be used in the way you intend. 

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Residual (or Remainder) Bequest – This kind of bequest ensures that your family members are taken care of first and that any debts or expenses are paid so your family won’t be burdened by them. After that, a percentage of what’s left of your estate can be given to an organization you care about—such as Americans for Peace Now.

Proper legal words to use You might use or modify the following language:

I, [Name], of [City, State, Zip] give and bequeath to Americans for Peace Now (Federal Tax ID #13-3509867) located in Washington, DC, [all or ____ percent (____%)] of the rest, residue, and remainder of my estate, to be used for its general purposes

Again, you can specify a specific program or project for your gift, but please contact us in advance to be sure that your gift can be used in the way you intend. 

Peace Now in Israel

PeaceNowFlags500x229The Israeli Peace Now movement, Shalom Achshav, was established in 1978, when 348 Israeli senior reserve army officers and combat soldiers came together to urge their government to sign a peace treaty with Egypt. They knew then what remains true today – real security for Israel can be achieved only through peace. In the years since its establishment Shalom Achshav has worked for the achievement of peace agreements between Israel and all her Arab neighbors, and has come to be recognized, both in Israel and abroad, as Israel’s leading grassroots, Zionist movement. Best known for mobilizing mass demonstrations, for many years Shalom Achshav has also been the only group conducting comprehensive monitoring of Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank (and the Gaza Strip, until Israel’s 2004 evacuation of Gaza settlements). Shalom Achshav is widely cited in the Israeli and international media as the foremost authority on settlements.

Read more about Shalom Achshav on their website and follow and like them on Facebook.

They Say, We Say: Those calling for the removal of settlers are arguing for an openly anti-Semitic policy of ethnic cleansing

They Say We Say We know that pro-Israel does not mean blindly supporting policies that are irrational, reckless, and counter-productive. Pro-Israel means supporting policies that are consistent with Israel's interests and promote its survival as a Jewish, democratic state.

You've heard the arguments of the religious and political right-wing, and so have we. They've had their say. Now, we'll have ours.

Go HERE for all installments of APN's "They Say, We Say"

Are settlements really a problem?

They Say:

Those calling for the removal of settlers are arguing for an openly anti-Semitic policy of ethnic cleansing. It is a policy that is not unlike Hitler's call for German territory to be "Judenrein" (empty of Jews).

We Say:

The idea that Jews, because they are Jews, may not live in a given place is abhorrent.

Appealing to the trauma that Jews experienced at the hands of the Nazis when discussing the issue of settlements is inflammatory and misleading. Calling for Israeli settlers to leave or be removed from the West Bank has nothing in common with the genocidal policies of the Nazis. It also has nothing to do with the question of whether Jews, as Jews, can live in a future Palestinian state.

It should be recalled that there were no Israelis living in the West Bank in June 1967. The Israelis who have since settled there have done so either out of ideology - an ideology that includes a desire to remove Palestinians from the land - or because they have walked into a political trap, with the active encouragement of their governments - Labor as well as Likud.

Certainly, there was a small Jewish presence in the West Bank prior to 1948, but demanding a "right of return" to Jewish property in the West Bank opens a very dangerous question about the legitimacy of Palestinian claims to a "right of return" to property they owned in Israel before 1948. Following this argument to its logical conclusion would mean closing the door to the viability of Israel as a Jewish, democratic state. Why would Israelis, and American Jews, want to go down this path?

We hope that once peace is secured, people of all faiths will be welcome to live in Palestine. However, one of the key aspects of sovereignty is the authority to determine who lives within a state's borders and under what conditions. Israel insists on this authority, rightly; so, too, will any future Palestinian state.

They Say, We Say: Arabs live in Israel, so why can't Jews live in Palestine?

They Say We Say We know that pro-Israel does not mean blindly supporting policies that are irrational, reckless, and counter-productive. Pro-Israel means supporting policies that are consistent with Israel's interests and promote its survival as a Jewish, democratic state.

You've heard the arguments of the religious and political right-wing, and so have we. They've had their say. Now, we'll have ours.

Go HERE for all installments of APN's "They Say, We Say"

 

Are settlements really a problem?

They Say:

Why can't the settlers just stay where they are, even under a peace agreement? Arabs live in Israel, so why can't Jews live in Palestine? To reject this is to enforce a double-standard that demands tolerance from Israelis but accepts Arab anti-Semitism.

We Say:

Based on past Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, it is clear that many (if not most) West Bank settlers will be able to remain where they are under a future peace treaty, as part of a land-swap agreement. Today, settlements make such an arrangement complicated but not impossible; if settlements continue to expand and proliferate, they will further complicate negotiations and the end result may be worse for Israel.

At the same time, the idea of leaving settlers living under Palestinian sovereignty is untenable, for a number of reasons. These include security: if Israeli citizens were left to live inside Palestine and came under threat, Israel would have an obligation to intervene, raising the possibility of a war between Israel and Palestine. Likewise, if Israeli citizens inside Israel attacked Palestinians, Israel would be loath to permit its citizens to be dealt with by a Palestinian justice system. In other words, establishing a Palestinian state with settlers in its midst is a recipe for serious and otherwise avoidable Israeli-Palestinian security friction.

It is also untenable for reasons of ideology. While land swaps can ensure that most settlers become part of Israel without having to move, the settlers who cannot be accommodated by land swaps are those living in the heartland of the West Bank. These are settlers who for reasons of ideology have long been the most hostile and violent toward Palestinians and the prospects of a Palestinian state. These settlers have a clear track record that demonstrates their inability and unwillingness to live in peace with their Palestinian neighbors, given their view that every inch of the land has been given to them, as Jews, by God, and this claim trumps all other considerations, including law and human rights.

Finally, this proposal is untenable politically. Over the years of the occupation, the Israeli settlement enterprise has been forced on the Palestinians. Settlements and related infrastructure developed at the expense of Palestinian development and Palestinian resources, including water, agricultural land, and construction at key sites across the West Bank. In effect, Israel has treated the West Bank as the spoils of war to be exploited for the exclusive benefit of Israeli settlers. The Palestinians' decision to accept land swaps - swaps whose purpose is to keep alive the possibility of a peace agreement while permitting Israel to hold onto much of its ill-gotten gains in the West Bank - is a highly significant concession. It is virtually inconceivable that any Palestinian leadership would agree, under almost any circumstances, to a further concession that would leave settlers implanted in the heart of a new Palestinian state, with the settlers left in possession of what Palestinians view as stolen resources and land, and representing a permanent slap in the face to Palestinian aspirations for self-determination and independence.

They Say, We Say: If the Left wants to protest settlements, it should find ways other than boycotts

They Say We Say We know that pro-Israel does not mean blindly supporting policies that are irrational, reckless, and counter-productive. Pro-Israel means supporting policies that are consistent with Israel's interests and promote its survival as a Jewish, democratic state.

You've heard the arguments of the religious and political right-wing, and so have we. They've had their say. Now, we'll have ours.

Go HERE for all installments of APN's "They Say, We Say"

BDS & Criticism of Israel

They Say:

If the Left wants to protest settlements, it should find ways other than boycotts.  By embracing any boycotts, the Left is contributing to the momentum behind the BDS movement and the delegitimization of Israel.

We Say:

For decades, we have been trying to get people to recognize the dangers posed to Israel by settlements.  For years, American Jewry responded mainly with a shrug of the shoulders signifying, "we don't want to know, don't ask us to do anything."  All the while, American Jews have contributed millions of dollars in donations that indirectly and directly support settlements.

Some U.S. presidents have tried to get tougher on the settlements. Back in the 1990s, President George H.W. Bush, fed up with Israel greeting every U.S. official visit with a new settlement, decided to link $10 million in loan guarantees to Israel's settlement activities.  In response, the bulk of the American Jewish community declared war on Bush.  Some still believe that this fight -- not over being tough on Israel but being a little tough on settlements -- helped cost Bush a second term in office.

Likewise, President Obama took on settlements right out of the gate.  He didn't threaten to cut aid to Israel, or deny Israel weapons and defense systems, or fail to back Israel at the United Nations (including protecting Israel from criticism over settlements), or even ask Israel to remove a single settlement.  All Obama did was push Israel to freeze settlements, consistent with Israel's long-ignored and freely undertaken commitments (most recently under the George W. Bush-era "Roadmap").  For doing so Obama was vilified by some as an enemy of Israel.

In essence, the same people who decreed that pressure from an American president over settlements is unacceptable, and that U.N. action on settlements is impermissible, are now saying that it is unacceptable to adopt a policy of "Boycott Settlements, Buy Israeli."  So what would these people suggest?  It seems the only opposition to settlements they will tolerate -- if they tolerate any opposition at all -- is opposition that is as toothless as it is ineffectual.

It's time for American Jews - and all who care about Israel - to stop making excuses.  The window is closing on the two-state solution.  All those who want to save Israel as a Jewish state and a democracy need to act.  And that means, for a start, showing at least as much courage as many Israelis show by differentiating between Israel and the territories.  Publicly declaring an intention to "buy Israel, but boycott settlements" sends a powerful message to Israelis living both in Israel and the settlements.

And make no mistake: Demanding that American Jews not do so leaves the field open for those who call for a general boycott of everything Israeli.  If American Jews refuse to differentiate between Israel and the settlements in our activism, we can't complain when others -- including those who may not share our commitment to Israel -- insist on doing the same.

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