Israel, Palestine, and the Dangers of Magical Thinking

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It's easy to be dismissive of the idea that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will be solved through a negotiated two-state solution. Libraries are filled with books about failed peace efforts. The daily news is replete with reports of developments that undermine a two-state outcome. Those who oppose two states are growing more powerful on both sides. And the impotence of the United States and international community when it comes to getting serious about this issue is so self-evident as to be cliché.

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APN Legislative Round-Up: Weeks ending Sept 6 and 13, 2013

1. Bills, Resolutions & Letters
2. Syria Debate on the Hill - Broader Implications?
3. Members on the Record (on things other than Syria)
4. Hearings/Briefings
5. News of the Weird

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The Ongoing Calamity in Syria

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APN is deeply concerned over the spiraling calamity in Syria. More than two years of fighting has left the country in ruins and more than 100,000 people dead, including, in the latest phase, hundreds killed in a chemical weapons attack.

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APN's Lara Friedman at Voice of America on Mideast Peace Propects

Lara Freidman


Israeli and Palestinian negotiators are preparing to resume their peace talks Wednesday in Jerusalem. Complex issues lie before them, according to Lara Friedman Director of Policy and Government Relations for Americans for Peace Now. She spoke with VOA's Susan Yackee on August 14, 2013.

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Cynicism about new Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts comes in a variety of flavors.

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Netanyahu's Prisoners vs. Settlements Game

bib-and-prisoners-collage186x140.jpgIt is impossible for any thinking person to view yesterday's release of Palestinian prisoners - and the planned release of more prisoners - with anything but very mixed feelings.

Anyone who recognizes that Israeli-Palestinian peace is vital for Israel's security and viability as a democracy and a Jewish state must welcome the release -- as a measure that can strengthen and give credibility to the new negotiating effort -- even as we feel compassion for those for whom these releases awaken terrible memories of heinous crimes committed against loved ones.

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New Peace Talks, New Settlement Provocations -- A Timeline

Since the start of the new Israeli-Palestinian peace effort backed by Secretary Kerry, it feels like every day has seen news about new settlement approvals, tenders, planning, benefits, etc. In truth, it hasn't been quite every day - but close to it. The settlement floodgates have been opened, and opened wide, especially in East Jerusalem. This timeline is intended not to provide comprehensive details of each new settlement-related development, but to track these developments across time and provide links to additional resources. Also, keep in mind that new developments can be viewed on the map through APN's "Facts on the Ground" Map App.

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APN Condemns New Settlement Tenders, Calls for Strong U.S. Response

more-settlements186x140.jpgAmericans for Peace Now (APN) today harshly condemned the government of Israel's recent actions to move forward with new settlement approvals and tenders in both East Jerusalem and the West Bank. APN urged President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry to engage vigorously to convince Netanyahu to roll back these reckless, destructive decisions.

APN President and CEO Debra DeLee commented:

"Yesterday's announcement of tenders for 1200 new units in settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem was an extraordinary sign of contempt for President Abbas and for new U.S. special Middle East peace envoy Martin Indyk, who arrived in Israel this week to restart talks. It came on the heels of last week's outrageous news of a decision to press ahead with almost 900 new settlement units. Today's announcement of the approval of nearly 1000 additional settlement units in East Jerusalem appears to reflect nothing short of deliberate effort to extinguish any hopes of success for the Kerry-backed peace effort before the second round of talks even starts.

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Anyone familiar with the history of Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking can be forgiven for viewing new Israeli-Palestinian negotiations with a certain degree of skepticism, in large part fueled by concern that settlements will, once again, be used to undermine the chances for achieving peace.

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Anyone familiar with the history of Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking can be forgiven for viewing new Israeli-Palestinian negotiations with a certain degree of skepticism, in large part fueled by concern that settlements will, once again, be used to undermine the chances for achieving peace.

Recent settlement-related developments warrant such concern. Clearly, some are happy to use settlements to kill the new peace initiative, perhaps hoping this will be the final nail in the coffin of the two-state solution. If they succeed, there will be opportunities aplenty for hardliners and cynics alike to smirk and say, "We told you so," but they'll be smirking into the abyss. Failure of this latest peace effort won't create an alternative to the two-state solution or halt the march of settlements. It will only play into the hands of zero-sum ideologues on both sides, with devastating implications for everyone else.

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