Americans for Peace Now is appalled and alarmed by President Trump’s shocking statements yesterday, equating neo-Nazis and white supremacists to progressive demonstrators and equating Robert E. Lee to George Washington. He is completely blurring the lines between right and wrong as he dabbles in the politics of moral equivalence and coddles his racist supporters whose cause is anathema to American values and civil rights.
Alarmed at the flare-up of violence on and around Jerusalem’s Temple Mount / Haram al-Sharif, and extremely concerned about a further deterioration, Americans for Peace Now (APN) is calling on the Trump administration to offer its services to help establish security arrangements in this sensitive spot, which would be accepted and respected by all.
Americans for Peace Now (APN) strongly condemns the shooting attack this morning at Jerusalem's Temple Mount / Haram al-Sharif. APN sends its condolences to the families of the two Israeli policemen who were killed in the attack, both Arab Druze citizens of Israel, and wishes full recovery to a third police officer who was injured in the attack.
APN implores the Israeli authorities, the Palestinian Muslim clerics in Jerusalem, the government of Jordan, the Israeli and Palestinian publics, and all other stakeholders in Jerusalem, to do all they can to prevent further escalation in Jerusalem, particularly at this highly sensitive and holy spot, and to respect the sanctity of Jerusalem's holy sites.
Today is the fiftieth anniversary of the Six-Day War, Israel's greatest military victory, a victory that ironically inflicted a political disaster upon the state of Israel.
After fifty years, the disastrous Pyrrhic repercussions of this military victory are intensifying as the occupation of the West Bank solidifies both on the ground and in the minds of many Israelis, Palestinians, and their leaders.
The gathering of tens of thousands of Israelis at Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square last night for a Peace Now rally marking 50 years of Israel’s ruling over another people was a show of force for Israel’s peace camp. It showed that there is a loyal and vociferous constituency for peace, which is willing to fight for what Israelis and Palestinians deserve: Two states, living side by side in peace and security.
The organization was impeccable – the result of months of preparation and many hours of work by Peace Now staff and volunteers. The turnout was large – much more than the organizers had expected. The speeches were inspiring and the crowd’s behavior dignified, even when controversial Likud MK Oren Hazan showed up for a provocation.
Strolling among the crowd, I saw the beautiful, peace-loving, patriotic Israelis of yore, those who flooded the Square in the 1980s and 1990s, but even more so, I saw their children and grandchildren. Teens with picket signs and children with hand-painted peace signs. It was more than heartwarming. It was hope-inspiring. It was uplifting. It was extremely moving. It was a spectacular success.
Here are several photos that I have taken at the rally.
Donald Trump just ended a 28-hour visit to Israel and the West Bank that was rich with color, atmospherics, symbolism and lofty talk about prospects for peace and commitment to peace, but appallingly short on content. During his Middle East tour, President Trump did not refer even once to the two-state solution, and said almost nothing about what Israelis and Palestinians must do in the short run to prepare the ground for future peace.
In his meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas today, President Trump vowed to work with the leaders of Israel and the Palestinians to broker peace. "We will get this done," Trump declared.
"Everybody knows,” goes the argument. “Everybody knows that under any future Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, West Bank settlement blocs will be annexed to Israel.” And because everyone knows that, the argument goes, Israel should be allowed, even encouraged, to continue unhindered with settlement construction in the “blocs.”
Proponents of construction in settlement blocs argue the following. There is an Israeli consensus around the future annexation of the blocs once a peace agreement is signed. Even the PLO gave a nod of approval for such a scenario. Both Israelis and Palestinians have accepted the principle of “land swaps” (Israel compensating the Palestinians for lands it will annex east of the Green Line with Israeli land West of the Green Line). The US has made it clear that it will not insist on an Israeli withdrawal to the 1967 lines. Given all that, they say, why not build in areas that “everybody knows” Israel will end up keeping and annexing? How could that damage future negotiations?
This logic is becoming so rampant that a prominent Washington expert on the conflict recently said: “If settlements are the problem, then the blocs are the solution.”
Really? Is more settlement construction here the solution to the problem that settlement construction there creates?
Americans for Peace Now (APN) joins its Israeli sister organization Peace Now (Shalom Achshav) in condemning the Israeli government's decision to establish a new settlement in the West Bank, to publish tenders for some 2,000 new homes in West Bank settlements and to take measures that would allow for the retroactive legalization of three outposts built illegally, without initial government approval, in the West Bank.
APN also joins Peace Now's condemnation of the Israeli Cabinet's new policy of so-called "restraint," which in practice would allow it to continue with its unhindered expansion anywhere in the West Bank, including settlements adjacent to the Green Line ("settlement blocs"), more distant settlements, and East Jerusalem.
The U.S. Senate today confirmed, by a very narrow margin, the nomination of David Friedman to be America’s ambassador to Israel.
Americans for Peace Now (APN) strongly opposed Friedman’s confirmation and worked hard to thwart it.