Tel Aviv Mayor Huldai on Terrorism and Occupation

Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai was interviewed today by IDF Radio, following yesterday’s shooting attack in Tel Aviv. Huldai’s words, albeit not the most eloquent, were unusual in the environment of inflammatory rhetoric that typically characterizes Israeli politicians’ reactions to terrorism. Here are selected quotes, translated into English:

“This is the most central question that we face, the question that the state of Israel and the Israeli society has been facing throughout the years: Is this a matter of fate, are we destined (to live with terrorism)? Are there things that we can do to temper and minimize the motivations of enmity between the two peoples? The leader of Egypt, where there was immense enmity, understood, that it was imperative to arrive at a certain political settlement to reduce these motivations and to channel the energies for the benefit of other issues.”

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APN Statement: Terrorist Attack in Tel Aviv

Four people were shot dead and six badly injured when two young gunmen, Palestinian terrorists, opened fire at a Tel Aviv coffee shop. One of the suspects was shot dead and the other apprehended. 

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Americans for Peace Now (APN) today sounded the alarm over the imminent appointment of Israeli serial provocateur and extremist firebrand Avigdor Lieberman as Israel’s new Minister of Defense. APN's President and CEO Debra DeLee commented: 

“Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is today once again showing the world that he puts politics and personal political survival above the national security of Israel and its people.

“Avigdor Lieberman has a long and ugly track record of irresponsible, reckless, and deliberately inflammatory rhetoric and actions. As foreign minister in Netanyahu’s previous government, he caused severe damage to Israel’s foreign interests, creating crises in Israel’s relations with regional and global allies.

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Yair_Golan.President_Reuven_Rivlin,_visited_The_Kirya._April_2,_2015.III_(cropped)On May 4th, the eve of Holocaust Memorial Day, Israel’s Deputy Chief of Staff, Major General Yair Golan spoke at Israel’s Massuah Institute for Holocaust Studies. He called for national introspection on Holocaust Memorial Day and warned that processes witnessed in Germany in the 1930s and 1940s are budding in Israel today.

Golan’s bold speech created a storm. Right-wing politicians brutally attacked him, as did some pundits.

Israelis heard and read portions of Maj. Gen. Golan’s speech. English speakers saw short quotes, taken out of the broader context.

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Happy Birthday, Israel. May it be Happier Next Year

Ori-speakers-bureau-picBy Ori Nir

Israel has always suffered a water shortage. Seven years ago, the shortage turned into a crisis. The Sea of the Galilee receded to an unprecedented low, as did the mountain aquifers. Under the slogan “Israel is drying up,” the government ran terrifying television ads, featuring Israeli celebrities whose photoshopped skin was cracking like arid earth and peeling off. My mother used to cover her eyes when these ads ran. “I can’t see it,” she would say. Concerned citizens took shorter showers and stopped using garden hoses to water their plants or wash their cars. Consumption dropped but not enough. The country’s dwindling reserves couldn’t meet demand.

Today, the state of Israel has solved its water problems. Four large water desalination and purification plants were built (two more are under construction), including one that until recently was the largest in the world. Today, more than half of Israel’s drinking water is desalinated Mediterranean water. There is a surplus of water, even as consumption grows.

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Avi Buskila Named New Director of Israel's Peace Now

Avi_Buskila-smIsrael’s Peace Now movement today announced that Avi Buskila, a seasoned social activist and an advertising and public affairs professional, has been hired as Peace Now’s new Director General. He is replacing Yariv Oppenheimer, who has been the leader of Peace Now and the most recognizable public face of Israel’s peace camp in the past 14 years.

Following is Peace Now’s statement:

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For many of my American friends and former colleagues in the media, I am the Israeli they know and therefore a go-to person on Israeli affairs. They contact me with questions on Israeli politics, Jerusalem restaurants, Hebrew slang and Israeli popular culture.

Recently, their curiosity is turning into bewilderment and astonishment. Their lovingly inquisitive approach toward Israel is turning into exasperation. Their focus now is on trying to decipher Israel’s shifting character, on its changing face, on the fading vision of the Israel they grew up loving and hoped to see thriving — a state that embodies progressive, democratic, pluralistic, tolerant values.
“What the hell is going on there,” I’m often asked, “have they totally lost it?”

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Press Release: APN Condemns Israeli Government Confiscation of West Bank Land

Americans for Peace Now (APN) strongly condemns the Israeli government's decision to confiscate some 380 acres in the West Bank. The expropriated land, according to Israeli media reports, is intended for Israeli settlers' use.

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Americans for Peace Now welcomes the statement issued by the European Union's foreign ministers, which states that no European agreements with Israel would be applicable in the Occupied Territories and reiterating the EU's policy of labeling products made in West Bank Israeli settlements.

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APN to Obama: Tell Netanyahu to scrap plans for new settlement construction

Washington, DC – Americans for Peace Now (APN) is alarmed by new evidence, exposed today by our Israeli sister organization Peace Now, indicating that the Israeli government is planning massive new settlement construction in the West Bank, including in an area known as “E-1” adjacent to East Jerusalem. Settlement construction in E-1 would likely be a death blow to the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It has therefore been consistently and vehemently opposed by both Republican and Democratic administrations, and by the international community.  

The new evidence, some 200 pages Peace Now obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, shows that for the past year, Israel’s Ministry of Housing has been actively working outside of the public's eye to advance plans for 55,548 new homes in West Bank settlements.

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