This statement will be sent out to the media on Friday morning, shortly before inauguration:
Under normal circumstances, Americans for Peace Now (APN) would today be welcoming the inauguration of the new U.S. president, wishing him success and urging him to take action toward peace between Israel and her neighbors. Today’s circumstances are not normal.
Donald Trump, both as a candidate and as President-elect, has said that he would like to broker the “ultimate deal” between Israelis and Palestinians. But this potentially encouraging sentiment has been overshadowed – trumped, as it were – by a series of alarming actions and statements that send a very different message.
These actions include bringing into his administration, as top officials working on Israel-related issues, individuals with long records of support for hardline West Bank settlements, most notably David Friedman, Trump's nominee for ambassador to Israel, Jared Kushner, Trump's candidate for brokering negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, and Jason Greenblatt, named by Trump as his Special Representative for International Negotiations. Friedman is closely associated with the ideological, national religious settlements. Kushner has given money to such settlements through the Kushner Family Foundation that he directs. Jason Greenblatt recently said that West Bank settlements are not an obstacle to peace. Last week, settler leaders were invited to attend the inauguration, apparently by the Trump transition team.
These actions indicate that the Trump administration may abandon longstanding core U.S. policies and positions related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict upheld by past presidents from both parties. These policies include principled, resolute opposition to Israeli settlements, support for a negotiated, two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and continued insistence on the U.S embassy in Israel remaining in Tel Aviv until the status of Jerusalem is resolved through a negotiated agreement.
Abandonment of these policies would jeopardize American national security interests in the region and condemn Israel, our most important ally in the Middle East, to endless violence and strife, political isolation and even sanctions, and threaten Israel as a democracy and a Jewish state. Already, Trump’s nominations and statements are emboldening the settlers and pro-settlement Israeli politicians to push legislation to annex the West Bank or parts of it, and to grant post-facto legalization to West Bank settlements that today are illegal even under Israeli law.
There is still time for President Trump to adopt sober, responsible policies vis-à-vis Israel and the Palestinians. APN hopes that he will do so and hopes that he will indeed work to reach a historic negotiated agreement that resolves the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. Should he adopt such a course, APN stands ready to support his efforts.
At the same time, APN will fiercely and unremittingly oppose any policies of the Trump Administration that support or collude with extremist anti-peace, pro-settlement, pro-Greater Israel forces in the U.S. or in Israel.
Americans for Peace Now is the sister organization of Shalom Achshav, Israel's preeminent peace movement. APN's mission is to educate and persuade the American public and its leadership to support and adopt policies that will lead to comprehensive, durable, Israeli-Palestinian and Israeli-Arab peace, guaranteeing both peoples security, consistent with U.S. national interests. APN works to ensure Israel's future and the viability of Israel's democracy and Jewish character through education, activism and advocacy in the United States, and by mobilizing American support for Shalom Achshav.