Don’t Blame Argentina, Blame the Occupation

By Elana Kravitz, APN intern

When you think about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the first thing that comes to mind usually isn’t soccer. But this week, a soccer game in Israel became a highly symbolic political pawn used by the Palestinians, and specifically the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, against Israel.

The match, scheduled for Saturday in Jerusalem, was intended to be a “friendly” warm-up game between the Argentine and Israeli national teams before the World Cup next week. Palestine Football Association chief Jibril Rajoub pressured Argentina to back out of the match, even going so far as to encourage Palestinians to “burn their Messi [jerseys] and pictures and renounce him.” In the wake of this encouragement, Argentine soccer players, especially Messi, received numerous threats, leading the team to pull out of the match citing concerns about safety.

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APN's Peter Weiss and Debra Shushan in The New York Jewish Week

The Israeli government is on a reckless mission to extend permanently its control over the West Bank by annexing by force all or parts of the occupied territory. Developments over the past year, facilitated by the permissive attitude of the Trump Administration, are particularly alarming.

While proposals for annexation of all or part of the West Bank had previously been confined to the extreme right-wing fringe of the Israeli political spectrum, members of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party are now submitting such bills to the Knesset. In December 2017, Likud incorporated into its party platform a resolution that would effectively extend Israeli sovereignty over West Bank settlements. And at the direction of Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked of the Jewish Home Party, the government is moving to apply Israeli laws in the West Bank – to Israeli settlers only.

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APN's Debra Shushan in Ha'aretz: "The Day Donald Trump Was Crowned King in Jerusalem"

Along with many other U.S. Jews, I wanted to feel pride at the opening of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem. But amid the carnage in Gaza, I felt nausea

Debra Shushan | May 16, 2018 | 

For Jews around the world, the opening of the U.S. embassy to Israel in Jerusalem should have been an occasion for jubilation and pride. And while for some it was, many of the rest of us watched the ceremony feeling a combination of nausea and cognitive dissonance.

There were at least three reasons to feel ill.

The first and most obvious is that the ceremony took place yesterday against the backdrop of carnage in Gaza.

While American and Israeli officials congratulated themselves in Jerusalem, denizens of the open-air prison which Israel continues to occupy (through its control of air, sea, and land routes out of Gaza and even of its population registry) were being shot to death by the dozens.

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From Creeping to Leaping: Annexation in the Trump-Netanyahu Era

Ori Nir and Debra Shushan, April 2018

download or view as a pdf here.

Introduction

Since President Donald Trump took office, the Israeli right has launched an unprecedented drive to annex the West Bank, piecemeal or in its entirety. This paper does the following: lays out the recent developments that present a quantum leap in Israeli annexation efforts, analyzes these moves against the historical backdrop of Israel’s 50-year occupation of the West Bank, examines the ramifications of the transition from “creeping” to “leaping” annexation, and considers why this transformation is happening now.

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The White House says it wants to help Gaza. So it punitively cuts aid to desperate Gazans, adopts one-sided policies in Israel's favor – then blames the Palestinians for 'politicizing' humanitarian assistance.

Two conferences held last week underlined the Trump Administration’s combination of bad faith and ineptitude in addressing Gaza’s severe humanitarian crisis.

The first one, convened by the White House, was dubbed a "brainstorming session" on Gaza by Trump’s special representative for international negotiations Jason Greenblatt. At the outset, Greenblatt enjoined participants to "leave all politics at the door" in order to help Gaza.

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Watch: APN's Debra Shushan on i24 on AIPAC's losing battle for progressive support

Watch Dr. Debra Shushan on Israel's i24 News! Debra discusses AIPAC's losing battle for progressive support and what it means to be pro-Israel, pro-peace (a term popularized nearly 20 years ago by APN) in the Trump Era. She is APN's Director of Policy and Government Relations.  

 

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Trump has consistently privileged the Israeli narrative and claims over those of the Palestinians. In his Jerusalem decision he also helped the destructive, unnecessary transformation of the conflict from a political to a religious struggle.

Mae Elise Cannon, Yahya Hendi, and Debra Shushan

President Trump’s decision in December to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and commence moving the US embassy was harmful enough.

And still, he has managed – repeatedly – to make it worse. In the latest development, the State Department announced last week that a provisional U.S. embassy in Jerusalem will open on May 14, timed to coincide with the 70th anniversary of Israel’s establishment.

The Trump Administration’s original decision was fatally flawed.

In the absence of a final settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in which Palestinian claims to Jerusalem are addressed, the decision was blatantly one-sided. American credibility as an honest broker plummeted, Trump’s avowed goal of reaching the "ultimate deal" was set back, and the United Nations, the European Union, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and His Holiness Pope Francis condemned the new policy.

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Articles on Israel's approval of 100's of new settlement homes

Reuters: "Israel approves hundreds of new settlement homes: NGO"

Peace Now's Hagit Ofran noted that many of the latest housing projects were slated for settlements deep inside the West Bank.

The Australian (from AFP): 'Israel approves more than 1100 new West Bank settlement homes' (subscription needed)

Peace Now said 6742 housing projects were approved in the settlements last year, the highest since 2013.

The Independent: "Israel approves more than 1,100 new settlement homes in occupied West Bank"

In a statement, the group (Peace Now) said: "The government is attempting to destroy the possibility of a two-state solution and the prospects of peace by building more and more in the settlements."

Boston Globe: "Group: Israel OKs more construction in West Bank settlements"

Ofran (of Peace Now) said the government is ‘‘trying to prevent the possibility for peace and a two-state solution.’’

Ha'aretz: "EU, U.K., Germany and France Condemn Israeli Plan to Build Hundreds of Settlement Homes"

Israeli anti-settlement Peace Now also denounced the 1,122 new settlement units which were approved this week.

Jordan Times: "Jordan, world countries reject Israeli settlement plans"

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American Jews shouldn't take their cue from an Israeli left which is veering rightwards and indoctrinated by the false slogan of an 'eternal and undivided Jerusalem'. Trump's move sabotaged peace, and we U.S. Jews must push back against it

If President Donald Trump’s announcement on Jerusalem had a silver lining, for me it is this: many progressive, pro-Israel American Jews saw Trump’s gambit as the narrowly self-serving, reckless move it was, and rejected it

For this reason, I read with great interest the recent Haaretz op-ed by Rabbi Eric Yoffie, a former president of the Union for Reform Judaism (U.S. Liberal Jews Read It Wrong. Trump’s Call on Jerusalem Was Good for the Peace Camp).

An ardent Trump critic, Yoffie’s "default position is to resist every word on foreign affairs that comes out of [Trump’s] mouth." So what brought Yoffie to conclude that President Trump’s new Jerusalem policy is “generally responsible”?

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7 Things You Should Know: Trump’s Decision on Jerusalem

Americans for Peace Now strongly opposes any move by the Trump Administration to alter longstanding US policy on Jerusalem outside the context of a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. Here is what you need to know:

  • 1. President Trump made a landmark announcement on Jerusalem on December 6th.

President Trump did two things in his speech: he reversed 70 years of American policy by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and he announced plans to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.  

  • 2. Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, without any acknowledgment of Palestinian claims to Jerusalem, is the root of the problem.

Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. But the timing of international, and particularly American, recognition of this matters – as do the particular borders of Jerusalem that are recognized. The reason is that Palestinians also have legitimate claims to Jerusalem as the capital of their eventual state and any realistic peace plan includes at least some portion of East Jerusalem as that capital.

Moving the US embassy to Jerusalem, in the absence of a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, recognizes Israeli claims to Jerusalem while giving the Palestinians nothing. And timing matters. Trump’s impending announcement is occurring as Congress prepares to cut, through the Taylor Force Act, aid that would benefit the Palestinian Authority, and following Trump’s near-decision to close the PLO mission to Washington. (Since Trump's announcement, PA President Mahmoud Abbas recalled Palestinian diplomats in protest.) Adding to that, US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and/or relocation of the US embassy creates a “triple whammy” against the Palestinians. It will severely damage American credibility as an honest broker of peace between Israelis and Palestinians, and in foreign policy more broadly. So much for President Trump’s avowed desire to make the “ultimate deal.”

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