APN's Lara Friedman in the Forward: Did Hamas Get Bibi to Freeze Settlements?

Settlements haven’t been in the news of late — and not simply because war pushed them off the media’s radar. They haven’t been in the news because since the kidnapping and murder of the three Israeli yeshiva students back in June, there hasn’t been much settlement news to report.

True, already-approved settlement construction continued unabated (and there’s plenty of it). And settlers established several new illegal outposts. And tenders were awarded for new construction in the East Jerusalem settlement of Gilo. So clearly we’re not in the midst of a full-fledged settlement freeze. However, with respect to both the West Bank and East Jerusalem, there is undoubtedly a semi-freeze: no major new settlement plans promoted through planning committees, very few new approvals granted and then for only a tiny number of units, and no new tenders issued.

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APN's Lara Friedman in The Forward: A Blood Libel Against All Palestinians

The family of murdered Palestinian teenager Mohammed Abu Khdeir / Haaretz

On July 1, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu eulogized the three Israeli yeshiva students murdered in the West Bank. “A deep and wide moral abyss separates us from our enemies,” he said. “They sanctify death while we sanctify life…”

When 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir was kidnapped and murdered in East Jerusalem a few days later, Netanyahu’s words — and words like them — framed the story. Indeed, an unbiased consumer of media reports about Abu Khdeir’s killing would likely conclude that while the perpetrators turned out to be Jewish Israelis, they might just as likely, or more likely, have been Palestinians.

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"The Bloody Shrapnel" -- new article by Peace Now's Yariv Oppenheimer

The following article by Peace Now's Secretary General Yariv Oppenheimer, headlined The Bloody Shrapnel, was published in today's edition of the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth:

We had good reason to keep our fingers crossed during the negotiations in hope of a breakthrough; we had good reason to pull our hair out when the minister of housing kept issuing tenders for settlement construction; we had good reason to be angry when we saw the footage of the unjustified shooting in Bituniya; we had good reason to become angrier when the government ignored the Palestinian prisoners' hunger strike. It was obvious that the despair, the hate, the hostility and the anger on the Palestinian side would find their way out.

We knew that time is not on our side, and that this was a matter of crucial decisions and human lives.  Seven years of quiet, in which we could have improved our relations with the Palestinians and achieved a peace agreement, had been wasted.

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Setting the Record Straight: U.S. Law & the new PA government

There’s a lot of talk these days – from pundits, lobbyists, members of Congress, and others – to the effect that according to U.S. law, the Obama Administration must cut off all aid to the Palestinian Authority now that a new government is in power, a government that was produced out of a PLO-Hamas reconciliation agreement.

Regrettably, most of this talk appears to be informed more by anger, opinion, or wishful thinking than a careful analysis of the actual laws in question.   And as always, while every person is entitled to his or her own opinion, there is only one set of facts.  So now it's time to set the record straight.

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APN's Ori Nir in Haaretz: American Jews are running out of patience with Israel

Netanyahu and Kerry in JerusalemWhile Israeli politicians flip the finger at the world to score points with right-wing voters at home, they are alienating Israel’s most important, loyal allies: Progressive U.S. Jews.

Lately, American friends are asking me whether Israeli leaders are thinking straight, whether they realize how unreasonable their statements sound here in Washington, and how odd some of their policies seem.

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ADL's Foxman pens strong condemnation of "Price Tag"

Price_Tag_withCaption350Following the recent increase in “Price Tag” hate-crimes in Israel, including the desecration of Christian and Muslim houses of worship, we called on American friends of Israel to join APN in urging the Israeli authorities to seriously confront this ugly phenomenon.

On Sunday, the Anti-Defamation League’s Abraham Foxman published a powerful article in Israel’s Haaretz, headlined “Israel cannot wait any longer to crush price tag attacks.”

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Peace Now's Hagit Ofran is One of Haaretz's 66 Israeli Influential Women

As Israel marks 66 years of independence Ha'aretz daily compiled a list of "66 Israeli women you should know". Those women are "breaking barriers, defying stereotypes and wielding influence to great effect in the corridors of power and behind the scenes. Each and every one of these outstanding achievers, we believe, is a woman worth watching."

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Peace Process Hanging in the Balance

Secretary of State John Kerry cut short a tour to Europe Monday to rush to Israel and the West Bank to salvage the US-brokered peace process from collapse.

The reason for the current crisis, the most severe since the beginning the so-called Kerry initiative eight months ago, is the Israeli government’s balking at the release of Palestinian security prisoners, convicted terrorists who Israel has committed to releasing as a gesture to the Palestinians.

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APN's Lara Friedman in Haaretz: What Israeli Palestinian mutual recognition really means.

Unlike Israel's unilateral insistence on the 'Jewish state', Israeli and Palestinian leaders need to find a recognition formula that reconciles two opposing national narratives.

By now everyone has realized that there’s a new issue on the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations agenda that’s not going away: The demand that the Palestinians not only recognize Israel - something they have done repeatedly, starting in 1993 - but that they recognize Israel as "a Jewish state," or some similar wording. No such “recognition-plus” demand was made of Egypt or Jordan, nor was it mentioned in the Oslo agreement or subsequent Israeli-Palestinian documents. It made a brief appearance in the Annapolis talks of 2007, but only as a marginal issue. Only In 2009 did it truly come into play, courtesy of Benjamin Netanyahu.

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APN's Ori Nir in Haaretz: Two-staters, unite behind Kerry

kerry_briefing_2014-320x265You don’t have to love everything that the U.S. Secretary of State will present in his 'framework’ paper - but there is too much at stake not to support a chance for peace.

There’s a kind of hush in the peace camp as Secretary of State John Kerry prepares to issue the “framework” for continued Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. And unlike Karen Carpenter's saccharine song, this hush is not intended to make room for the sound of lovers in love. It’s a hush of inhibition, the silence of the skeptics who have known too many past disappointments.

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