WATCH APN's Lara Friedman - Viewpoint with James Zogby on the Israeli Palestinian conflict

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Since the beginning of this year, an unprecedented but little-noticed campaign has been waged in Congress—backed by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and others—in support of Israeli settlements. At the core of this campaign is an effort to legislate a change in U.S. policy, which since 1967 has remained firmly opposed to settlements, under both Republican and Democratic presidents.

Backers of the campaign, both in Congress and among outside groups like AIPAC, are promoting numerous pieces of legislation that redefine “Israel” to mean “Israel-plus-the-settlements” and make supporting settlements an integral and mandatory part of American support for Israel, as a matter of policy and law. They pass off their efforts as an entirely non-controversial matter of countering boycott-divestment-sanctions (BDS) against Israel in general, countering BDS policies adopted by the EU and some European countries, in particular.

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Michael Koplow, the Policy Director at the Israel Policy Forum, this week added his voice to those suggesting that the US should drop its 48-year-old policy of opposing all Israeli settlement construction, and replace it with one that in effect green lights some such construction - or in Koplow's words, a policy that "distinguishes between kosher and non-kosher settlement growth." Koplow joins Brookings' Natan Sachs and others, all of whom follow in the footsteps of Dennis Ross in supporting such shift and predicting that it would help pave the way to peace. And Koplow - like his predecessors - uses words like "realistic" and "pragmatic" to describe his approach, suggesting that those who disagree are anything but.

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Support for boycotts, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) targeting Israel is growing, generating great angst and solution-searching amongst Israel supporters – including pro-peace progressives – in the United States and elsewhere in the world.  From the Adelson-Saban summit earlier this year, which gave birth to a new anti-BDS organization (to be led by someone who for years headed a far right-wing, pro-Israel, Evangelical Christian operation), to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s letter to Jewish leaders, BDS is now being treated even by many pro-peace progressives as the new “existential” threat to Israel, despite the fact that the actual track record of the BDS movement, in terms of concrete impact, is thus far mixed.

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Peace Now's Yariv Oppenheimer in YNet: ISIS and the Palestinians are not the same thing

By Yariv Oppenheimer is the secretary-general of Peace Now. This article appeared first on November 20, 2015 in Ynet.com T

he Paris attacks cannot justify for a minute our ongoing control of the Palestinians and do not make the vision of a bi-national state any better for Israel.

If the Islamic State members could, they wouldn't hesitate to hurt Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas too and behead him. As far as the radical Islam created by ISIS is concerned, the Palestinians and their leadership are heretics too.

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A recent article in Foreign Affairs by Brookings fellow Natan Sachs is getting a lot of attention: Why Israel waits: Anti-Solutionism as a strategy. (Full disclosure: Sachs is a friend and someone for whom I have great professional respect.)

The piece offers some valuable insights into how Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and those around him justify their approach on national security issues. However, the analysis suffers from an important omission with respect to the Israeli government's approach to the Palestinians, and offers a policy recommendation that, if adopted, would be disastrous.

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Rejecting any claim that settlements play a part in the current violence, Netanyahu has adopted data showing he's built less than his predecessors. But don't believe the statistics.

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The Obama Administration enters its final 14 months in office with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict escalating into daily bloodshed. This crisis is taking place to a backdrop of a fatally discredited peace process, a political clock ticking down toward American elections, and an international community awaiting direction and leadership from a White House that is providing neither. More broadly, it is taking place to the backdrop of Israeli policies - including settlement expansion, demolitions, and coercive displacements - that disclose an unmistakable drive to implement a one-state outcome, notwithstanding Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's continued (if weak and intermittent) rhetorical support for a two-state solution.

It is now self-evident that Israeli-Palestinian peace will not be achieved on President Obama's watch, nor will meaningful progress towards a peace agreement come from another round of negotiations. In this context, the Obama Administration has three options: walking away, playing it safe, or charting a new course.

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APN's Ori Nir in the Boston Globe: What Yitzhak Rabin left behind

Like all Israelis of my generation, I remember the night of Nov. 4, 1995.

Having just heard from the news desk editor at Israel’s Haaretz newspaper that Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin had been shot, I called Palestinian officials for reaction. I was Haaretz’s Palestinian affairs correspondent at the time and was on the phone with Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat when I heard on Israel Radio that Rabin’s spokesman was about to make a statement. As Eitan Haber hushed the crowed, I started translating for Erekat: “The government of Israel announces in dismay, in great sadness, and in deep sorrow, the death of Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Yitzhak Rabin, who was murdered by an assassin, tonight in Tel Aviv.”

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Don't Reward the Zealots

Debra-approved-headshot-study-tour-2014-320x265-backgrndfix Since the eruption of the current wave of horrific violence in Israel and the West Bank, we have issued a number of formal statements responding to the escalation. I've wanted to send you a personal message as well . . . but I've waited.

In times like this – when there are numerous attacks against civilians every day, when two thirteen-year-old boys are lying in the street bleeding, when Israelis and Palestinians are afraid to walk out of their homes, terrified that they will be the next victim of random violence – it is hard to write from the heart and not from the guts.

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