Interview with Freedom House's Vanessa Tucker on the state of Israel's Freedom of the Press

VanessaTuckerPhoto320x265The pro-Netanyahu newspaper Israel Hayom, a political daily distributed free of charge and funded by American billionaire Sheldon Adelson, is the main reason for Israel’s dropping to the unflattering “partly free” category in Freedom House’s 2016 Global Freedom of the Press report. Vanessa Tucker, Freedom House’s vice president for analysis, explains in the following interview why her organization is concerned about the impact of the Adelson-funded daily on Israel’s public arena.

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April 25, 2016 - Gaza

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Yossi Alpher is an independent security analyst. He is the former director of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University, a former senior official with the Mossad, and a former IDF intelligence officer. Views and positions expressed here are those of the writer, and do not necessarily represent APN's views and policy positions.

This week, Alpher discusses the Israeli calculations regarding the means and benefits of responding with force to new Hamas tunnel-digging; if Israel’s deterrence has failed and Hamas continues to attack by diverse means, if there are additional reasons for the Netanyahu government to avoid retaliation; if there are people in Israel advocating re-conquering and reoccupying the Strip; and if recent sporadic rocket fire from Gaza was not attributed to Hamas, who’s in charge there?

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Earlier this week the Palestinian Media reported on a new expropriation order in the lands of the village of Al-Zawiya. This order was published based on the State's most recent publication procedure of the Blue Line Team's work. 

While the original declaration in this area included 1,264 dumans, the current order, following the work of the Blue Line Team, adds another 115 dunams that are now declared as state lands. The order also deducts 213 dumans that are no longer considered as state lands, and yet 30 of the 213 dunams have already been expropriated for the purpose of the "Cross Samariah" highway.
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Neri Zilber in The Daily Beast: Israel’s Secret Weapon Against Terror

Despite Monday’s bus bombing, terror incidents have waned. Is the $100 million a year the U.S. spends on the Palestinian Authority Security Forces paying off?

GUSH ETZION, West Bank — On a recent cold foggy day at the entrance to Bethlehem, Israel Defense Forces Lt. Col. Yoel Pinto pulled his military jeep to the side of the road to point out an overpass where, on occasion, young Palestinians rain down rocks on Israeli cars below.

Pinto, a battalion commander whose infantry unit was responsible for this north-west sector of Gush Etzion, a restive part of the southern West Bank, seemed preternaturally calm despite being at the doorstep of a major Palestinian city—which was likely the point.

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Haggadah Insert: The fifth cup - full redemption

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Each year at the Seder, Jews read this line in the Passover Haggadah, "In every generation, a person is obligated to see themselves as if they had left Egypt." I love this concept, because it evokes both empathy for what our forefathers and mothers have suffered, and – more importantly – a lesson for us, for our present and future. The lesson is that change is possible, that we are masters of our fate, and that with determination and courage we can accomplish liberation. In our generation, liberating Israelis and Palestinians from the yoke of the occupation, which is subjugating both societies, is imperative. And it is within our reach.

This year, you can add flavor to your seder by sharing this thoughtful reflection by Rabbi Michael Feshbach. Rabbi Feshbach has graciously contributed our 16th haggadah insert. In it, he asks us to reflect upon what Elijah's cup - the symbol of full redemption - means.

Since 2001, Americans for Peace Now has asked rabbis from the extended APN family to contribute reflections on the haggada: that story which has for centuries been understood as the archetype of liberation. Many of us have made these reflections a permanent part of our seder - we hope you will, too.You can find them here.

May we all enjoy a sweet and liberating Passover,

Debra DeLee
President and CEO,
Americans for Peace Now

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Submitted by Rabbi Michael L. Feshbach (2016)
To be recited as we prepare to open the door for Elijah.

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Yossi Alpher is an independent security analyst. He is the former director of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University, a former senior official with the Mossad, and a former IDF intelligence officer. Views and positions expressed here are those of the writer, and do not necessarily represent APN's views and policy positions.

This week, Alpher discusses why, even though Israel has a peace treaty with Caiso, but no formal ties with Riyadh, Israel offered its blessing for a deal that affects a vital naval passage that has triggered war in the recent past; explains the timing of Sunday's declaration by Netanyahu’s government whence they met on the Golan Heights and the prime minister declared that the Golan would always remain a sovereign part of Israel; connects the regional conflict situations of the ceasefire in Syria, which appears to be ending, Yemen, where there is optimism regarding a ceasefire, and Ngorno Karabach (an enclave disputed between Armenia and Azerbaijan) where renewed fighting has broken out; and why, now 15 years after his assassination by Palestinians and 11 years after he was declared a national hero to be memorialized annually in school ceremonies, far-right-wing Major General Rehavam Zeevi (“Gandhi”) is accused of having been a serial rapist and sexual harasser and having consorted with gangsters.

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Newsflash: Peace Now Exposes Netanyahu's Deceit; Makes a Difference

Peace Now’s Settlement Watch project reported this week that Benjamin Netanyahu’s government approved construction of hundreds of new homes in West Bank settlements, and is accelerating the pace of planned building in the settlements. Peace Now’s data was based on info obtained from the High Planning Council for Judea and Samaria, the government agency responsible for construction licensing and planning in West Bank settlements. The data showed that this year’s numbers (January through March) were higher than the equivalent period last year.

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Yossi Alpher: PASSOVER - 40 years of wandering to nearly 50 years of occupation

Purim 2016

These are not easy or happy times in the Middle East. If the past year is anything to go by, things are only getting harder for Israelis and Palestinians. We are collectively sliding slowly down a slippery slope toward some sort of ugly, violent, and tribal one-state reality. Just look at the recent Pew Survey’s finding that roughly half of Israeli Jews look approvingly on the notion of expelling Arabs from the country. Look at the extensive incitement on Palestinian Authority media, the wave of knife attacks and the dismal socio-economic state of the Gaza Strip. How are we—Israelis and American Jews—going to deal with this reality in the years to come? Where do Shalom Achshav (Peace Now in Israel) and Americans for Peace Now fit in? —Yossi Alpher

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Yesterday it was published that the High Planning Committee of the Civil Administration advanced plans in different stages for over 200 units in the settlements after receiving a green light to do so from the Prime Minister and the Minister of Defense. This is another indication of a shift away from the so-called "planning freeze" of 2015. For a list of all plans approved in 2016 click here.

While the government issued a statement arguing that all of the plans advanced were for already existing buildings except from those in Ganei Modi'in, Peace Now's aerial photos illustrate that this is not the case, and much of the planning is for new housing units.
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MK Merav Michaeli of the Zionist Union, Thursday April 14th, 2016

UNCOVERING ISRAEL, INSIDE AND OUT 
With Member of Knesset Merav Michaeli (Zionist Union)

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Israeli Knesset Member Merav Michaely of the Zionist Union was a guest speaker on Thursday, April 14, 2016 at an event co-sponsored by the New Israel Fund and Americans for Peace Now. MK Michaeli spoke about the challenges that progressive Israelis face, both on security and foreign affairs questions and on domestic affairs.

 

One of Israel’s foremost protectors of democracy, Zionist Union MK Merav Michaeli is a voice of reason, justice, and passion for human rights. Click here to watch Merav’s brief but stirring analysis of the aftermath of the recent Hebron shooting, which has dominated Israel’s public discourse in recent days.

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