The Gaza war, as of late Monday afternoon Israel time:
This week, Alpher discusses whether the latest ceasefire will last; whether Israel's war aims changed in the course of the fighting; if ignoring the strategic potential of the Hamas attack tunnels an Israeli intelligence failure; why is there such extraordinary solidarity among the normally divisive Israeli public during this war; regarding a ceasefire, what happened with the Egyptian agenda and a Turkish-Qatari agenda, and in between what appears to be a failed US mediation attempt; if all this means that Hamas has not, or not yet, registered a sufficiently significant accomplishment in this war to "declare victory;" whether Hamas is part of the regional and global militant Islamist movement currently led by ISIS/Islamic State and the likes of Boko Haram as Netanyahu argues, or if is it a faction of the Palestinian national liberation movement and in the long term, what this seeming Hamas membership in two such distinct Middle East groupings means for Israel.
The Gaza war, as of late Monday afternoon Israel time:
by APN's summer intern Hannah Ehlers
Early in my Jewish education, I was taught that, as Jews and as human beings living in an imperfect world, we are obligated to stand up and speak out in the face of injustice. However small or large the perceived wrong, and despite our shaking legs and cracking voices or a powerful and vocal opposition trying to silence us, it is our duty as Jews to confront injustice. As a Reform Jew, I was taught to question and to think critically about the world, my faith, and my personal views and perceptions. And yet, when it came to Israel, there existed in the Jewish community a sort of unwritten rule, an unspoken promise not to question Israel or its policies. I would later discover that this attitude reflected the larger American and international Jewish community and many communal institutions. Although my Hebrew school classmates and I were encouraged to struggle and wrestle with God and Jewish theology, and to have a complicated relationship with American society, we subconsciously subscribed to the attitude, based on fear, that any criticism of Israel was a threat to the Jewish people.
Americans for Peace Now (APN) is horrified by the spiraling death-toll of the war between Israel and Hamas. Having urged a ceasefire for the past two weeks, APN welcomes the Obama administration’s efforts to achieve an immediate ceasefire, and urges it to resume diplomatic efforts toward a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
APN strongly supports Israel’s right for self-defense and its government’s obligation to provide security for its
citizens. As a Zionist, Jewish organization and as the sister-organization of the Israeli grassroots movement
Shalom Achshav (Peace Now), we fully share the security concerns of the people of Israel and the yearning of
Israelis for peace.
We mourn the death of Israeli civilians and of Israeli soldiers in the current hostilities. We also mourn the alarmingly spiraling deaths of hundreds of Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip – over 500 so far.
This week Alpher discusses War in Gaza: as of Monday afternoon July 21 Israel time: Was it necessary for the IDF's Golani brigade to go into Gaza's eastern district of Shejaiya and fight a battle that caused such heavy losses on both sides and if there is a broader meaning to all this death and destruction in and around Gaza; accusations that the IDF is perpetrating war crimes in Gaza; why Hamas' ceasefire conditions are outlandish; how will this end and some early strategic lessons learned.
Arnon Avni, an Israeli cartoonist who lives in Nirim, a tiny kibbutz right on the border with the Gaza Strip, and a longtime Peace Now activist, on July 18 2014 spoke to APN about living in a war zone and about what keeps him committed to the cause of Israeli-Palestinian peace.
Christopher Gunness, the Jerusalem-based spokesperson of UNRWA, the United Nations agency that serves Palestinian refugees, joined us on July 18 20014, less than 24 hours after Israel's ground campaign in the Gaza Strip started, to review the humanitarian situation in Gaza and the reconstruction challenge that faces the residents of the Gaza Strip and UNRWA.
On Wednesday, July 16, Americans for Peace Now along with the American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP) hosted an event that focused on the way in which the Israeli-Palestinian conflict plays out on US college campuses.
Among the more than 50 attendees at the Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars were Israeli and Palestinian participants of New Story Leadership (NSL). NSL brings young Israeli and Palestinian leaders to Washington, DC for a summer of dialogue and leadership workshops during which they also learn about Washington through internships.
APN Urges Immediate Ceasefire, Harnessed to a Diplomatic Process that Leads to Peace:
Having urged a ceasefire for the past week, APN, like millions of Israelis, Palestinians and others worldwide was excited at the news of a ceasefire agreement Monday night. We immediately welcomed this news after senior Israeli officials were quoted on the Israeli media as welcoming the Egyptian-proposed ceasefire agreement. Hours later, the Israeli cabinet officially endorsed the ceasefire.
We were deeply disappointed when Hamas and other Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip rejected the ceasefire and intensified their rocket fire throughout the day Tuesday, arguing that Egypt announced the ceasefire without consulting with their leadership.
In response, after halting fire for several long hours, Israel resumed air raids on the Gaza Strip.
We hope that that Hamas and other Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip will accept the ceasefire, stop their rocket attacks on Israel and thus prevent further escalation.
While we yearn for a ceasefire, we remind all parties involved that that a ceasefire cannot be an end in itself. For a ceasefire to not turn into just another intermission between rounds of violence, it must be harnessed to a diplomatic process that addresses the underlying causes of conflict.
On July 10, 2014, APN's Executive Assistant Katherine Cunningham and intern Hannah Ehlers interviewed our Palestinian intern Hamze Awawdeh, a Palestinian from the West Bank who works in Tel Aviv for an Israeli-Palestinian peace organization. Hamze, who participates this year in APN's joint internship program with the American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP), explores in this interview the sometimes tense dialectic between the national narratives of Israelis and Palestinians and the efforts that young Israelis and Palestinians are making to write a new chapter, a chapter of peace, in their peoples' national history.
Americans for Peace Now – like millions of Israelis and Palestinians, and others worldwide – is anxiously hoping that Hamas and other Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip will follow Israel’s suit and accept the Egyptian-proposed ceasefire agreement. The agreement was proposed Monday night. Israel’s government welcomed it last night, and officially accepted it today at a Cabinet meeting, and held its fire by 9:00 AM local time (2:00 AM Eastern time), but a barrage of rockets from Gaza continued. Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad intensified their rocket fire, arguing that Egypt announced the ceasefire without consulting with their leadership. In response, Israel too resumed fire and continued bombing the Gaza Strip.
We hope that Hamas and other Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip will accept the ceasefire, stop its rocket attacks on Israel and thus prevent further escalation.
Washington, DC – Americans for Peace Now (APN) welcomes news of a ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas, brokered by Egypt’s government. APN urges both Israel and Hamas to adhere to the ceasefire and to find ways to prevent future security escalations such as the current one. APN further urges Israelis, Palestinians and the Obama administration to resume diplomatic efforts to return to the negotiating table in order to achieve a viable, lasting Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement with security for both sides.
APN's President and CEO Debra DeLee said: "Once again, following unnecessary bloodshed, destruction, terror and pain, Israel and Hamas chose diplomacy - the same kind of diplomacy that we at APN have been urging. This devastation, and the long-term impact it has on Israelis and Palestinians alike, can be obviated if both sides choose diplomacy now to pave the road for future Israeli-Palestinian peace.