Washington, Jerusalem -- Americans for Peace Now (APN) joins its Israeli sister organization, Shalom Achshav (Peace Now), in strongly condemning the Israeli government’s decision to take over a large swath of West Bank land to expand Gva’ot, a settlement-in-the-making west of Bethlehem, as well as neighboring settlements.
The Civil Administration declared 4,000 dunams (990 acres) as State Land near the settlement of Gva'ot west of Bethlehem. As far as we know, this declaration is unprecedented in its scope since the 1980's and can dramatically change the reality in the Gush Etzion and the Bethlehem area. For an explanation about state land declaration see here.
Gva'ot was established in 1984 as a Military Base between the Palestinian villages of Al Jab'a and Nahhalin. During the 90’s, the soldiers were replaced by Yeshiva students that occupied the 30 caravans on site, and in 1998 the site was included within the official Municipal Borders of the settlement of Alon Shvut, which is located 3 km away. Recently, some 10 families moved in Gvaot and established an education institution on site.
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.
Washington, DC – Americans for Peace Now (APN) today issued the following statement:
APN welcomes the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas that was implemented yesterday. We hope fervently that this ceasefire holds, sparing both Israelis and Palestinians in the Gaza Strip further terror and bloodshed. We know, however, that unless the underlying causes of this conflict are addressed, this ceasefire will be nothing more than a prelude to the next round of fighting and misery.
This week, Alpher discusses military stagnation and attrition, how the Israeli public is viewing Netanyahu and Yaalon's caution, last week's promise by Netanyahu of a "new political horizon" and his release of a report that Hamas had planned an intifada and a power grab on the West Bank, the talk of a new and dramatic proposal from Abu Mazen, and a UN option, and where this bewildering catalogue of diplomatic and military initiatives leaves us.
(Monday, August 25, day 49 of the Gaza conflict)
Americans for Peace Now (APN) today released the following statement:
The breakdown of yet another Hamas-Israel ceasefire discloses a stark truth: on their own, Hamas and the government of Israel are unable or unwilling to end this fighting. With each side determined to reject any outcome that allows the other to claim even a modicum of victory, Hamas and the Israeli government are locked in a vicious cycle of violence, with civilians on both sides paying the price. After numerous short-lived ceasefires, it now seems clear that this cycle will not be ended by direct or indirect “negotiations,” whether under the auspices of Egypt or some other third party.
I'm writing this letter to those of you who knew, loved, or simply read the eloquence of Leibel Fein. Leibel died last night, and we are still reeling from this unexpected loss.
I am one of those people who subconsciously thinks in "Top Ten Lists" - it helps me prioritize life's overwhelming chaos. It turns out that Leibel makes all of the best of them - Top 10 writers, thinkers, joke-tellers, do-gooders (in the very best sense of the term), friends.
Leibel was brilliant. He had the rare ability to put his thoughts on paper in a way that persuaded, enlightened and altered your thinking, while all the while your mind was carried along by the beauty of his eloquence. He used words as an artist uses paint - it was beautiful and powerful, while the content was often courageous and bold. Those of us at APN were grateful that he was so generous with this gift.
It is with the heaviest of hearts that APN today grieves the loss of our dear friend and longtime APN Board Member Leonard “Leibel” Fein. We know that Leibel will be mourned by the countless people he touched through his writings and his personal contacts across a life that spanned eight decades of extraordinary professional accomplishments, including as a writer, a teacher, and a prolific columnist; as the founder of Moment Magazine; as the founder of Mazon: A Jewish Response to Hunger; and as the founder of the National Jewish Coalition for Literacy.