August 31, 2015 - The Israel Police and the future of “internal” security

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This week, Alpher discusses why a huge controversy has erupted over the appointment of former IDF brigadier general, Gal Hirsch, to head the Israel Police; the legacy of the 2006 Second Lebanon War; what justifies rehabilitating Hirsch and promoting him by two ranks and why can’t the police produce a suitable commander from within its own ranks; where the security consultancy industry enters the picture; the future role of the police vis-a-vis the Palestinian issue and Israel’s security;

 

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Wild Settlements

The murders of toddler Ali Dawabsha and his father Saed generated an uproar. The fire set to the house in the Palestinian village of Duma with its dwellers inside, led to the death of two and the mortal injury of two others. However, this horrid act was not committed in a void. Since 1999, when the illegal outposts began appearing in the nearby “Shiloh Valley,” the region has undergone a process of increased Israeli control and Palestinian ousting.

This objective is often achieved through violence as a political tool for altering the status quo in favor of the settlers. This process is made possible, inter alia, by the fact that the region is a lawless area. Throughout the years, wild outposts’ settlers have enjoyed ongoing support from the authorities, whether by act or omission: a local authority allocating financial support, government offices build and provide infrastructure, enforcement agencies avoid enforcing the planning and construction laws, security forces do not only protect illegal outpost settlers but also help them remove Palestinians from the farmlands, even when it is their personal land. Changes in this area in the years after the wild outposts were established demonstrate that the settlers’ presence in the area leads to ongoing thievery and acts of violence.

 

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 silverberg-more-recentThe debate regarding the proposed nuclear deal with Iran reminded me of a meeting I participated in with Daniel Kurtzer, then U.S. Ambassador to Israel under George W. Bush, at the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv in 2007. Though I’ve been to Israel several times, both before and after, our meeting stood out in my memory, helping me to separate politics from facts in considering the proposed nuclear deal.

The purpose of my 2007 visit to Israel was to join a delegation from Americans for Peace Now in a series of meetings with politicians, experts, analysts, and activists from across the spectrum of Israeli public and political opinion. Our group heard of the many challenges and possible solutions to the significant security, demographic, water, and civil issues that Israel faced. This trip to Israel and our meetings left me better informed, and even more motivated to devote my energies to defending Israel’s security and its essential Jewish and democratic character. Toward the end of our weeklong visit we met with Ambassador Kurtzer.

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Press Release: APN Condemns New Silwan Settlement

Americans for Peace Now (APN) joins its Israeli sister organization Shalom Achshav (Peace Now) in strongly condemning the expanded Israeli settlement activity in the Palestinian East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, and warns against the repercussions of this provocative act.

As Peace Now reported, dozens of Jewish settlers overnight took over a large, five-story building in Silwan, and tried to pressure a Palestinian family who resides in it and holds a legal rental contract, to leave. The house is located in a part of Silwan that settlers have not yet tried to penetrate, deep inside this densely-populated Palestinian neighborhood.

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Last night approximately 70 settlers, with police escort, entered the Sarhan House in Silwan. The Sarhan House is a 5-floor building located at the Batan Al-Hawa neighborhood which includes 12 housing units. The house is close to the Abu Nab House as well as to additional houses under threat of eviction based on settlers' claims of ownership prior to 1948. (To learn more about the mechanism of settlement in East Jerusalem neighborhoods click here.) One Palestinian family, whose lease is not up for another few months, is still residing in one housing unit at the Sarhan house. Today, settlers, escorted by police, came to this family's house and tried to intimidate it to leave.
 
The settlers' entry must be understood as a strategic takeover; this is yet another step in a larger attempt to alter the character of the neighborhood and change the status quo in Jerusalem. Even prior to last night's entry, in the past year the settlers managed to double their presence at the Batan Al-Hawa neighborhood. After last night's entry, the settlement has expanded from approximately 10 families residing in two houses to approximately 35 families residing in six houses.

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Take Action Today: Thank Members who Support Iran Deal, Urge Other Members to Do the Same

Iran Nuclear Negotiations

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Many Members of Congress have come out in support of the Iran deal already. Many of them are facing a fierce backlash generated by opponents of the deal. These members need to hear from you TODAY. Click here to thank them for supporting the Iran deal.

Many others Members of Congress still have not come out with a position on the deal or have come out in opposition.  They need to hear from you TODAY. Click here to tell them you want them to support the Iran deal.

 

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Jerry Bubis, z"l

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Americans for Peace Now (APN) grieves the passing of Professor Gerald "Jerry" Bubis (z”l), who died Friday, August 21, at the age of 91. Our condolences go out to Jerry’s wife Ruby, son David Bubis, daughter Deena Libman, and grandchildren Rabbi Jonathan Bubis, Hannah Bubis and Molly Libman.

Jerry’s tremendous contributions for the benefit of the Jewish community, Israel, and thousands upon thousands of people, span a lifetime of leadership, service, and activism.   He was a progressive icon who leaves behind an extraordinary legacy.    

A founder, long-time board member and past national co-chair of APN, Jerry was an unwavering and seminal leader for the cause of peace for Israel.  In the 1980s, Jerry was one of the earliest voices in the Jewish community advocating for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The fact that Jerry stood firm in his view, despite it being deeply unpopular at the time, attests to his courage; the fact that his position was eventually adopted by the wider Jewish community and the world attests to his wisdom.   While Jerry did not live to see his dream of Israeli-Palestinian peace and a two-state solution achieved, he never gave up, and inspires us all to never give up.

Jerry’s memory will be a blessing for us. We will always remember what you have accomplished for APN and for the cause of peace, security and democracy for Israel. 

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August 24, 2015 - Ehud Barak, Iran, PIJ and Israel’s response

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This week, Alpher discusses why Ehud Barak made his dramatic remarks about attacking Iran and why he made them now; if there are potential strategic ramifications, or if this is merely one more case of a frustrated ex-politician sounding off; whether last week’s rocket attacks on Israel from the Syrian Golan and Israel’s response suggest the possibility of imminent escalation of hostilities between Iranian proxies and Israel, and if the timing bespeaks a link to the Iran nuclear deal; actions that are perceived by Palestinians as Israeli provocations, which have resulted recently in increased instances of stone-throwing and fire-bombing against Israeli vehicles and knife attacks on IDF soldiers.

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APN Interview on "Price Tag" with Molad's Liat Schlesinger

Listen to the APN interview with Liat Schlesinger, who heads the Investigative Research Department at Molad, a progressive Israeli think tank, on a report she recently authored on the phenomenon known as Price Tag.

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Peace Parsha: How the world is, and how we must be

Rabbi Joshua Gutoff is Director of the MA in Jewish Education program at Gratz College. He has rabbinic ordination and an EdD from the Jewish Theological Seminary.

peace_parsha_logo186x140We turn to the Torah, many of us, for wisdom.   And this week when we turn to the parsha, this is what we find:  a command to the Israelites that, when encountering an enemy town, to enslave all the inhabitants.  Unless they put up a fight, in which case all the adult males are to be slaughtered, and the women and children enslaved.  And that’s outside the Promised Land.  When conquering the Land, none of the indigenous population is to be spared.  (Deut. 20:10-18)

 

Where we might have been hoping for something that would demonstrate a respect for all human life, even anticipate the Geneva Conventions, we find instead an invitation (or command!) to participate in forced enslavement or genocidal slaughter. 

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