APN Vision of Peace Celebration, New York - Honoring Michael Walzer and Lara Friedman

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Moving forward can involve risk. But standing still can bring disaster.

As the Exodus story tells us, the Israelites were faced with a choice at the Sea of Reeds: Enter the waters or stand still and be slaughtered by Pharaoh’s fast-approaching army.

Only one Israelite—Nachshon—had the foresight and the courage to jump into the sea. Jewish tradition says that once he moved forward, the waters parted and Israel was able to walk on dry land to safety.

It sometimes seems that it will take a similar miracle to bring peace to the Middle East.

But Peace Now (Shalom Achshav), the veteran Israeli activist organization, and its U.S. counterpart Americans for Peace Now (APN), aren’t relying on miracles. We believe in moving forward. The wind may not be at our backs, but standing still is not an option.

This Passover, you may observe a traditional Seder and may be blessed by the company of children or grandchildren. They may ask the four questions, one of which is: “Why is tonight different from all other nights?” Yes, we eat matzo; yes, we dip twice; yes, we remember the stranger, but tonight we can no longer afford to be bystanders—we all must jump into the fray.

We “jump” to feed the hungry, to defend the refugee, to protect the environment—now it’s time to “jump” for Israel’s secure future. We want you to be able to tell your family how you helped Israel be the best it can be. Helping ensure a peaceful and secure future for Israel and preserve the Zionist dream does not mean asking how Israel can survive with a Palestinian state by its side. It means asking how Israel can survive without one.

Hineni, here I am. Because of the damaging effects of occupation, I’ll jump. Because settlers build on private Palestinian land, I’ll jump. Because evicting Palestinians from the homes where they have spent their entire lives is dehumanizing, I’ll jump. Because Israel may annex settlements in the West Bank in defiance of international law, I’ll jump.

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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 possible indictment - on at least three counts - that Prime Minister Netanyahu faces; what the allegations are about; what Netanyahu's options are; how to account for the public's lenient attitude; and if anyone in Israel will emerge from this looking good.

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When every day is topsy-turvy: Purim 2018

On Purim, which begins this Wednesday evening, Jews retell the story of a world turned upside down. Haman’s plan to kill the Jews of Persia is thwarted by Esther, the Jewish orphan who became Queen. Haman is hanged on the gallows he had planned to use to kill Esther’s cousin Mordechai. The king is foolish, the advisers wicked, the heroes weak, and the powerful defeated.

We don’t need Purim to remind us that the world is topsy-turvy.

A TV reality show personality is President of the United States. He and his Administration avoid saying “two-state solution,” let alone leading serious efforts to help bring it to fruition. President Trump unilaterally changes the US position on Jerusalem and declares he has solved this complex issue for the Israelis and Palestinians. Ardent US supporters of Israeli settlements are responsible for brokering Middle East peace. One of them, US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, publicly contradicts US policy.

The Purim story encourages us to flip the script.

APN does this by fighting for a world in which our leaders are responsible, strategic, and bold in moving forward toward peace and security for Israel via a two-state solution. In partnership with Shalom Achshav in Israel, APN works every day to make that world a reality by fighting the occupation and the settlement enterprise - a catastrophe for Israel in moral, political, security, legal, and economic terms.

APN illustrates how settlements corrupt Israeli society while obstructing peace with Palestinians. We shine a spotlight on how the Trump Administration is allowing Netanyahu’s right-wing government to gradually annex the West Bank and create a one-state reality, in contravention of international law and the national interests of both the US and Israel.

Please support the work of Americans for Peace Now in righting this topsy-turvy world.

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DC Event: Israeli Settlements and Annexation in the Trump-Netanyahu Era

Veteran Israeli journalist Akiva Eldar of Al-Monitor spoke at the Middle East Institute in Washington, DC on February 20, in discussion with APN’s Debra Shushan. The focus of the event was recent steps towards annexation of the West Bank and the state of the settlement enterprise in the Trump-Netanyahu era.

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Imagine this was your family

evacuation collage

This is the reality of Palestinian life in East Jerusalem today.

76% of all Palestinians in East Jerusalem live below the poverty line, including 83% of Palestinian children. Only 41% of Palestinian children are enrolled in official municipal schools, with 33% dropping out before 12th grade. And over a third of residents are not connected to Jerusalem's water infrastructure.*

Beyond those grim statistics lies the additional threat of home eviction – the fate that befell Mohammad Shamasneh and his family. After 45 years, through no fault of their own, the Shamasneh family was thrown out of their own house. They were forced to watch helplessly as right-wing settler ideologues occupied the home in which multiple generations of their family has been raised. Their lives have been upended ever since.

Reports have shown that at least 180 Palestinian families are at risk of eviction, with most of these cases initiated by settler organizations.

Through our "Shelter for the Shamasnehs" campaign, Americans for Peace Now is working to right this injustice. With over $4,000 raised so far, we're well on our way to achieving this goal – but we need your help. Join us and help make a real difference on the ground by finding a new home for the Shamasneh family.

(*Association for Civil Rights in Israel)

(**UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs)

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From Peace Now's Settlement Watch:

Today, 12 February, the Settlement Subcommittee of the Higher Planning Committee of the Civil Administration convened to discuss a series of new plans in the settlements. Among other things, the committee approved the establishment of a new, “temporary” settlement for the evacuees of Nativ Ha’Avot. The committee also  approved 68 new housing units in the settlement of Elazar, the construction of a hotel in the Jordan Valley with 120 rooms next to a motor park and Tourist Area, and the construction of a cemetery near an industrial zone planned for the construction south of Qalqiliya. A further plan for an educational campus in the illegal outpost of Mitzpe Danny was discussed but the subcommittee has postponed its decision to a later date.

Peace Now: “The government is building new settlement areas under the guise of “insignificant” plans that will not include housing units. This is an old trick used to establish new settlements without calling them that by name. All of these plans—the construction of a hotel and tourist complex in the Jordan Valley, an educational campus in an illegal outpost, and even a cemetery as the first stage in the construction of a new industrial zone—in actuality create new settlements. The Netanyahu government has lost all the brakes on the road to de facto annexation of the West Bank, and it continues to distance Israel from the prospects for peace and the two-state solution.”
Some of the programs that appear on the committee’s agenda are plans for small changes in old plans without the addition of housing units; however, there are other politically significant plans that will create new settlement areas, as enumerated below. These additional plans blatantly contradict the declared policy of the Netanyahu government itself, which committed to limiting construction to the “built-up area” within settlements, and to holding hearings on plans for new housing units only four times per year (the previous hearing was just last month, on 10 January 2018):
1. Plan No. 404/1/6/5 (approved for validation) – a plan for the construction of 68 new housing units in the Elazar settlement near Bethlehem. The plan was approved for deposit on 17 January and was today approved for validation. It should be noted that the land concerning this plan was once privately owned by Palestinians but was seized for military use in the 1970s and now is being used for civilian settlement.
2. Plan No. 405/11 (Part 91) (approved for validation) – the establishment of a new, “temporary” settlement for the families whose homes are slated to be demolished in the Nativ Ha’Avot outpost according to the High Court of Justice’s 2016 ruling. The plan was approved for deposit on 17 October 2017 and was deposited for objections one month later. Last week, the subcommittee for objections within the Higher Planning Committee discussed the objections that had been submitted by Palestinian landowners from Al-Khader and Peace Now. Following these objections, the subcommittee decided to reduce the number of housing units from 17 to 15, but chose to reject the objections and to recommend approval of the plan. In the hearing today, the committee approved the establishment of the settlement, even though the subcommittee for objections admits that the plan is not appropriate, as it explains: “Although the professional authorities do not dispute that from a planning point of view, this is an unusual plan.”

To read the Peace Now objection, click here.

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Press Release: APN Exhorts Trump Administration to Shut Down Israeli Moves toward Annexation

Americans for Peace Now (APN) exhorts the Trump Administration to make clear to the Israeli government, in the strongest possible terms, that annexation of any portion of the West Bank is completely unacceptable to the United States. 

According to comments made by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday, his government has been engaged in discussions with the Trump Administration “for some time now” regarding annexation. This marks the first time Netanyahu has indicated his support for settlement annexation. His statement appears to have caught the White House by surprise and elicited a denial from an administration spokesman that the US had discussed an annexation proposal with Israel. While an Israeli official agreed that the US had not given its approval to any of the various annexation bills up for consideration by the Knesset, that official clarified that Israel has kept the White House briefed on the Knesset bills.

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Press Release: APN Launches 2018 Israel Fact-Finding Tour


Last year, Americans for Peace Now (APN) cancelled its annual fact-finding mission to Israel and the West Bank due to Israel's newly adopted "Entry Law," which bans from entry into Israel non-citizens associated with groups calling for boycotts.

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Hard Questions, Tough Answers (2.12.18) - Saturday’s fighting on Israel’s northern front


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 whether we are on the verge of Israel's "first northern war"; what happened on Saturday; why this is a preview and a catalyst; whether there are potentially mitigating factors and actors; Israel's ongoing disputes with Lebanon that could escalate; where the US fits in; Secretary of State Tillerson and National Security Adviser McMaster's upcoming trip to the region; and the looming threat of indictment for corruption influencing Netanyahu’s behavior toward the growing threats from Israel’s north.

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