Open Zion: APN's Lara Friedman - How Obama Can Get Tough With Bibi

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Recently, the European Union adopted harsh new Iran sanctions, strongly supported by Israel. Shortly thereafter, Israel announced new East Jerusalem settlement construction. The EU's top official Catherine Ashton, who was about to visit Israel, condemned the announcement in measured terms; Israel's Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, publicly told her, in effect, to shove it. Imagine if in response, Ashton had indefinitely postponed her trip. Imagine that Israeli ambassadors in EU capitals were summoned to the local foreign ministries and read the riot act. Imagine that Israeli press had been alerted, leading to headlines about how Prime Minister Netanyahu and Lieberman were squandering the friendship of the EU and European support on Iran for the sake of settlement expansion.

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APN on Gaza in the NYT: Only the U.S. Can Broker Peace

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At the invitation of the New York Times "Room for Debate," APN's Lara Friedman weighed in with analysis of what President Obama can and should do to address the Gaza-Israel crisis and to ensure that any new ceasefire does not become simply an intermission between rounds of violence.

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APN Resource Page on the Gaza Crisis
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Open Zion: APN's Lara Friedman - Round Two At Turtle Bay

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For the second consecutive year, the Palestinians are seeking enhanced status at the U.N. It feels like a re-run of 2011, but there are significant legal and political differences that should not be overlooked.
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Huffington Post: APN's Lara Friedman - If Not Now, When? If Not Abbas, Who?

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Suppose Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told an interviewer that he'll never recognize Israel or accept any agreement that doesn't give the Palestinians every inch of historic Palestine, including all of Jerusalem.  He insists on full Palestinian right of return - including his own right of return to his native Safed, which since 1948 has been part of Israel -- and maintains that it is the Palestinians' right to use all means, including violence, to achieve their goals.

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Bibi's Tried-and-True Settlement Weapon (Lara Friedman at the Daily Beast)

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Today's announcement that the Israeli government if moving full steam ahead with the construction of nearly 1300 new settlement units should surprise nobody.  The announcement paves the way for construction in Pisgat Zeev and Ramot (settlement neighborhoods of East Jerusalem), as well as in the huge and extremely controversial settlement of Ariel - a settlement located smack-dab in the middle of the northern West Bank, in a location that makes its inclusion as part of Israel under any realistic borders scenario pretty much impossible.

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Huffington Post: APN's Lara Friedman - No More Excuses for Bibi

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Headlines today are focused on the announcement yesterday by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu of early Knesset elections. Rather than add to the feeding frenzy of speculation, today I want to weigh in, belatedly, on Bibi himself.
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Forward: "Occupation Corrupts Soul of Israel" by APN Board member Leonard Fein

Attacks Reflect Zig-Zag Line of Settlement Enterprise

It is tempting to impute retroactive intentionality to yesterday's events. As Gershom Gorenberg felicitously puts it, we mistakenly assume "that if things turned out a certain way, someone planned it that way." Looking back now, it may seem a foregone conclusion that Israel's settlement policy in the West Bank (and in Golan, too) was from the beginning an evil design, intended to encroach on Palestinian rights rather than to solve immediate problems. But the effort to draw a straight line of intentionality from then to now obscures more than it clarifies.

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Open Zion (Daily Beast): APN's Lara Friedman - Exploiting Jews from Arab Countries

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Last month saw an assault in Congress on Palestinian refugees--an effort to use legislation to re-define the Palestinian refugee issue out of existence. This week the other shoe dropped, when a bipartisan group of members of Congress introduced a new bill embracing the cause of "Jewish refugees from Arab countries" in a way that Congress has never replicated on the Palestinian side (for more info, see this list of all bills/resolutions dealing with Palestinian and/or Jewish refugees since 1989).

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Instead of tax hikes - stop indulging the settlements


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Must- Read: Major Report in Israeli Press on Government Spending on Settlements

On July 30th, the Calcalist published a major report [Hebrew] examining the issue of Israeli government spending on settlements.   Among other things, the articles note that government spending on settlements increased by 38% under the Netanyahu government (from 2010 to 2011).  The articles also note the fact that Israeli government spending on settlements from 1992-2011 totaled NIS 27 billion (in 2011 terms).  To get a sense of the magnitude of this spending, the article notes that in 2010 the Israeli government allocated a budget of NIS 27.5 bilion over ten years "for the first stage of project to introduce into [the entire country of] Israel a network of fast highways and railway lines."  All articles translated by Israel News Today (INT).

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