Bibi's Settlement Restraint

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by Lara Friedman

People keep asking me: "Have you seen the news? Has Bibi actually frozen settlements? What does this mean?"

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Savoring The Afterglow Of Obama's Speech

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I am writing in the afterglow of President Obama's speech in Jerusalem--an afterglow that lingers on as I re-read his words, and as I recall the boisterous applause that greeted them. I'm content to leave the word clouds and microscopic parsing of his speech to others. Likewise, I'll leave to others the speculation about what might have been, if only this speech had been given years earlier. For my part, I am unrepentantly stopping to savor the moment.

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Open Zion: APN's Aaron Mann - America Can Want Peace More

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When President Obama visits Israel this week, he will attempt neither to unmoor the old peace process nor outfit a new one. But with new leverage in hand, a determined Secretary of State John Kerry at the helm, and riding a wave of domestic and worldwide popularity, the president may never have stronger winds at his back in the search for Israeli-Palestinian peace. To take advantage of them, he will soon need to open his sails. If the president hopes to ever make any real headway, however, he should first rid his outlook of an old trope that has become an excuse for inaction: the idea that "The U.S. cannot want peace more than the parties themselves."

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Last week I raised concerns about Dennis Ross's new 14-point peace plan, which would gut the very notion of the two-state solution. Ross's approach is the most prominent manifestation of a growing trend toward the acceptance of a seductive new logic that has emerged in the context of the current Israeli-Palestinian deadlock. According to this line of thought, breaking the deadlock requires an approach that falls comfortably within Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's pro-"Greater Israel" political comfort zone, but that can somehow still be marketed as "pro-peace."

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Just in time for President Obama's long-awaited trip to Israel, perennial Israeli-Palestinian policy strategist Dennis Ross has published his 14-point plan to achieve Middle East peace. Ross claims that by following this plan, Israelis and Palestinians can "chip away at the sources of each side's belief about the other's commitment to a genuine two-state solution."

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America must seize the chance to advance the peace process

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If I were the freshly re-elected prime minister of the State of Israel or the re-elected president of the United States, I would pay attention to a lovely piece of public art in downtown Ramallah. It features the ethos of a reformed Palestinian society.

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Forward: "Who Did the Jewish Settlers Vote For?" by APN's Ori Nir

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Benjamin Netanyahu Failed With His Most Pandered-To Crowd

How did Benjamin Netanyahu do in West Bank settlements?

Considering his party's pro-settlement policies and the staunch pro-settlement positions of its leading Knesset members, you'd expect Netanyahu's Likud-Beiteinu list to perform better among West Bank settlers than it did in Israel proper. It didn't.

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A new country: a view from the Left

Jo-Ann Mort is vice chairperson of Americans for Peace Now and CEO of the New York City-based strategy firm ChangeCommunications.


(This essay first appeared in fathomjournal.org on January 31, 2013)

This election was a failure for the sitting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his young guard in the Likud, especially Education Minister Gideon Saar and Environment Minister Gilad Erdan, both of whom took leading roles in the campaign. It was an astounding success for former journalist Yair Lapid and his centrist Yesh Atid party, and a resounding comeback for the Zionist-left, especially the Meretz Party.

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HuffPo: APN's Lara Friedman- Obama's Second Term and His Middle East Legacy

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On January 21, 2013, Barack Obama will be inaugurated for his second term as the 44th president of the United States of America. As this day nears, it seems inevitable that he should be thinking about the legacy that he wants to leave after eight years at the helm of this great country. In the Israeli-Palestinian arena, the arc of history has dealt him a clear, binary choice: he can go down in history as the U.S. president who fought for and saved the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, or he can go down in history as the president on whose watch the two-state solution was lost, at the cost of the vital interests of both Israel and the United States.

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New Peace Now Report: Netanyahu's Settlement Policy Wrecks Two-State Solution

Settlement_Report_Graphic186x140.jpgThe Israeli Peace Now movement (Shalom Achshav) today released an explosive report detailing the record of Prime Minister Netanyahu's government on settlements over the course of its full term in office (April 2009-present). The report, based on official Israel government statistics, reports, and Peace Now field research, documents how over the past four years, the Netanyahu government has used settlements as a tool to systematically undermine the chances of achieving a viable, realistic two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, despite Netanyahu's rhetorical embrace of such a goal.

The full report is available in English, here.

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