July 17, 2017 - Netanyahu: threatened on four fronts and coddled on a fifth

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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 domestic and regional threats Netanyahu is facing; why Gabai, as an untested and inexperienced politician elected to lead Labor by a constituency in rebellion against the party establishment, is a threat; whether there was strategic significance to the recent Temple Mount attack; the Syria ceasefire; and Netanyahu's need to be coddled.

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PeaceCast: #18: The Last Palestinian - Biography of Mahmoud Abbas

Grant Rumley is a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a Washington think tank, where he focuses on Palestinian politics. Amir Tibon is the newly-appointed bureau chief of Israel's Haaretz newspaper.

Together, they authored a new biography of Mahmoud Abbas, (Abu Mazen) the President of the Palestinian Authority and the Chairman of the PLO.

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PeaceCast: #17: East and West Jerusalem Meet in Washington

Katya Lipovetzky, an Israeli, recently graduated from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Hashem Sayyed, a Palestinian, recently graduated from al-Quds University, the Palestinian university of Jerusalem.

Hashem and Katya are APN's summer interns, working together to produce our second storytelling event, The Dove.

The two are enrolled in New Story Leadership, a summer program in Washington that gives young Israelis and Palestinians a chance to meet each other, to network, to learn how Washington works and to hone their leadership skills.

In this short episode, Ori Nir and Stephanie Breitsman talk with Katya and Hashem about their lives and the conflict. To meet the two of them and four more of the NSL fellows Come to The Dove  on July 20th, at Busboys and Poets in Washington, DC at 8:30 PM. If you can't attend, you'll be able to listen to these young people's stories on a special episode of PeaceCast. 

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The June 25th decision by the Israeli government to suspend the agreement to create a pluralistic prayer space at the Western Wall could not have been more poorly timed. Coinciding with a visit of American Jewish leaders to Israel and coupled with the government’s decision to further a bill tightening regulations on Jewish conversions, the message of disrespect, disregard, and rejection was thus maximized – as was the response.

Rabbi Rick Jacobs of the Union for Reform Judaism cancelled a planned dinner with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and, along with Rabbi Steve Wernick, CEO of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, called the decision a “betrayal.” Jerry Silverman, CEO of the Jewish Federations of North America called the move “a direct insult.” The outrage even included this line from Michael Siegel, the chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel: “Support for Israel does not necessarily mean support for the Israeli government.”

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Press Release: APN Condemns Temple Mount Attack; Urges Calm

Americans for Peace Now (APN) strongly condemns the shooting attack this morning at Jerusalem's Temple Mount / Haram al-Sharif. APN sends its condolences to the families of the two Israeli policemen who were killed in the attack, both Arab Druze citizens of Israel, and wishes full recovery to a third police officer who was injured in the attack.

APN implores the Israeli authorities, the Palestinian Muslim clerics in Jerusalem, the government of Jordan, the Israeli and Palestinian publics, and all other stakeholders in Jerusalem, to do all they can to prevent further escalation in Jerusalem, particularly at this highly sensitive and holy spot, and to respect the sanctity of Jerusalem's holy sites.

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July 10, 2017 - Modi, Putin, Kim Jong-un

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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 strategic significance of the first-ever official visit to Israel by the prime minister of India, Narendra Modi; Putin and Trump's ceasefire agreement in southwest Syria; and whether North Korea's nuclear and missile program is an Israeli concern.

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Israeli Settler Population Data

After receiving many requests from scholars and from the media for information on the population growth of West Bank Jewish settlers, we are publishing a table based on data collected by Israel’s Peace Now movement. The table shows the population growth in Israel and in West Bank settlements since 1967. While the data shows the rapid growth of the settlers’ population, it also points out what a small minority the settlers are out of Israel’s overall population.

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Podcast #16: Carmi Gilon - Sober Optimist Gatekeeper

Carmi Gilon, the former chief of Israel’s secret service, Shin Bet, for years helped run Israel's occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Like many other Israeli former senior security officials,  he became an anti-occupation peace advocate when he finish his service. If you watched the documentary The Gatekeepers, which features Carmi Gilon among six past heads of Israel’s Shin-Bet, you understand why.

Episode 16 of PeaceCast features a conversation with Gilon, who today is the executive chair of Cytegic, an Israeli cyber security company.

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News from Peace Now:

In the coming weeks the Jerusalem regional planning committee will discuss new plans for East Jerusalem, in both Israeli neighbourhood settlements beyond the Green Line and within Palestinian neighbourhoods. (See a full list of plans at the bottom of the report.)

Peace Now: “ The government is brutally attempting to destroy the possibility of the two-state solution, and this time it is by establishing a new settlement at the heart of a Palestinian neighbourhood in East Jerusalem and promoting nearly 1,800 housing units beyond the Green Line. The eviction of 5 Palestinian families, which are protected tenants, in order to establish a new settlement in Sheikh Jarrah shows that nothing will get in the way of settler groups and a pro-settler government from preventing a future compromise in Jerusalem."

A. A new settlement in Sheikh Jarrah

On July 16, the Jerusalem regional planning committee is intended to discuss several plans for settlements within Palestinian neighbourhoods. Of those, 4 plans will be discussed for the Um Haroun neighbourhood (located within Sheikh Jarrah). This is the first time in recent years that new housing units are being planned for settlers within a Palestinian neighbourhood. Furthermore, two of the plans include the demolition of homes of 5 Palestinian families.

Plan 14151: A three story building for 3 housing units. Construction entails the demolition of a home of a Palestinian family.
Plan 14029: A five story building for 10 housing units. Construction entails the demolition of homes of 4 Palestinian families.
Plan 68858: A nine story (seven above ground) Yeshiva campus named, “Or Shameach” that includes student accommodation.
Plan 499699: A six story office building.

The two plans for 13 housing units in Sheikh Jarrah will be established on properties in which 5 Palestinian families currently reside. These properties are under a legal battle through which settlers seek the evacuation of these Palestinian families. Although the Palestinian families are legally regarded as protected tenants they reside in properties that prior to 1948 were Jewish owned, and the Israeli law enables Israeli citizens to return to properties that were owned by Jews prior to 1948. Hence, settlers and settler groups actively attempt to get hold of rights to Jewish owned properties from before 1948. In the cases of the five Palestinian families, the legal actions taken by settlers for their eviction have yet to be materialize. Nevertheless, the law enables landowners to destroy and restructure a new building whilst protected tenants do not lose their legal rights, hence the advancement of these plans.

Click to download the official July 16 agenda (Hebrew).

Click to read background on settlements at Sheikh Jarrah.

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July 3, 2017 - Israeli-American Jewish relations

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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 Israeli government decisions regarding conversion and egalitarian prayer at the Western Wall, boycotts, withholding funds and cancelling visits - What factors are at work here; What is the role of the rise to power in Washington of a president who is not beholden to liberal American Jews and their values; what he means by "ignorance of America and US Jewry at the strategic level;" Netanyahu's supposed understanding of the United States and the American Jewish community better than almost anyone in Israel; how this connects to Israeli politics; where this will all lead; what Israel will look like if it really loses a significant portion of the support of the American Jewish community; and what's the bottom line?

 

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