Violence by settlers in the occupied territories has accelerated during 2017, marked by deeply troubling recent incidents. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) documents that following a three-year decline, violence by Israeli settlers increased 88 percent in the first half of 2017 when compared with the level in 2016. During that six-month period, OCHA recorded 89 incidents which resulted in 33 Palestinian casualties (including 3 fatalities) and damage to Palestinian property. Significantly, these figures do not include incidents in which Palestinians were threatened or intimidated but did not suffer physical harm or property damage. The rising trend of settler violence appears to have continued unabated over the past couple of months.
Americans for Peace Now has always contended – and public opinion polls have always validated – that our policy positions on Israel much better reflect the sentiments and convictions of American Jews than the hardline positions of our American Jewish right-wing adversaries.
A current case in point is today’s American Jewish Committee poll, carried out late last month among a national sample of Jews over 18.
APN has signed on to a letter, along with 15 other organizations, calling on Congress to stand in the way of efforts by the Trump Administration to terminate or sabotage US participation in the Iran nuclear deal.
Read the letter here and below:
by Daniel C. Kurtzer, former U.S. ambassador to Israel and Egypt and professor of Middle East policy studies at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.
Remember the two-state solution as a means to achieve Middle East peace? It has been a pillar of American foreign policy, certainly since President George W. Bush announced U.S. support in 2002. But in three quick strokes over the past few weeks, the Trump administration has demonstrated it really is not very serious about pursuing a two-state solution.
The first shoe dropped when a team of presidential emissaries, led by Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt, visited the Middle East to talk to the Israelis and Palestinians. State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert was asked whether the Trump administration supports a two-state solution. Her response was shocking:
“We are not going to state what the outcome has to be. It has to be workable to both sides. And I think, really, that’s the best view as to not really bias one side over the other, to make sure that they can work through it. It’s been many, many decades, as you well know, that the parties have not been able to come to any kind of good agreement and sustainable solution to this. So we leave it up to them to be able to work that through.”
Nauert was following the Trump script, as he stated months earlier: “I’m looking at two-state and one-state and I like the one that both parties like. I’m very happy with the one that both parties like.”
Nauert’s use of the word “bias” is highly misleading. She is hardly calling for a neutral, non-biased approach to the Middle East conflict. In fact, her words indicate that the Trump administration itself is extremely biased — in favor of hardliners in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition who want the United States and Israel to abandon the two state outcome. These radicals cheered Trump’s comments in February and probably celebrated Nauert’s recent non-answer answer.
This episode features two conversations. The first is an interview with Dr. Bashir Karkabi, a Palestinian Israeli physician, who is among the organizers of an event that will take place on September 14th in the Israeli Arab town of Kalanswa, bringing together Jewish and Arab activists to forge together a shared agenda for a joint political struggle.
Our second conversation is with Nadia Abuelezam, a Palestinian-American, who is the creator and host of a podcast that tells the stories of Palestinians in the United States. The podcast is called Palestinians' Podcast.
Produced by the Foundation for Middle East Peace in cooperation with Americans for Peace Now, where the Legislative Round-Up was conceived
Note: There will be no Round-Up this Friday. This special mid-week edition is devoted to a detailed analysis of the Senate version of the FY18 ForOps bill, passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee on 9/7. Next week’s Round-Up will cover Hill developments 9/8-9/22.
Shameless plug: On 9/28, FMEP will be hosting an event in Washington: “JAILING ISSA AMRO: Israel (and the PA’s) Problem with Non-Violent Activism.” The event will feature Palestinian human rights defender Issa Amro and FMEP non-resident fellow Peter Beinart. For event information or to RSVP, visit our event page.
Rosh Hashana is a time to reflect. If your reflection brings sadness - and rage - at the ongoing assault on the values and principles you hold dear, both at home and in Israel, we share this with you.
This year, the Israeli Knesset legislated that those of us in APN - who work against boycotts divestment and sanctions (BDS) directed at Israel but who advocate boycotting the occupation and products made in the settlements - are not welcome in the Jewish homeland. Israeli law now states that a visa will not be granted to us because we, as non-Israelis, and APN, the organization on whose behalf we work, knowingly published a public call to boycott the settlements.
This year, Israeli lawmakers put on the Knesset’s docket bills to bar foreign donations to Israeli human and civil rights organizations. Likud MK Miki Zohar, in proposing the bill, said: “The time has come to dry up [the resources used by] leftist organizations that undermine the government, slander Israel and try to infringe on its right to defend itself. We must block their funding sources and thus prevent them from harming the state.” Not surprisingly, this bill targets progressive donors and does not affect the enormous financial contributions made to Israeli organizations by the likes of Sheldon Adelson.
Shalom Achshav (Peace Now)
Israel’s preeminent peace movement, Peace Now (Shalom Achshav), was established in 1978, when 348 Israeli senior reserve army officers and combat soldiers came together to urge their government to sign a peace treaty with Egypt. They knew then what remains true today: Real security for Israel can only be achieved through peace. In the years since its establishment, Shalom Achshav has worked for the achievement of peace agreements between Israel and all her Arab neighbors, and has come to be recognized, both in Israel and abroad, as Israel’s leading grassroots Zionist pro-peace movement.
With a small staff and a small budget, Peace Now runs several important programs to advance peace and democracy and to help keep the door open for a two-state solution to the Israeli- Palestinian conflict.
Like APN, Ambassador Daniel Shapiro has supported the two-state solution since the late 1980s, long before it became a tenet of America’s Middle East policy. As President Obama’s ambassador to Israel, Shapiro was a key member of the past administration’s team working to advance the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Now, with the Trump administration refusing to commit itself to this basic US policy position and with the situation on the ground turning increasingly less hospitable to this solution, Shapiro is examining other scenarios and trying to assess their likelihood and their potential implications. Read Shapiro’s recent Tablet article on this topic.