Reacting to several recent moves by Israel's government that sabotage a future Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement, Americans for Peace Now (APN) today called on fellow American Jewish organizations to join APN in vocal opposition to annexation and to unilaterally pre-judging issues that Israelis and Palestinians should negotiate to achieve a final-status peace deal.
This year has brought an assault on truth that has left us all feeling like Diogenes the Cynic, wandering the streets with a lamp, looking for “an honest man.” Since our founding, Americans for Peace Now has been meticulous in uncovering the truth. We shine a lantern in places that extremists would prefer to keep dark and hidden. We are unshakable in our honesty, even when the truth we tell is unpopular.
So, let us get right to the point: Americans for Peace Now will continue speaking the truth in the New Year, as will our sister organization, Peace Now in Israel.
We will speak the truth about settlements: Settlements are used to prevent a viable two-state solution, to dispossess Palestinians of their land and, sometimes even to outright punish them. Settlements are the most potent of Israel’s actions against them. Settlements are the most potent of Israel’s actions against them.
Creeping Annexation: Changes in the Interpretation of the Laws Regarding Occupation
Settlements Watch Peace Now,
Report's Main Points:
In recent years, the Attorney General and the State Prosecutor's Office have made dramatic changes in their positions on a number of issues regarding Israel's control over the occupied territories (OT). These changes are part of the g overnment's effort to apply the standards of Israel's democracy to settlements located in territory that is subject to belligerent Israeli occupation, where the Palestinian population lives without democracy and equal rights. These changes are contrary to previous positions of the legal echelon and the Supreme Court, and they magnify the legal question surrounding Israel's control of the OT in terms of international law.
Among other things, the Attorney General stated that:
- It is permissible to expropriate Palestinian land in cases where the Israeli takeover was carried out "in good faith."
- It is permissible to confiscate land for the purpose of access to a settlement.
- Abandoned property may be used for settlement purposes.
- It is permitted to "liquidate" the abandoned property without judicial process.
- It is permissible to expropriate protected tenancy of the Hebron Municipality on public land, even without a judicial process.
- Legislative changes were made to facilitate the demolition and deportation of Palestinian communities in Area C.
These changes mark another step in the policy of de facto annexation of the OT to Israel, and they are intended to "normalize" the settlements and make them part of Israel, even without declaring so.
At this time of the year, I typically write to you reflecting on the progress made toward Israeli-Palestinian peace in the year that passed, and highlight the reasons for hope for further progress in the coming year.
As 2017 comes to a close, "the hope thing" becomes more difficult. With Donald Trump in the White House, Benjamin Netanyahu in his ninth consecutive year as Israel’s prime minister, and no sign of diplomacy from any of the players, it's hard to find reasons for hope. At least not in the short run. Holding one's breath in anticipation of Trump’s Israeli-Palestinian “ultimate deal” would not be a healthy way to start the new year.
One week after Donald Trump’s announcement on Jerusalem – which triggered unrest in Israel, the Occupied Territories, and the broader Middle East – Ambassador David Friedman was stoking the flames. At a menorah lighting at the Western Wall, Friedman kvelled in Hebrew, “It is a huge honor for me and I am extremely excited to be standing here at this holy site and to light the second Chanukah candle in Jerusalem, the holy city and the capital of the State of Israel.”
Friedman’s emotional visit to the Western Wall, in his official capacity as US ambassador, added a religious dimension to Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. It also provided reason to think that the United States government was for the first time accepting Israeli sovereignty in part of East Jerusalem, which Israel conquered in 1967 and Palestinians desire as their capital in a negotiated peace deal with Israel.
American Jews shouldn't take their cue from an Israeli left which is veering rightwards and indoctrinated by the false slogan of an 'eternal and undivided Jerusalem'. Trump's move sabotaged peace, and we U.S. Jews must push back against it
If President Donald Trump’s announcement on Jerusalem had a silver lining, for me it is this: many progressive, pro-Israel American Jews saw Trump’s gambit as the narrowly self-serving, reckless move it was, and rejected it.
For this reason, I read with great interest the recent Haaretz op-ed by Rabbi Eric Yoffie, a former president of the Union for Reform Judaism (U.S. Liberal Jews Read It Wrong. Trump’s Call on Jerusalem Was Good for the Peace Camp).
An ardent Trump critic, Yoffie’s "default position is to resist every word on foreign affairs that comes out of [Trump’s] mouth." So what brought Yoffie to conclude that President Trump’s new Jerusalem policy is “generally responsible”?
The festivals of light, in the various traditions, fall during the darkest time of the year - or so it seems to this Christian on Christmas Eve. The darkness, of course, is what makes the light shine brightest. In a similar way, hope has its truest power when things appear to be hopeless. Hope is a choice.
My train of thought, I admit, is running along the track of contemporary desolation. I am writing this letter on behalf of Americans for Peace Now. Peace Now is the heroic - and deeply patriotic - Israeli organization that has steadfastly stood for peace between Israelis and Palestinians for a generation. Recent turns in the old story, taken in Washington and Jerusalem both, have made the struggle for such peace seem more difficult than ever, but that only makes it more precious.
The end is as clear as ever, and so are the means: a two-state solution arrived at through agreed negotiations, enshrined in a secure Israel living side by side with a fully recognized Palestine, formed in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Good will, self-interested mutuality, respect by each side for the absolutes of the other, arrived at through compromise - these remain the elements of peace, and they are still possible.
As if the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians were not searing enough, the recent intervention from abroad - the U.S. administration’s feckless short-circuiting of final status negotiations by its recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital - has complicated the peace process immeasurably. That defines the darkness of this moment. But that also defines the fresh importance of Peace Now, whose commitment has never depended on a shallow optimism that cannot survive when intolerant religious fanatics of whatever stripe seem ascendant. As a Christian, I am especially aware of the negative influence of Jesus-proclaiming American zealots whose End Time fantasies and Biblical literalism pre-empt both Israeli democracy and Palestinian nationhood. That such voices are heard in the White House only makes their rebuttal the more urgent.
That is why this is the time, more than ever, to support both Peace Now, and its U.S.-based sister organization Americans for Peace Now. Peace Now most emphatically affirms the Jewish and democratic character of the State of Israel. That means, with equal emphasis, that Peace Now opposes the Occupation of the Palestinians. Peace Now continues its crucial work of tracking and opposing the ongoing settlement project in the West Bank, especially when settlers seize land owned by Palestinians and illegally build on it. And Peace Now brings its power to the streets, as it did last summer, convening a throng inTel Aviv’s Rabin Square to reject the Netanyahu government’s disastrous anti-peace policies.
Peace Now receives nearly half of its funding from Americans for Peace Now. APN’s informative website (www.peacenow.org) offers a wealth of information and analysis for Americans to think more clearly - and pragmatically - about Israel’s challenges and about the role that our nation should - and still can - play as a peacemaker.
I am writing this letter as an American and as a Christian - at a time when detached uninvolvement, whether at home or abroad, amounts to a gross failure of civic and moral responsibility. Our religious and political texts; our doctrines and policies; our triumphalist dreams; our assumption of national innocence; our habits of racial and religious contempt; even our naive wishes for an easy peace - these are threads in the Holy Land’s still untied knot. Historically part of the Israeli-Palestinian problem, we are obliged now to be part of its solution. We must choose hope.
That is the invitation we have from Israel’s Peace Now and its U.S. sister organization. Please join me in supporting both Shalom Achshav and APN. Please make a generous tax-deductible contribution to Americans for Peace Now. Even in the present darkness, this is what the light of the possible peace looks like. Please commend Peace Now to everyone you know - now more than ever.
Today's vote by the United Nations General Assembly, rebuking President Trump's irresponsible move to unilaterally recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, underscores Trump's flawed understanding of diplomacy and the heavy price the US pays when it subjugates a calculated foreign policy and national security interests to domestic politics.
The UNGA vote – 128 countries voting against Trump's move, with only 9 in favor and 35 abstaining – is a slap in the face of the US, a reality check for Israel, but also a welcome endorsement of the two-state solution and of diplomacy as a tool for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It is a rebuke of Trump's unilateralism and a bitter blow our country's global leadership role. "This is the price we pay for President Trump acting on a whim and reversing a fifty-year-old policy carefully implemented by past presidents, Democrats and Republicans alike," said Debra DeLee, APN's President and CEO.
On September 1st, 2016, the Supreme Court ordered that 13 illegal houses the were built on private Palestinian land in the outpost of Nativ Ha’avot will be dismantled by March 6th, 2018. Since this ruling, the settlers have imposed tremendous pressure on the government to resist the implementation of the ruling. They issued a public campaign full of misleading information, inaccuracies and downright lies, in order to raise public support for their struggle.
Peace Now, which petitioned the court together with the Palestinian landowners, sets the record straight in the following “Nativ Ha’Avot File” – replete with all the facts and proof regarding the land grab and the illegality of the outpost.
Kenneth Marcus, President Trump’s nominee for Assistant Secretary of Civil Rights in the Department of Education, has made it his mission to suppress speech critical of Israel on campuses by labeling it “anti-Semitic.”
The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions is due to vote on Marcus’s confirmation today, December 13, 2017. In keeping with our defense of free speech related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and our commitment to opening the debate on this issue in American society, Americans for Peace Now strongly opposes Marcus and calls on senators to vote against his confirmation.