APN/Peace Now in the News: May 13-19, 2017

Haaretz: May 19, 2017
"Trump peace deal? No thanks"
By APN Board member Letty Cottin Pogrebin

Arutz 7: May 18, 2017
"Peace Now Against Rami Kleinstein," Peace Now critical of musician Rami Kleinstein for performing in Hebron.

 

APN/ Peace Now in the News: May 1-12, 2017

Haaretz: May 12, 2017
"Trump's policy on Israel turns U.S. Jewish groups topsy-turvy," APN among dovish American Jewish groups who say they'll support Trump if he's serious about peace (APN's Ori Nir quoted). 

The New York Jewish Week: May 3, 2017
"Travel Ban Law Roiling Birthright, Liberals," APN opposes Israel's new "Entry Law" - cancels Israel tour.

APN/ Peace Now in the News: April 22-28, 2017

Times of Israel: April 28, 2017
"Police prevent left-wing rally at outpost against settler violence," Peace Now (and other activists) blocked from reaching West Bank outpost to demonstrate.

JTA: April 26, 2017
"Reform head asks Netanyahu to clarify how anti-boycott law will affect Israeli trip participants," Following APN's cancellation of their Israel trip, Reform Movement sends letter to Netanyahu re: "Entry Law."

Jerusalem Post: April 26, 2017
"Israeli NGOs after German Foreign Minister meeting: We don't take orders from Netanyahu," Peace Now criticizes Netanyahu for delegitimizing dissenting non-profits.

Arutz 7: April 24, 2017
"Netanyahu issues ultimatum to German foreign minister," Netanyahu to German Foreign Minister: If you meet with Peace Now, I won't meet with you.

JTA: April 24, 2017
"Americans for Peace Now cancels annual Israel trip over anti-boycott law," APN cancels annual Israel trip for the first time in 30 years.

Haaretz: April 22, 2017
"First Jewish-American Group Cancels Trip to Israel Over Travel Ban Against Boycott Supporters," APN cancels tour due to new "Entry Law." 

Jerusalem Post: April 22, 2017
"Peace Now: New West Bank outpost built in last two weeks," Peace Now condemns establishment of new illegal outpost in the West Bank.

Haaretz: April 22, 2017
"Israeli Sets Up New 'Jewish-Arab' Outpost, to Chagrin of Settler Neighbors," Peace Now condemns establishment of new illegal outpost in the West Bank.

APN/Peace Now in the News: April 17-21, 2017

The Forward: April 20, 2017

"Israel's Settlement Blocs Block Prospects for Peace"

By Ori Nir

 

Everybody knows,” goes the argument. “Everybody knows that under any future Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, West Bank settlement blocs will be annexed to Israel.” And because everyone knows that, the argument goes, Israel should be allowed, even encouraged, to continue unhindered with settlement construction in the “blocs.”

Proponents of construction in settlement blocs argue the following. There is an Israeli consensus around the future annexation of the blocs once a peace agreement is signed. Even the PLO gave a nod of approval for such a scenario. Both Israelis and Palestinians have accepted the principle of “land swaps” (Israel compensating the Palestinians for lands it will annex east of the Green Line with Israeli land West of the Green Line). The US has made it clear that it will not insist on an Israeli withdrawal to the 1967 lines. Given all that, they say, why not build in areas that “everybody knows” Israel will end up keeping and annexing? How could that damage future negotiations?

This logic is becoming so rampant that a prominent Washington expert on the conflict recently said: “If settlements are the problem, then the blocs are the solution.”

Really? Is more settlement construction here the solution to the problem that settlement construction there creates?

First, the fact is that nobody knows exactly what the “blocs” are. Nobody knows precisely which swathes of land Israel will end up annexing. Nobody has ever clearly defined the “settlement blocs.” Israelis and Palestinians — and Americans, for that matter — have very different understandings of “settlement blocs.” It’s open to negotiations. That’s the crux of the issue. Are Beit El and the adjacent settlements near the Palestinian city of Ramallah a “bloc”? And what about Kedumim and Ariel? Palestinians don’t accept the idea of long Israeli fingers extending into their future state and will surely fight them tooth and nail in negotiations.

Everybody knows? Hardly.

In fact, it would make more sense to flip the settlement-bloc logic on its head and state that actually what “everybody knows” is that Israel will withdraw from all the distant settlements, the ones that are east of the separation barrier. That, we know. What nobody knows is what will be the contours of the blocs annexed to Israel.

In future negotiations, the dispute between Israelis and Palestinians will be over the definition and the size of the settlement blocs, not over the small ideological settlements sprinkled on the hilltops around Nablus. Those will surely be uprooted. So if the concern is the long-term impact of the facts on the ground created by settlements — the potential irreversibility of settlement construction — then it is actually bolstering the settlement blocs that poses a greater threat than bolstering the settlements that everyone knows will be removed.

Consider this: for every square meter that Israel annexes in so-called settlement blocs, under a future agreement with the Palestinians, it will have to compensate the Palestinians with sovereign Israeli land, West of the Green Line, that is equivalent in size and quality. Israel has a finite reserve of land abutting the Green Line that is not inhabited and that can easily be swapped for land annexed on the Palestinian side. Growth in the blocs may mean that Israel will not have enough “swappable” land once it comes to the negotiating table.

Unchecked, unhindered construction in settlement blocs means that the Israeli government and the settlers will be given carte blanche to define, unilaterally, what the “blocs” are, to determine what they will annex in the future, making a mockery of future negotiations over settlements and borders. If future peace will only be achieved in bilateral negotiations, as members of the Israeli governments like to say, then they should not preempt such negotiations by unilaterally determining what will end up being annexed to sovereign Israel.

Given the stalemate in efforts to reach Israeli-Palestinian peace, it is understandable that some look for quick, easy fixes. Alas, there are no easy fixes. You can’t resolve the settlement problem by allowing more settlement activity, even if this construction takes place in so-called “settlement blocs.” For Israel to remain a secure, democratic and Jewish state, it must achieve peace with the Palestinians. Expanding settlements, any settlements, severely undermines this goal. Everybody knows that.

 

APN/ Peace Now in the News: March 31 - April 7, 2017

The Australian Jewish News: April 6, 2017
Plans for New Settlement Condemned,” Peace Now’s Anat Ben Nun says that the creation of a new settlement in the West Bank sends a strong message that Israel is no longer interested in pursuing a two-state solution.

NPR: April 5, 2017
"Assessing Israel's Pledge to Scale Back Settlements," Peace Now's Hagit Ofran quoted on Israel's new settlement policy.

972+: April 4, 2017
Why Settlement Boycotters Shouldn’t Join the BDS Movement,” APN warns that the bills targeting BDS activists and settlement boycotters fail to differentiate between Israel proper and settlements themselves.

Times of Israel: April 3, 2017
Planned Amona 2.0 Might Not House West Bank Settlers for 3 Years,” Peace Now’s Hagit Ofran explains that while planning and approving settlements can take a long time, the government knows how to expedite the process to further their goals of strategically fragmenting the West Bank.

New York Times: March 31, 2017
"Israel Says It Will Rein In 'Footprint' Of West Bank Settlements," Peace Now skeptical of Israeli government's new settlement policy. 

Jerusalem Post: March 31, 2017
"Netanyahu under right wing pressure to continue settlement expansion," Peace Now skeptical of Israeli government's new settlement policy.

Los Angeles Times: March 31, 2017
"Israel approves settlement deep in the West Bank for the first time in two decades but pledges future controls," Peace Now skeptical of Israeli government's new settlement policy.

Daily News (UK): March 31, 2017
"US warns Israel on 'unrestrained' settlement building," Peace Now reacts to Israeli government's new Israeli settlement measures: "Netanyahu is held captive by the settlers."

Washington Post (AP Story): March 31, 2017
"Israel says will try to curb growth of settlement footprint," Peace Now says the Israeli government's new settlement policy actually serves the settlers.

San Francisco Chronicle: March 31, 2017
"Israel's new law seeks to silence settlement protests," Ori Nir is quoted in a story on Israel's new Entry Ban arguing that Israel should "should be cognizant of the repercussions" of "dissing a huge sector of a very pro-Israel American demographic."

APN/ Peace Now in the News: March 27-31, 2017

BBC: March 31, 2017
Israel Approves First New West Bank Settlement in 20 years,” Peace Now reports that in addition to the plans to build a new settlement outside Shilo, Israel approved tenders to build 1,992 new homes in at least four other existing settlements.

Times of Israel: March 31, 2017
Palestinians, UN Chief Rap New Settlement for Amona Evacuees,” Peace Now warns that the announcement of an entirely new settlement fragments the West Bank and the possibility of a future Palestinian state.

WBT: March 31, 2017
Israeli PM Limits Settlements While Announcing New One,” Peace Now’s Lior Amihai writes that in building a new settlement, the Israeli government is only trying to appease its right-wing settler minority.

Washington Post: March 29, 2017
"Is Israel losing it's soul?," Richard Cohen's op-ed quotes APN Board member, Letty Cottin Pogrebin's piece in Haaretz about the entry ban.

APN/ Peace Now in the News: March 13-24, 2017

Aljazeera: March 23, 2017
Israel Built 2,630 Illegal Homes in West Bank last year,” Peace Now cites that 14,017 homes were started when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s returned to office in 2009. 

i24 News: March 23, 2017
US Asked Israel to Halt Building Outside Settlement Blocs, Impose Quota: Report,” Peace Now reports that Israel’s settlement construction plans in 2016 were the second highest number in 15 years. 

Times of Israel: March 22, 2017
West Bank Settlement Construction Up in 2016 - Report,” Peace Now warns that the sharp increase in settlements shows the Palestinians and the international community that Israel is not looking for two-state solution.

Arutz 7: March 22, 2017
"Construction in Judea and Samaria rises 40% in 2016," Peace Now says construction in West Bank settlements increased by 40% in 2016.

Jordan Times: March 22, 2017
"Sharp rise in Israeli settlement projects in 2016," According to Peace Now, 2016 saw a sharp 40% increase in Israeli settlement construction.

The Forward: March 15, 2017
"Dovish Jewish Groups ‘Heartbroken’ At Prospect Of Being Banned From Israel," APN seeks clarifications from the Israeli government regarding new "Entry Law"

APN/Peace Now in the News: March 6 - 10, 2017

Haaretz: March 9, 2019

"Am I Too Dangerous to Enter Israel?"

By Letty Cottin Pogrebin

 

If supporting a non-violent boycott of the settlements makes me an enemy of the Israeli state, so be it. But Israel's border officers will have to hear my story before they turn me away for good.

 

Okay, yes, I’ve written critical articles and signed Open Letters protesting Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and decrying the settlement enterprise; and yes, I’ve been a member of Americans for Peace Now for more than 30 years and a supporter of B’Tselem, Human Rights Watch, ACRI, and the New Israel Fund, among other “suspect” organizations. So it’s a safe bet that, under the new Israeli entry ban, I’m going to end up on the government’s blacklist.

 

But if they’re going to ban me, I think they ought to know a few other facts about the American Jewish woman they’ve judged too dangerous to step foot beyond the security gate at Ben Gurion airport. To wit:

  • My paternal grandparents made aliyah in the 1930s and both are buried in Tiberias, my grandfather the victim of an Arab raid, my grandmother the casualty of her traumatic loss.
  • I grew up in Queens, N.Y., with parents who were fierce Zionist activists and fundraisers for the Yishuv (pre-state Jewish Palestine) in the 1940s and '50s. My father served as president of the regional Zionist Organization of America, my mother as president of the local chapter of Hadassah.
  • A disproportionate amount of my parents’ free time and disposable income went to support the Zionist dream. My father’s life, in particular, often felt like one long meeting with one agenda: Help make Israel a reality.
  • On May 14, 1948, a month before my ninth birthday, my family and our synagogue friends literally danced in the streets to celebrate Israel’s Declaration of Independence. That’s not something a kid forgets.
  • A year later, we took to the streets again to rejoice over Israel becoming member state of the United Nations. For my tenth birthday, my parents gave me a rushed-into-production set of 33-1/3 RPM LP records on which was captured the General Assembly’s country-by-country voice vote (33 yes, 13 no, 10 abstentions).
  • Throughout my childhood, the blue and white Jewish National Fund tzedakah box sat front and center on our kitchen counter. I fed it with coins from my allowance and later my babysitting jobs, and when full, delivered it to my Hebrew school.
  • A small forest of trees was planted in my name on my birthdays and in honor of my bat mitzvah in 1952. (I was one of the first girls in Conservative Judaism permitted that ceremony.)
  • I took my first trip to Israel on the government’s dime and at Yitzhak Rabin’s invitation. It was 1976 and a small group of American women, myself among them, had organized a petition campaign opposing the UN resolution equating Zionism and racism. (The resolution had been passed in Mexico City when some member states hijacked the 1975 International Women’s Conference for their own geopolitical purposes.) Our free trip was the Israeli government’s way of thanking us for our efforts. On that visit, I fell in love with the country, warts and all, and wanted to share what I’d seen and felt.
  • As a founding editor of Ms. magazine, I was in a position to organize “The Ms. Tour of Israel” in March 1978. I ran an ad in the magazine and 52 women and four men signed up. I arranged for us to visit the major historical sites but also to meet with female MKs, feminist groups, women’s rights and civil liberties lawyers, Orthodox women, Palestinian women, kibbutzniks, health care experts, educators, army officers, and more. We heard Israeli women complain about male supremacy in everyday life, the unacknowledged problem of domestic violence, sex discrimination in the workplace and academia. We noticed that most Jews seemed blind to the plight of the country’s Arab population. We learned that Israel wasn’t a perfect society but ended up feeling connected to the nation and its fate because of the people we’d met who were working to make it better.
  • In the last 40 years, I’ve been back to Israel more than two dozen times. I have scores of friends in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, and cousins who live on a moshav. I see them for meals and walks. I go to synagogue with them on Shabbat. I contribute to the Israeli economy by staying in nice hotels, eating lots of falafel and buying Judaica.

But since joining Americans for Peace Now and participating in its deeply substantive study tours, I’ve also been privy to how other people live. I’ve seen Palestinian-Israeli villages, refugee camps, and Jewish settlements and Palestinian towns in the West Bank.

 

I wish other travelers could be exposed to that same West Bank itinerary and see the double standard of justice in action, military and settler violence, the economic inequities, checkpoint humiliations and other degraded realities of Palestinians life under occupation that most tourists never see or care to hear about.

 

I can’t unsee what I’ve seen or ignore what I know. The violation of another people by the Jewish State in the name of the Jewish people has pricked my conscience and inspired my activism over these last four decades. It makes me mourn for the principles enshrined in Israel’s Declaration of Independence whose words, now moribund, once sent us out in the streets dancing for joy. More recently, despairing at the lack of progress toward peace and the growing erosions of Israeli democracy, it led me to support a settlement boycott as the only nonviolent means of bringing attention to this betrayal of my parents’ lifelong dedication to the Zionist enterprise.

 

If that makes me an enemy of the state, so be it. But like many other Jews outraged by this new ban, I will return because Israel’s founders guaranteed me refuge and my parents taught me that Israel was my second home. The border officers will have to look me in the eyes and hear my story before they turn me away for good.

 

Times of Israel: March 8, 2017

"UK's Johnson tours West Bank settlements with Peace Now," UK Foreign Secretary receives briefing on West Bank settlements from Peace Now 

Associated Press: March 8, 2017

"Johnson says Britain still backs 2-state solution in Mideast," UK Foreign Minister tours the West Bank with Peace Now

New York Times: March 7, 2017

"New Israel Law Bars Foreign Critics From Entering the Country," APN's Lara Friedman quoted on new Israeli "Entry Law"

Voice of America: March 7, 2017

"Israel to Close Borders to Backers of Pro-Arab Boycott," APN calls Israel’s new anti-BDS bill a “severe blow to Israeli democracy.

Jerusalem Post: March 7, 2017

"Settlers call on UK's Foreign Secretary Johnson to Visit," After learning that UK Foreign Secretary will meet with Peace Now for a briefing, settler leaders say they want to meet him, too. 

Jewish Telegraph Agency: March 6, 2017

"Knesset bans entry to foreigners calling for boycotts of Israel," APN’s CEO, Debra DeLee, warns that Israel’s new anti-BDS bill violates of its own democratic principles, most notably the freedom of political expression.

Jerusalem Post: March 6, 2017

"Anti-settlement Peace Now to Brief UK's Boris Johnson on Settlements," Peace Now’s Lior Amihai to brief British Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, on the status of settlements on Wednesday, March 8. 

 

APN/ Peace Now in the News: February 13-17, 2017

The Palm Beach Post: February 17, 2017
Israeli Settlement Sees Friendly Face in Trump Ambassador Pick,” Peace Now reveals that Israel’s latest approved settlement plans were developed by Sukkat Ovadia Learning Center, a beneficiary of Friends of Beit El, an organization supported by David Friedman and his family.

i24: February 16, 2017
"Former ambassador calls Trump's Israel Envoy pick 'unqualified,' too 'extreme,'" APN among groups opposing confirmation of David Friedman as US ambassador to Israel.

The Forward (JTA Story): February 16, 2017
"Jewish Groups Slam 'Dangerous' Trump For Trashing Two-State Solution," quoted APN's statement in a story on US Jews' reactions to the Trump-Bibi meeting.

Haaretz: February 16, 2017
American Jewish Leaders Call Trump’s Ideas on Israel 'Terrifying' and 'Bizarre',” APN’s Ori Nir warned that the discussion of the possibility of a one-state solution undermines Israel’s chances for peace and its future as a democratic and Jewish state.

The Times of Israel: February 16, 2017
Trump’s Pick for Israel Ambassador Faces Dicey Senate Hearing,” APN, the New Israel Fund, and the National Democratic Jewish Council urge American Jews to call their senators to oppose David Friedman’s nomination.

Times of Israel: February 15, 2017
"Israel's envoy to apologize for calling liberal Jews 'kapos,'" APN among groups advocating against confirmation of David Friedman as ambassador to Israel.

Times of Israel: February 15, 2017
"For some left-wing groups, Trump-Bibi meet-up is not top protest priority," quoted APN's press release on the meeting: "Prime Minister Netanyahu knows what agenda he should advance in the White House if he wants to demonstrate true statesmanship and prudent leadership. If, however, he wants to continue importing Israel's petty politics to Washington - as he has been doing for years - he will be serving neither the interest of Israel nor that of the United States."

JTA: February 14, 2017
"Letters from rabbis, Holocaust survivors decry Trump Israel envoy pick David Friedman," APN and other groups supporting the two-state solution have been organizing the push to block Friedman's nomination as ambassador to Israel for his use of the term "kapo," among other reasons.

UPI: February 14, 2017
Donald Trump, Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss tough line on Iran,” APN’s Ori Nir said Trump will only get tougher on Iran after his meeting with Netanyahu earlier this week.

VOA: February 13, 2017
"Trump Interview in Israeli Press Renews Confusion Over US Mideast Policy," Ori Nir quoted saying "As a dealmaker, Trump should know that actions speak louder than words. If he really wants to make a difference and make a deal, he should resist being manipulated by Israeli, Palestinian, or other politicians and pursue what he knows best serves America's national security interests: a two-state solution based on guidelines set by consecutive U.S. administrations. This imperative should guide the president when he meets with Prime Minister Netanyahu next week."

The Arab Weekly: February 13, 2017
"Trump and Netanyahu to discuss tough line on Iran," Ori Nir quoted saying "Netanyahu will try to pocket some of the toughening in the US attitude towards Iran and present it as his own achievement. He really believes in getting tougher on Iran."

Haaretz: February 13, 2017
Over 600 Rabbis and Cantors Sign Petition Opposing David Friedman as U.S. Ambassador to Israel,” APN, in collaboration with other progressive Jewish organizations, helps collect signatures to petition Donald Trump’s nomination for David Friedman as US Ambassador to Israel.

APN/ Peace Now in the News: February 6-10, 2017

APN's Ori Nir in Haaretz: February 8, 2017
As Netanyahu Cozies Up To Trump, American Jews' Alienation From Israel Escalates

Israel’s newly adopted, patently unconstitutional “Regularization Law” further distances most American Jews from the government of Israel and the State of Israel.

It does so by further underscoring the similarities between Israel’s leadership and U.S. President Donald Trump’s campaign of constitutionally controversial executive orders. It thus further deepens the sense of dissonance in the minds of American Jews regarding the U.S.-Israel relationship. Continue Reading...

Haaretz: February 9, 2017
Trump's Israel Ambassador Linked to New Expansion of Radical West Bank Settlement,” Peace Now opposes Donald Trump’s pick for David Friedman as Ambassador to Israel and condemns the organization he heads, American Friends of Beit El, which funds construction of Israeli settlement homes on private Palestinian land.

The New York Times: February 7, 2017
Israeli Allies Condemn Settlement Law as Lawsuits Loom,” in light of Israel’s new law, retroactively legalizing settlements built on private Palestinian land, Peace Now’s spokesperson, Lior Amichai, declares their plans to challenge the law in court.

Haaretz: February 7, 2017
Explained: Israel's New Palestinian Land-grab Law and Why It Matters,” APN explains that the new law authorizes retroactive legalization for more than 50 outposts and settlements.

Haaretz: February 7, 2017
U.S. Jewish Leaders Come Out Against Land-grab Law: 'This Isn’t the Israel We Want to See',” Peace Now, alongside the New Israel Fund, J Street, American Jewish Committee, Rabbi Rick Jacobs of the Union for Reform Judaism, and the Anti-Defamation League, criticized the law for making theft “an official Israeli policy.”

The Boston Globe: February 7, 2017
Israel Passes Provocative Law to Retroactively Legalize Settlements,” Anat Ben Nun, Peace Now’s Director of External Relations, warns that the law is “deteriorating Israel’s democracy, making stealing an official policy and bringing us one step closer to annexation.”

Algemeiner: February 6, 2017
Jewish Leaders Denounce Palestinian Authority’s ‘Fort of Torture’,” APN’s Ori Nir disapproves of the Palestinian security services’ actions to torture detainees, despite any cooperation they might have with Israel in the battle to fight terrorism.

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