APN on the JCPOA at One Year: A Clear Win for Both the U.S. & Israel

Secretary_Kerry_greets_Iranian_Foreign_Minister_Zarif474x531This week, on the first anniversary of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Americans for Peace Now (APN) celebrated the achievement of this historic deal – a deal that has already proven itself by radically rolling back and limiting Iran’s nuclear program. 

APN President and CEO Debra DeLee commented:

“We reiterate today our thanks and congratulations to President Obama and his P5+1 partners – France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Russia, and China – on this historic agreement and its ongoing implementation. A year on, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) has proven itself a clear win for the American people, for U.S. leadership, for U.S. national security and, we believe, for Israel. Already this agreement has dramatically and verifiably rolled back Iran’s nuclear program, stringently limited Iran’s ongoing and future nuclear activities, and taken off the table what pre-JCPOA was the looming threat of Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon in the foreseeable future.  The implementation of the JCPOA also ensures that, where in the past the U.S. and international community had very limited means to monitor Iran’s activities, today, should Iran decide to break the terms of the deal and try to ‘sneak out’ to a nuclear weapon, there is a far greater chance such an effort would be detected and the U.S. and its allies would be in a far stronger position to respond effectively.

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APN condemns new anti-democratic Israeli law

Israel’s Peace Now Movement to Challenge New NGO Law before Israel’s Supreme Court 

Washington, DC -- Americans for Peace Now (APN) joins its Israeli sister organization, Peace Now (Shalom Achshav) in strongly condemning the new NGO Law, adopted last night by the Knesset, as a blatant violation of freedom of expression. APN supports Peace Now’s intention to challenge the new law before Israel’s Supreme Court. 

As Peace Now points out, this law is tailored specifically to target only peace and human rights organizations. It intends to divert the Israeli public discourse away from the occupation, and to silence opposition to the government's policies. 

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On July 6, 2016 the High Planning Committee of the Civil Administration convened in order to discuss and approve construction plans in the settlements. The committee discussed the approval of 531 housing units in Ma'ale Adumim and the plan to retroactively legalize the illegal outpost of Horesh Yaron, which is located west of Ramallah. Since the beginning of 2016 construction plans for 1,823 housing units in the settlements were promoted. out of the 1,823, 314 are retroactive plans for housing units which were built illegally. It is important to note that the Quartet Report's criticism on Israel's settlement policy focused specifically on retroactive legalization of illegal outposts and illegal construction. 

Additionally, yesterday, July 10 2016, the government approved a transfer approximately 50 Million Shekels to Kiryat Arba and Hebron.

Peace Now: The promotion of plans in Ma'ale Adumim and the retroactive legalization of an illegal outpost are a slap in the face of the Quartet. Netanyahu is signaling to Israel's most important allies that he is not interested in peace and two states but rather in the continuation of the occupation. 

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Peace Now Settlement Watch: Deciphering the Announcement on Construction Plans in East Jerusalem

Last weekend Prime Minister Netanyahu and Minister of Defense Lieberman announced the approval of 240 housing units in East Jerusalem and another 560 housing units in Ma'ale Adumim, but the announcement lacked specifics on the plans and their planning stages. The PM and MoD also announced their intention to re-open a tender for 42 housing units in Kiryat Arba.

In the last two days we learned that beyond the tender for 42 housing units in Giv'at Ha'Harsina in Kiryat Arba, which was published yesterday, three plans for the construction in 169 housing units in Har Homa, Ramot and Pisgav Ze'ev were published for depositing on 5 July 2016:

Plan number 103753 - 120 housing units in Ramot on Mirsky Street (adding new floors to building that have already been approved).
Plan number 143768 - 30 housing units in Pisgat Ze'ev on Eliyahu Meridor Street (adding new floors to building that have already been approved).
plan number 202481 - 19 housing units in Har Homa on Eliyahu Koren Street (a 6 floor building).

For more information on the planning process click here.

It is not yet known what are the additional plans discussed in the PM and MoD announcement.

Peace Now Settlement Watch: Tender for 42 Housing Units in Kiryat Arba Issued

Today, (Wednesday, 6th of July) the Israeli Ministry of Housing issued a tender for the construction of 42 housing units in Kiryat Arba. The tender was issued today but bids can only be submitted at the 31st of July. This means that the Government wanted to publish the tender quickly, before the paperwork is completed, in order to make the connection between the deadly attacks against Israelis last week and the promotion of the construction in Kiryat Arba. 

Peace Now: "Construction in settlements is not an answer to terrorism; it is not going to save the life of any Israeli but rather strengthen the extremists on both sides. The real answer to terrorism is ending the occupation and reaching a negotiated peace agreement. Unfortunately, Israeli citizens continue to pay the price of the extreme right wing government's policies."

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Peace Now Settlement Watch: Settlement Construction Is Not The Answer to Terrorism

Following the deadly attacks against Israelis last week, it has been reported that the government is advancing plans for 800 housing units in Maale Adumim and in East Jerusalem. It is not clear at this point exactly which plans are being promoted and the promotion of 560 housing units in Ma'ale Adumim, for instance, seems to be made up of several smaller plans. In addition, it has been reported that the government will open a tender for 42 housing units in Kiryat Arba. For more information on this tender and the Kiryat Arba population see below.

Peace Now: Settlement construction is endangering both the possibility for peace and two states and the security of Israeli citizens. New housing units in the settlements will not prevent the next victims but rather strengthen the extremists on both sides. The real answer to terror is ending the occupation and reaching a negotiated agreement. Meanwhile, Israeli citizens will continue to pay the price of the extreme right wing government's policies. 

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Americans for Peace Now (APN) joins its sister organization, Israel's Peace Now movement, in strongly condemning the recent deadly terrorist attacks against Israelis in the West Bank and in pointing out that ultimately, the only way to end such violence is ending the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip by achieving a two-state solution.

This imperative was further underscored in today's report by the international Middle East Quartet, the body that brings together the United States, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations to advance Israeli-Palestinian peace.

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APN Condemns Killing of Hallel Ariel

A 13-year-old Israeli girl, Hallel Ariel, was stabbed to death in her sleep at her family’s home in the West Bank settlement of Kiryat Arba near Hebron. The attacker, 17-year-old Muhammad Tarayre of the neighboring village of Bani Naim jumped the fence into Kiryat Arba, fatally stabbed the girl, stabbed a security guard, and was then shot dead.

Americans for Peace Now (APN), the sister-organization of the Israeli peace movement Peace Now, strongly condemns this terrorist attack. Attacks such as this are completely unjustifiable, and are antithetical to the pursuit of a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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Tomorrow the Jerusalem Local Planning Committee is expected to approve the construction of a large building for settlers in the heart of the Batan Al Hawa neighborhood in Silwan. The three story building will be located in one of the most densely populated areas in East Jerusalem, near the Yonatan House (see map). The land in the area was sold to the settlers by the Israeli General Custodian without any tender, together with three additional parcels in the neighborhood (Parcels 73, 75, 84, 97). The pretext for selling the land to the settlers was the fact that they already own two other parcels in Batan Al-Hawa (parcels 95-96) that were released to them by the General Custodian in September 2002 (see more here)

Peace Now: While PM Netanyahu and MoD Lieberman just backed the two state solution, on the ground they are supporting actions that are making a future compromise much more difficult. They government can still prevent the construction of the house by withdrawing from the deal of selling the four parcels to the settlers. By approving the construction on the Eve of Ramadan Netanyahu and Lieberman risk igniting the region and compromising Israelis' security for the benefit of extreme settlers.

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Americans for Peace Now (APN) today sounded the alarm over the imminent appointment of Israeli serial provocateur and extremist firebrand Avigdor Lieberman as Israel’s new Minister of Defense. APN's President and CEO Debra DeLee commented: 

“Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is today once again showing the world that he puts politics and personal political survival above the national security of Israel and its people.

“Avigdor Lieberman has a long and ugly track record of irresponsible, reckless, and deliberately inflammatory rhetoric and actions. As foreign minister in Netanyahu’s previous government, he caused severe damage to Israel’s foreign interests, creating crises in Israel’s relations with regional and global allies.

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