APN Welcomes PLO-Hamas Reconciliation Agreement

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Washington, DC –  The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and Hamas today ended a seven-year rift by reaching a historic reconciliation agreement.

Americans for Peace Now welcomes the agreement. APN holds that unity between the Palestinian political factions and between the West Bank and Gaza is vital for empowering the Palestinian leadership to more credibly conduct negotiations with Israel and to more efficiently implement a future peace agreement.

APN’s President and CEO Debra DeLee said: “The new Palestinian agreement is good news, and should be regarded as such by the Obama administration and by the government of Israel. A Palestinian interlocutor who credibly represents all the Palestinians is much better positioned to make hard decisions around the negotiating table and is much better positioned to deliver when the time comes to implement a peace agreement. This reconciliation agreement can and should empower and legitimize Mahmoud Abbas as a leader of the Palestinian polity.”
 
“We urge President Obama and Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to continue interacting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and to determine the future relations of the U.S. administration and the Israeli government with any Palestinian government based on that government's positions and actions alone.”

Peace Now: Minister of Defense approves new settlement in Hebron, first time since the 1980s

The Minister of Defense has approved the creation of a new settlement inside the Palestinian city of Hebron, making it the first settlement in the city since the 1980s.
 
The impact of the settlement is remarkable: a large building, 4000 square meters,  that can hold more than 20 settler families (more than 120 people) and on a strategic and pivotal location: relatively distant from the other settlements inside Hebron, and on the route that connects Hebron to Kiryat Arba settlement.

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Press Release: APN Lambasts New Planned Settlement Construction

As the Obama administration prepares to kick its efforts to broker Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations into higher gear, the government of Israel is advancing plans to build 2,372 new housing units in West Bank settlements.

News of this new round of settlement construction plans was publicized yesterday by Americans for Peace Now's Israeli sister-organization, Shalom Achshav (Peace Now).

Americans for Peace Now joins Shalom Achshav in condemning the new plans for construction in settlements, many of which are east of the "Separation Barrier," in areas that are almost certain to come under Palestinian sovereignty when a two-state peace agreement is achieved.

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APN Condemns Rocket Barrage on Israel

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In response to today's rocket barrage into Israel from Gaza, APN President and CEO Debra DeLee stated:

"We unequivocally condemn the heinous attacks carried out today against Israel, apparently by Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip. This firing of rockets into Israel, threatening Israeli civilians, is terrorism, pure and simple. We support Israel's right to defend itself and its duty to defend its citizens in the face of such attacks. In exercising this sovereign right of self defense, we urge Israel to pay attention to past experience, seeking both to avoid harming Palestinian civilians and to avert a potentially disastrous cycle of escalation. Our thoughts are with Israel's citizens living in the shadow of these rockets, as well as with Gaza's civilians, whose welfare, too, is being treated with callous disregard by violent Palestinian extremists."

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APN Press Release: APN Mourns the Death of Ambassador Samuel Lewis

Americans for Peace Now (APN) mourns the death of Ambassador Samuel Lewis, a distinguished American diplomat and a leading expert on US Middle East policy, a staunch supporter of Arab-Israeli peace, a true friend of Israel and an influential activist for Israeli-Palestinian peace.

APN's President and CEO Debra DeLee said: "Sam's passing is a terrible loss to the peace movement and to those who knew him and deeply appreciated him as a human being. He was a man with a big intellect and a big heart, whose pro-peace positions were guided by a moral compass and by a deep commitment to the national security of the United States and to the wellbeing of the state of Israel.

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Press Release: APN to Netanyahu: Don't Establish a New Settlement in Hebron

In response to today's ruling by Israel's High Court of Justice (Supreme Court) regarding settler claims to ownership of a large house in Hebron, Americans for Peace Now (APN) joins its Israeli sister organization Shalom Achshav (Peace Now) in calling on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Minister of Defense Moshe Ya'alon to use their legal authority to prevent the creation of another settlement stronghold in Hebron.

The Supreme Court today rejected an appeal by two Palestinians of a lower court ruling that the property was bought legally by Jewish settlers. Following the Supreme Court ruling, the settlers could move into the house, if the Minister of Defense approves it.

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Press Release: Settlement Surge Looms Large over Netanyahu-Obama Meeting

As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu landed in Washington today, the Israeli government’s Central Bureau of Statistics issued a report showing a whopping 123% surge in West Bank settlement construction in 2013, more than double the number of new settlement homes built in 2012.

The data was analyzed and highlighted today by Israel’s Peace Now (Shalom Achshav) movement. It confirms past interim reports by Peace Now’s Settlement Watch Project. Americans for Peace Now (APN), Shalom Achshav’s US sister-organization, joins Peace Now in condemning Netanyahu’s government for this reckless policy of settlement construction.

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Press Release: APN Applauds House Letter Supporting Diplomacy with Iran

Washington, DC – Americans for Peace Now (APN) thanks the 104 members of the House of Representatives, Republicans and Democrats, who today sent a letter to President Obama supporting the current diplomatic efforts to resolve concerns over Iran's nuclear program.

APN strongly supported the letter and urged House members to sign it.

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Press Release: SOTU Underscores Obama's Commitment to Middle East Peace, Security

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In his State of the Union address last night, President Obama addressed in detail the issues that are at the heart of APN's mission and activities.

APN's President and CEO Debra DeLee offered the following comments on the address:

"In his State of the Union -- his annual address to Congress and the American people highlighting the most important issues and priorities on the nation's agenda -- the President rightly singled out for special mention his Administration's efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 'As we speak,' he said, 'American diplomacy is supporting Israelis and Palestinians as they engage in difficult but necessary talks to end the conflict there; to achieve dignity and an independent state for Palestinians, and lasting peace and security for the State of Israel.'

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APN to US Jewish Groups: Condemn Yaalon's Comments

APN Urges US Jewish Groups to Condemn Yaalon's Anti-Kerry, Anti-Peace Comments

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Washington, DC - Americans for Peace Now (APN) urges American Jewish organizations to join it and its Israeli sister organization, Israel’s Peace Now movement, in condemning Israel’s Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon’s offensive comments, lambasting Secretary of State John Kerry for his efforts to broker peace for Israel.

Yaalon was quoted this morning in the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth as criticizing Kerry for “acting out of misplaced obsession and messianic fervor” in his efforts to advance a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. Yaalon did not deny the quotes, and in a public appearance later in the day continued to criticize the US peacemaking efforts, stating that Israel’s government strives not to resolve its conflict with the Palestinians “but to manage it.”

State Department Spokesperson, Jennifer Psaki, called Yaalon’s remarks "offensive and inappropriate, especially given all that the U.S. is doing to support Israel's security needs." She added that “to question Secretary Kerry's motives and distort his proposal is not something we would expect from the defense minister of a close ally."

Several members of the Israeli cabinet also criticized Yaalon’s comments, as did Israel’s Peace Now movement, Shalom Achshav.

APN, the US sister-organization of Shalom Achshav, is outraged at Yaalon’s comments, and urges fellow American Jewish organizations to join it by speaking out against his tirade.

APN’s President and CEO Debra DeLee said: “This is a moment that calls for American friends of Israel to state clearly: We support peace for Israel. We recognize that it is in the national security interest of Israel and of the United States. We support our President and Secretary of State’s efforts to advance this goal. We do not support the vision of Israel living by its sword and ruling over another people in perpetuity, by ‘managing’ its conflict with the Palestinians.”


To read more about Yaalon’s comments, click here

To read the State Department’s reaction, click here

To read Peace Now’s statement, click here

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