Trump Policy Triggered Incendiary Abbas Speech, PCC Statement

The Chairman of the PLO and its Central Council over the past couple of days nullified the Oslo Agreements, conditioned recognition of Israel on Israeli recognition of Palestinian sovereignty, shunned the Trump Administration as a peace broker, and announced they would seek further recognition in international fora.

The Palestinian Central Council (PCC) statement followed an inflammatory and unconstructive speech by Palestinian Authority President and PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to the Council in Ramallah on Sunday.

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Bidding Farewell to Avi Buskila

Americans for Peace Now joins its Israeli sister organization Peace Now (Shalom Achshav), Israel’s preeminent peace movement, in bidding farewell to Avi Buskila, Peace Now’s departing director general, who has decided to venture into politics and run for the leadership of the progressive political party Meretz.

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APN Condemns Murder of Settler, Warns Against Settlement Construction as Revenge

Washington, DC -- In the strongest possible terms, Americans for Peace Now condemns the murder of Rabbi Raziel Shevach, which occurred yesterday in the West Bank outside Nablus. According to news reports in Israeli media, Shevach was shot by an unidentified attacker who fired on his vehicle from a passing car. We note that Hamas’s military wing, while not taking responsibility for the shooting, praised the killing as “heroic” and a sign of future attacks to come. Islamic Jihad also welcomed the attack.

With great concern, we are following developments in the wake of Shevach’s killing. Israel’s right-wing politicians are shamelessly exploiting this deplorable act with calls for settlement construction, making clear that they intend to use settlement building in the Occupied Territories as a means to punish Palestinians. Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman has also ordered his agency to examine the possibility of legalizing Havat Gilad – the illegal outpost near Nablus where Shevach lived, parts of which are built on private Palestinian land.

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APN Opposes Israel’s Entry Law Blacklist

Washington, DC -- Israel yesterday published a list of 20 organizations the activists of which will be prevented from entering the country in accordance with Israel’s 2017 Entry Law. Just as we condemn the Entry Law, Americans for Peace Now opposes this blacklist.

The Entry Law is aimed at organizations that support boycotts against Israel or West Bank settlements. Under the just-released blacklist, senior officials and key activists in blacklisted organizations who promote boycotts in an active and continuous manner will be denied entry.

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APN to Trump: Cutting Palestinian Aid is Irresponsible and Counterproductive

Washington, DC -- Following President Trump's ill-conceived announcement on Jerusalem, which upended prospects for a US-mediated Israeli-Palestinian peace, Trump this week lashed out at Palestinians. He threatened in a pair of tweets to cut off aid to Palestinians as long as they are "no longer willing to talk peace."

While Trump did not clarify which aid he planned to target, his tweets followed an earlier statement by US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley. She had indicated that the Trump Administration wants to quit funding the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which provides assistance to some 5 million Palestinian refugees. The US is by far the largest single donor to UNRWA, providing $360 million to the relief organization for 2016.

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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.

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Creeping Annexation: Changes in the Interpretation of the Laws Regarding Occupation
Settlements Watch Peace Now,
December 2017

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.

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APN's Statement Regarding Today's UN Vote on Trump's Jerusalem Move

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.

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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.

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Trump's Jerusalem Move Sabotages Prospects for Peace, Endangers Lives, Degrades US Leadership

Donald Trump today sabotaged decades of American efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. By announcing his disastrous new policy on Jerusalem, he is causing severe damage to the prospects of Middle East peace, imperiling lives, and degrading US leadership.

Defying the counsel of America's top diplomats and security experts, as well as the urging of US regional and international allies, Trump decided to put politics before policy, to cater to domestic extremists in his political base, and to toss a match into the most combustible place on earth: the holy city of Jerusalem. Trump's irresponsible action has further eroded American prestige and influence in the international arena.

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