APN Board member Letty Cottin Pogrebin in Haaretz: Am I Too Dangerous to Enter Israel?

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.

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Peace Now Settlement Watch Report: Unraveling the Mechanism behind Illegal Outposts

Since the mid-1990s, the settlers established nearly 100 illegal outposts and built dozens of neighborhoods and illegal projects in many settlements. In 2015 alone 15% of the units constructed in the settlements was illegal.


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During the past year, Settlement Watch conducted extensive research on illegal construction in settlements and outposts. The data collected exposes a process parallel to the official planning process in the settlements – that of illegal construction. This parallel process is what allows for thousands of housing units to remain on the ground, and be connected to roads and infrastructure.

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As Americans come out in huge numbers to challenge the illiberal policies of President Donald J. Trump, they should be mindful of developments in and emanating from another increasingly illiberal democracy: Israel.

In power in Israel for nearly a decade, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his political partners have focused their energies on one goal above all others: expanding settlements and securing permanent Israeli control over territory occupied by Israel in 1967. In pursuing this “Greater Israel” agenda, Netanyahu has governed according to a political ethos that has much in common with that of Trump, starting with the belief that political might makes right; that laws, courts, and public institutions exist solely to serve those in power; that the media and activists are the enemy; that hasbara (Hebrew for “propaganda,” often akin to “alt-facts”) trumps facts; and that democratic norms like “rule of law” and “checks-and-balances” are for suckers.

Americans should pay attention to Israel not merely for the many lessons it offers about how illiberalism can take hold in a free society. They should pay attention because the same “Greater Israel” agenda that has eroded Israeli society is today poisoning America’s democracy.

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Haaretz - Explained: How Big an Obstacle Are Israeli Settlements to Peace?

Trump recently said that advancing settlement construction is unhelpful for peace, but which settlements exactly he was referring to is open for interpretation.

Judy Maltz

If his latest statements are any indication, U.S. President Donald Trump may be having second thoughts about how unharmful Israel’s West Bank settlement project is to the peace process.

In an interview published on Friday with the Israeli daily Israel Hayom, Trump described himself as “not someone who believes that advancing settlements is good for peace,” and urged the government to “act reasonably.”

“There is limited remaining territory,” Trump said. “Every time you take land for a settlement, less territory remains.”

In a statement issued through the White House a week earlier, he said that although settlements per se were not an impediment to peace, “the construction of new settlements or the expansion of existing settlements beyond their current borders may not be helpful in achieving that goal.”

America’s unpredictable new president may be a bit more forthcoming about where he draws the line when he meets with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday. Meanwhile, his statements have been interpreted as a green light for Israel to continue building within the settlement blocs, though not beyond them.

Settlement blocs refer to the larger Jewish population centers located in the West Bank, many of which are close to the Green Line, or the borders of the 1949 armistice agreement. Many of them fall on the Israeli side of the incomplete separation barrier Israel began building nearly 15 years ago during the second Palestinian uprising.

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The more Netanyahu hitches his wagon to the White House, the more he and Trump resemble each other, the more American Jews will actively resist both.

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. 

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The nomination of David Friedman to be the next ambassador of the United States to Israel has stirred a fierce debate, focused primarily on Friedman’s well-documented bombastic rhetoric and his views on settlements, the occupation, and the Palestinians — views that are at odds with decades of bipartisan U.S. policy.

As the Senate gets ready to consider Friedman’s nomination, what has been largely overlooked is the fact that, based on his own very clear and public record, Friedman is by any objective standard disqualified from serving as America’s diplomatic envoy to any country, and especially to Israel.

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APN board member Mik Moore in Medium: Freedom Riders In Israel

Israel is innovating new products that will help the developing world and isolated areas gain access to fresh produce and water, sustainable energy, and inexpensive traditional housing.

Israel is innovating new ways to deny millions of people basic civil rights; subjecting them to regular violence and intimidation, undermining their ability to be economically self sufficient, and preventing them from building housing, schools, and other necessities.

Over Christmas break I spent two weeks in Israel with my wife and our kids, aged 13 and 9. It was my eighth visit and their first. We saw both of these Israels, up close and personal.

It is not shocking to learn that a country contains multitudes. The good and the bad often exist side by side, each an authentic representation of a nation’s values. It is true in the United States. It is true in France. It is true in Israel.

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Back in 2012, I warned a friend who was working on international trade issues: pay attention to what’s happening with the Palestinians at the UN, because it could cause problems for the U.S. on a wide range of issues, including the ones you deal with. I recall clearly his response, mainly because it was so patronizing. In essence, he told me: “don’t kid yourself – nobody is going to let a boutique issue like Israel-Palestine harm truly important U.S. interests (like trade).”

Now, five years later, President-elect Trump and his surrogates are dropping heavy hints about plans to break with longstanding U.S. positions vis-à-vis the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in the direction of changes that both Israelis and Palestinians would view as turning away from a negotiated peace agreement. And like my friend in 2012, few people today seem to grasp the consequences – entirely unrelated to Israel and the Palestinians – such changes are set to unleash, or the profoundly negative implications they would have for all Americans.

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israeli-separation-barrier-Newsweek-AnatBenNun320x265With the election of Donald Trump as the next president of the United States, speculation is running high in regard to Washington’s policy on Israeli settlement construction and the future of the Middle East peace process.

While many unpredictable variables are in place, one thing is certain—the viability of the two-state solution is at stake. After 50 years of occupation and as the point of no return grows closer, Trump’s administration is set to carry an even heavier responsibility on its shoulders than previous U.S. administrations.

When it comes to Trump’s settlement policy, I argue that instinctual assumptions of reckless Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank during his presidency may be misleading. Unfortunately, the likely alternative also contains substantial risks for the two-state solution.

Celebrating Trump’s election, the Israeli right-wing was single-minded. It was not worried about democratic values, nor was it concerned with pluralism or for the American Jewish community. Rather, it expected that starting from January 20, all restraints on settlement construction would be removed. Without restraints from either Trump or Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, continued settlement developments will create irreversible damage to the two-state solution.

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Peace Now Director Avi Buskila profiled in YNet

Buskila_YNet_profile_2016-320x265On October 21, the Israeli Hebrew-language daily Yedioth Ahronoth published a comprehensive interview and profile of Avi Bouskila, Peace Now’s new executive director. The interview was subsequently translated into English and published by Yedioth’s online service, Ynet. Following is a selection of quotes from the article. To read the feature in its entirety, click here.

 

“Avi Buskila, the new director of Peace Now, is the opposite of a stereotypical leftist leader: his parents emigrated from Morocco, he grew up in the periphery, and he served as a combat soldier in the IDF.”

 

"I won’t apologize for serving in the IDF longer than Naftali Bennett or for living in the periphery longer than Miri Regev,’ he says defiantly.”

 

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