Reclaiming Israel's Future

Settlements

Logo250(6/16/14) Americans for Peace Now (APN) is proud to announce the launch of our new campaign, "Reclaiming Israel’s Future." The objective of this campaign is to re-focus energy and attention on the challenges that Israelis must face in order to secure a future as a democracy and a Jewish state.

This campaign comes in the context of the failure – or the pause of indefinite duration – of the U.S.-backed peace effort. Despite the sincere efforts of Secretary of State John Kerry and President Obama, their recent initiative fell apart because, like so many efforts before it, it morphed from a political process who purpose was to resolve the conflict, into a political process that simply continued for its own sake. Along the way, this process was exploited, as has happened so often in the past, to provide cover for developments on the ground that are antithetical to any negotiated, two-state resolution of the conflict.

APN’s mission is the achievement of peace and security for Israel, and to ensure Israel’s viability as a Jewish state and a democracy. While we believe that only negotiations can deliver a final resolution to this conflict, in the form of a negotiated two-state solution, we do not believe in process for its own sake. We hope that serious negotiations can be launched again in the future, but we will not sit by, waiting and hoping for a new process to be launched. We believe that now more than ever, it is time to face unflinchingly and without apology the hard truths about Israeli policies and actions that perpetuate this conflict and seek to prevent its resolution. In this way, we are taking action now to Reclaim Israel’s Future – before it is too late.

This is a six-week initiative. Each week, we will focus on a different core issue in this conflict: settlements, Jerusalem, borders and security, hatred and incitement, issues pertaining to the conflicting narratives of Israelis and Palestinians, and a final week that looks to the future and talks about what we can do to support a two-state solution. In the coming weeks, look for notices from us about new resources and activities related to our campaign, including opportunities to take action. Make sure to read our landmark statement, "On the 47th Anniversary of the Occupation: Time for Hard Truths, Tough Actions."

Please check our website often; you can also keep track of the campaign by liking us on Facebook and following us on Twitter.


Week 1: Settlements 

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Week 2: Jerusalem

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Week 3: Borders/Security

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Week 4: Hatred/Incitement

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Week 5: Recognition & Narratives

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Week 6: Moving Ahead

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Dror Moreh and the Gatekeepers

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Dror Moreh, an award-winning Israeli filmmaker, recently wrote a letter exclusively for APN underscoring the importance of the work we are doing.  His most recent film, The Gatekeepers, was nominated for Best Documentary Feature at the 2013 Academy Awards. Dror Moreh wrote this letter for Americans for Peace Now, because the only reasonable way to resolve the conflict is a two-state solution. And that's the message former Shin Bet directors make in his documentary The Gatekeepers. The Gatekeepers won several awards, including Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Documentary/Non-Fiction Film.

Read Dror Moreh's important letter here

Listen here for an APN briefing call with Moreh.

The three video clips below are interviews of Moreh talking about his work.

The Siren Call of Unilateral Withdrawal/Annexation

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With Israeli-Palestinian efforts at an impasse and immediate-term hopes for progress toward any agreement fading, the appeal of new ideas is understandable. This is no doubt why discussion of Israeli unilateral options—generally in terms of unilateral “withdrawals” from [or annexations of parts of] the West Bank—is in the air. In this context, it’s essential to distinguish between ideas that are genuinely new and constructive, and ideas that simply perpetuate the avoidance and denial adopted by successive Israeli governments. The former are welcome.  The latter are predicated on the belief that catering to the settlers is preferable to confronting them, even if doing so comes at the expense of the best interests of Israel. This latter approach is antithetical to peace and a two-state solution, now or in the future.


They Say, We Say: "Why shouldn’t Israel be able to build in areas that everyone – including the Palestinians - knows Israel will keep in any future peace agreement?"
They Say, We Say: The Gaza experience proves that "land for peace" doesn't work


The Illusion of the Unilateral Solution
(Shaul Arieli, Walla.co.il, 5/27/14)
Lapid: Unilateral annexations will lead coalition to collapse (YNet, 5/27/14)
Are we about to witness a new Israeli unilateral initiative? (Hard Questions, Tough Answers with Yossi Alpher, 5/27/14)
One state, two states (Jerusalem Post editorial, 5/18/14)
Paved with Good Intentions, Lined with Settlements (Lara Friedman, Open Zion, 3/14/13)
Killing the Two-State Solution Through the Suspension of Disbelief (Lara Friedman, Huffington Post, 3/7/13)
The Siren Call of Israeli Unilateralism (Lara Friedman, the Daily Beast, 6/18/12)

Israel's security depends on peace!

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"I've been in this game for most of my adult life. In the end, the security forces have to do the hard work, sometimes also the dirty and unpleasant work. But the job of the security forces is to create the conditions so that the political echelon can do something with it, and the quiet that was achieved in recent years was an opportunity that the political echelon should not have missed. So you can call Abu Mazen a peace rejectionist. I say that he is not a peace rejectionist. He is not an easy partner for peace, but let's admit the truth--are we easy partners?"  -Yuval Diskin, former head of the Shin Bet, in a 2013 interview in Yediot Ahronot by Dror Moreh, director of the documentary film "The Gatekeepers."

Yuval Diskin is one of the six living heads of the Shin Bet, Israel's security force, who were interviewed in the 2013 Israeli film the Gatekeepers. All six have come to state the obvious: Israel will be secure only when there  is peace with the Palestinians.

To learn more and stay informed sign up for APN's weekly update:

An Introduction to Price Tag

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"Price Tag," started out as an initiative of a segment of Israeli settlers (the most well-known referred to as the “Hilltop Youth”) and their supporters inside the Green Line (and with supporters overseas).  Their goal was and remains to deter action by the IDF and Israeli police against illegal settlement outposts (or any other settler activity that violates Israeli law) by making Israeli authorities believe that the costs of such action – in terms of disruptive or violent actions by settlers – would be prohibitive. These actions have involved settlers trying to physically block Israeli forces from tearing down illegal construction, rampaging through the area, attacking Palestinians (leading to injuries) and their property (including mosques), and harassing and even attacking Israeli security installations and personnel (leading to injuries). 

Over the years Price Tag has escalated and spread into East Jerusalem and across the Green Line, into Israel, with attacks targeting Palestinian and Palestinian-Israeli individuals, neighborhoods, villages, and religious sites (Christian and Muslim), including mosques, churches and cemeteries. 

The “Price Tag” phenomenon is a subset of the wide issue of settler violence and lawlessness; in terms of organized settler violence/terror, it is only the most recent phenomenon, with violence dating back to the late 70s and the Jewish Underground (for a brief history, see here and here).

Selected Resources

APN’s "Price Tag" Escalation Timeline: Jan 1, 2011 - present
This page (updated regularly) presents a timeline of major "Price Tag" attacks, as reported by Israeli sources.  It documents a clear escalation in attacks, and the increasing spread of attacks inside the Green Line. Where clear, indicates so-called "triggers" - events or developments that appear to be linked to subsequent attacks - although as has been noted in the Israeli press, "According to the Shin Bet, the right-wing extremists no longer appear to need a 'trigger' to take action, while the targets of the violence are also widening..." We will update this regularly.

West Bank Settlers’ Terrorizing of Palestinians to Deter Israeli Government Law Enforcement
This report, by APN’s Ori Nir for Case Western University School of Law (4/3/12), takes a deeper look into the phenomenon of settler violence over the years.

"Settler violence” – videos
Part of the B’tslem camera project, this video channel in an archive of short videos, shot by Palestinians, of the settler violence they face (and often documents the actions, or lack thereof, of Israeli security personnel during these incidents)

Institutionalized Impunity – Israel’s Failure to Combat settler Violence in the occupied Palestinian territory
A report by the Palestinian Human Rights organization Al Haq Report (2012), chronicling the phenomenon of settler violence and examining the context for dealing with under international law.

The Price of Law Enforcement Failure – Israeli Settler Violence and the Evacuation of Outposts
A report from OCHA – the UN Office for the Coordination of Human Rights in the occupied Palestinian territory (November 2009).

Violence by Extremists in the Jewish Settler Movement - A Rising Challenge
A report on the phenomenon of settler violence from researchers at WINEP - the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (November 25, 2008).

Selected articles/posts by APN

5/14/14: Price Tag featured Hard Questions, Tough Answers with Yossi Alpher
5/8/14: APN campaign – #stoppricetag
2/5/14: Peace Now's 'Price Tag' Tour
11/18/13: Price Tag featured Hard Questions, Tough Answers with Yossi Alpher
12/30/11: The Cost of Appeasing Settler Terrorism (APN’s Lara Friedman in the Huffington Post)
12/27/11: Price Tag featured Hard Questions, Tough Answers with Yossi Alpher
8/4/10: Stand against Israel's extremists (APN's Ori Nir in the Washington Jewish Week)
12/28/11: The State of the Anarchists (Peace Now's Yariv Oppenheimer in Maariv)
4/5/11: YNet - "Price Tag" is dangerous for Israel (by Peace Now's Yariv Oppenheimer)
7/19/10: The Extremist Settler's Guide to Getting Away with Terror (APN’s Lara Friedman)
6/9/10:  "Price Tag" Crosses the Green Line (Ori Nir)
4/33/10: LA Jewish Journal - Lag B’omer’s Price Tag (by APN’s Luis Lainer)
11/13/09: A Short History of Israeli Right Wing Terrorism (APN’s Ori Nir)

Selected Analysis/Commentary, by year

2014

5/12/14: Yes, there are Hebrew neo-Nazi groups (Amos Oz in YNet)
5/4/14: Shin Bet can stop 'price tag' activities (Carmi Gillon in YNet)
5/3/14: Ex-Shin Bet chief: Israel does not intend to stop ‘price tag’ attacks (Jerusalem Post)
5/3/14: Former security chiefs say Israel doesn't want to stop hate crimes (Haaretz)
4/30/14: U.S. report: 'Price tag' attacks spread into Israel, go unpunished (Haaretz)
2/25/14: Israel seen using kid gloves in 'price tag' crackdown (Reuters)
1/21/14: Settler violence: It comes with the territory (+972)

2013

7/1/13: Israel’s apathetic hunt for 'price tag' attackers (Haaretz)
6/19/13: Outwitted by a bunch of 12-year-olds - Why the army and the Shin Bet are proving humiliatingly incapable of putting a stop to the plague of ‘price tag’ Jewish extremist attacks on Muslim, Christian and Jewish targets (Times of Israel)
6/19/13: Israel Police officer tells Haaretz: War on 'price tag' attacks far from over (Haaretz)
6/18/13: ‘Price tag' epidemic: 788 cases, 154 indictments (YNet)

2012

9/4/12: ‘Price tag' vandals consistently escape prosecution (YNet)
8/14/12: The Rise of Settler Terrorism (Foreign Affairs)
2/13/12: Articles on new "Price Tag" attacks against Peace Now
2/10/12: IDF soldier linked to 'price tag' attack in West Bank Palestinian village
2/9/12:  Two additional price tag attacks in recent days

2011

12/13/11: Israeli law is powerless in the settlements (Haaretz)
12/13/11: Shin Bet: Israel's extreme rightists organizing into terror groups
11/29/11: Price-tag militant rearrested for making death threats (Jerusalem Post)
11/28/11: JPost & Ha'aretz Articles on Suspect in Peace Now Death Threats
11/23/11: Public Security Minister: Threat of another political murder exists in Israel (Haaretz)
11/10/11: ‘88% of Jewish Israelis oppose price tag attacks’ (Jerusalem Post)
11/8/11: Death threats sprayed on home of Peace Now activist, in apparent 'price tag' attack (Haaretz)
10/14/11: Israeli society is standing by as settlers take the reins (Haaretz)
9/13/11: Articles on Vandalism, Threats, against Peace Now (various)
3/28/11: Poll: 46% in favor of 'price tag' (YNet)

2010

4/30/10: Price tag: Who's to blame for settler violence? (YNet)
1/28/10: Badge of terror - While the decision to dismantle West Bank outposts is commendable, one cannot but be amazed by the IDF Spokesman Office's watered-down response to the settlers' terror attack (Haaretz editorial)
1/27/10: Settlers attack Palestinians to avenge West Bank outpost demolition (Haaretz)

2009

12/11/09: Articles on arson attack against West Bank Mosque
10/16/09: Evicted Israeli Settlers Attack Palestinian Land (NPR)
6/24/09: Some Jewish settlers turning against Israel
6/24/09: Israel wrestles with settler challenge
6/10/09: Rights group warns of growing settler violence

2008

12/4/08: Settlers: We're launching 'price tag' policy across West Bank (YNet)
12/3/08: Radical Jewish settlers threaten to fight Israeli army (McClatchy)
11/3/08: The extreme right has sought to establish a 'balance of terror' (Haaretz)
10/27/08: New Tactics By Settlers Worrying Authorities (New York Jewish Week)
9/25/08: Radical Settlers Take On Israel (New York Times)
9/17/08: Settlers face down IDF, prevent evacuation of West Bank outpost (Haaretz)
9/11/08: West Bank: 2 soldiers lightly injured in clashes with settlers
9/11/08: Gun-toting settlers slaughtered my donkey, Palestinian shepherd says (Haaretz)
8/14/08: Settlers Appear To Be Ramping Up Violence in West Bank (The Forward)
7/25/08: Settlers threaten to exact 'price' in response to evacuations (YNet)
7/24/08: Yitzhar settlers riot in West Bank (YNet)

Happy Lag BaOmer

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Lag B'Omer - the 33rd day between Pesach and Shavuot- is a minor Jewish holiday that celebrates (among other things) the cessation of a divinely-sent plague that resulted from people not showing one another adequate respect. It is celebrated with bonfires, and great joy. Let us also look forward to a cessation of all the ills that Israel suffers from, and look forward to joy, peace and security.

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Peace Now win against illegal settlements!

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Israel's High Court of Justice issued an order in November that the state must remove homes on private Palestinian property in the unauthorized West Bank outposts of Ma’aleh Rehavam, Mitzpe Yitzhar and Givat Assaf by Sunday. The order was issued in reponse to a 207 petition by Peace Now, and targeted six unauthorized West Bank outposts: Ma’aleh Rehavam, Mitzpe Yitzhar, Givat Assaf, Mitzpe Lachish, Givat Haroeh and Ramat Gilad.

The state, had responded that it had plans to authorize the six outposts, if legally possible, but had not yet done so, and in November, the High Court ordered the state to quit dragging its feet, and that  the homes, on private property in three of the outposts, must be removed by May 18.

Settlers in the Ma’aleh Rehavam outpost are planning to fight the order. The Gush Etzion Regional council head wrote to the court, saying, "Most of these Ma’aleh Rehavam residents do not intend to willingly evacuate their homes."

Get the update!

Demand that Israeli authorities hold extremist settlers accountable. Join us in stopping this Price Tag campaign. Use the hashtag #StopPriceTag

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#stoppricetag

May 8, 2014
APN campaign to stop Price Tag attacks

“King David is for the Jews, Jesus is garbage." This is today’s graffiti found on a Jerusalem church the day after the Vatican called on Israel to protect Christian sites.

This is happening nearly every day. No longer just in the West Bank but in Israel proper.

These Price Tag attacks, perpetrated primarily by extremist Israeli settlers and their supporters, have escalated focusing on Arab towns and villages inside Israel. Private property and places of worship are targeted with grotesque destruction and graffiti. Whether it is a Church or a Mosque—it doesn’t matter. Jewish sites have been vandalized in retaliation.

Some may dismiss these attacks because they “just” focus on buildings and cars but as Yossi Alpher writes in this week’s Hard Questions Tough Answers although no Palestinian has been physically attacked or killed in the price tag actions, it is almost certainly only a matter of time until that happens. It is pathetic that it has gotten to this point. It is disgusting that these perpetrators haven’t been caught and dealt with. And it is pathetic that it is only a matter of time...

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Alpher goes on to say: This will not end well. We need to bring world-wide attention to these criminal acts. Join us and demand that Israeli authorities hold extremist settlers accountable. Join us in stopping this Price Tag campaign. Please use the hashtag #StopPriceTag. Please share on Facebook too. Because if the security officials don’t bother, we must...

Because if we don’t, this will not end well.

L'Shalom,
Rabbi Alana Suskin
Director of Strategic Communications
Americans for Peace Now

P.S. Price tags are not a new phenomenon; We have tracked this escalation in recent years online – have you?

The American Prospect: The Bitter Truth about the Settlements

by Matthew Duss

How can talks succeed when, throughout the negotiations, Israel is building on the very land that would comprise a Palestinian state?

There are a lot of reasons for the peace effort's failure, but people in Israel shouldn't ignore the bitter truth—the primary sabotage came from the settlements.” This is what anonymous U.S. officials told journalist Nahum Barnea, a prominent columnist in Israel’s most-read newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth, in a candid interview about the collapse of Secretary of State John Kerry’s nine-month-long effort to broker talks between the Israelis and Palestinians. 

It’s not just people in Israel who shouldn’t ignore this bitter truth; it’s people in America, and particularly in Washington, where there’s an entire industry dedicated to casting the Palestinians as eternal rejectionists and downplaying the impact of the settlements and occupation that sustain them. Basically, these officials are telling us more explicitly what both Secretary of State John Kerry and President Obama have told us more diplomatically: Netanyahu’s unwillingness and/or inability to reign in the settlements poisoned the negotiations, and is killing any chance of a final, two-state agreement.

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