Repairing the Internal Palestinian Rift

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Palestinian reconciliation - fixing the cleavage between Hamas and Fatah, and between the West Bank and Gaza - is vital to achieving peace. A Palestinian government that represents all Palestinians, and with security and governance capacity in both the West Bank and Gaza, is vital to any future peace agreement. A peace agreement negotiated in the context of Palestinian unity will have much greater legitimacy and be much harder for Hamas or any party to renege on, at least without appearing hypocritical in the eyes of its people. A peace agreement that involves all parties, leaves neither people feeling humiliated, and leaves both peoples significantly better off, will likewise be stronger, with peoples on both sides having an interest in rejecting anyone who tries to undermine the new status quo. (Excerpt from APN’s “They Say, We Say” entry on this topic.)

 

APN's They Say, We Say: What about Hamas and Gaza?

6/3/14: Lara Friedman: Setting the Record Straight: U.S. Law & the new PA government

6/2/14: APN Press Release: APN Welcomes Formation of Palestinian Government; Calls to Judge it by its Positions and Actions

4/25/14: APN: The Potential Benefits of a Pause in Israeli-Palestinian Talks

4/23/14: APN Welcomes PLO-Hamas Reconciliation Agreement

 

5/27/11: Grandstanding won't stop history (Lara Friedman in Haaretz)

4/29/11: Peace Now’s Yariv Oppenheimer on Reconciliation deal (video)

4/27/11: APN: Palestinian Reconciliation Deal is an Opportunity for Obama

4/27/11: APN on the Gaza-Hamas Challenge

 

3/11/09: APN: Time for a Rational Approach in the Israeli-Palestinian Arena

Rabbis For Peace

Here are a collection of resources to help you discuss Israel with your community.

Feel free to email any of us at APN, J Street or T’ruah for help or support: creating programs and divrei torah, inviting speakers  -or whatever assistance  you need.

APN

News, Resources, and Analysis:

Sign up for News Nosh, a free, daily round-up of Israeli news.
Yossi Alpher: Hard Questions, Tough Answers, a weekly analysis of national security developments in Israel and the Middle East.
They Say, We Say: A question-and-answer-format response to the arguments of the religious and political right-wing on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The APN Research Center. A go-to resource on Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, our APN Research Center gives anyone seeking reliable information the facts from a balanced, credible, and comprehensive source.
The Peace Process Resource Page: Everything you need to know, updated regularly, about what is happening now in the peace negotiations.
Additional resource pages on the issues:
Jerusalem on the U.S. Passport
Israeli-Palestinian Mutual Recognition
The Palestinians & the UN
The Price Tag Escalation Timeline. 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.
Facts on the Ground: The APN Map Project.
Speaker's Bureau: APN offers expert speakers for any venue. Click here for more information on how to book a speaker.

Please join us on our annual Israel Study Tour 

Rabbinic Resources:

Peace Parsha: A collection of divrei torah on Israel and peace, and a collection of haggada inserts from last year and all prior years.

T'ruah

A Prayer for Israel, by Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman
Justice for Jerusalem Resource Packet
Submit Your Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem
Al HaNisim: A Prayer on Miracles for Yom Yerushalayim: By Rabbi Gilah Langner for Yom Yerushalayim 2012/5772.
Justice for Jerusalem Human Rights Shabbat Packet 2013/5774, By Joshua Bloom, Ilanit Goldberg, Megan Goldman, and Rocky Salomon.
Three Prayers for the State of Israel

Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem
A supplemental discussion guide to Just Vision's documentary film "My Neighbourhood," written by Rabbinical Student Ilanit Goldberg, Joshua Bloom, and Rabbi Jill Jacobs, November 2012.
Full Text Study Packet

Jerusalem: A City of Beauty, Suffering, Might, Wisdom, Hypocrisy, and Torah
A supplemental discussion guide to Just Vision's documentary film "Home Front: Portraits from Sheikh Jarrah," written by Rabbinical Student Ilanit Goldberg, Joshua Bloom, and Rabbi Jill Jacobs, November 2012.
Full Text Study Packet

Justice for Jerusalem Text Study Packet
Written by Rabbinical Student Megan Goldman, Joshua Bloom, and Rabbi Jill Jacobs, May 2012.
Full Text Study Packet

J Street

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Jerusalem on the U.S. Passport

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"Our government's policy of refusing to formally recognize Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem is difficult for many of our fellow members of the American Jewish community to accept. But recording someone's birthplace as "Jerusalem" rather than "Israel" in no way threatens our religious, spiritual, and historical attachment and claims in the city. In our hearts, 'Yerushalayim shel Ma'lah - celestial Jerusalem - is and will forever be Israel's capital. However, 'Yerushalayim shel Matah - mundane Jerusalem of daily life on the ground - poses extremely delicate and volatile foreign policy and national security challenges. These challenges cannot be addressed through heavy-handed Congressional declarations or legislation, and they cannot be resolved by the courts. They can only be resolved through Israeli-Palestinian negotiations and a peace agreement that delivers a two-state solution to the conflict."

 

6/8/15: APN Press Release -- Press Release: APN Welcomes Supreme Court Ruling on Jerusalem
7/25/13: APN Press Release -- APN Welcomes Court Decision on Jerusalem
11/7/11: APN Oped --  Why We Have Taken a Stand with the US Supreme Court  (Original Hebrew version here)
10/4/11: APN Press Release -- APN Files Amicus Brief Supporting Obama Administration on Jerusalem
10/4/11:  APN Amicus Brief to the Supreme Court of the United States of America -- full text)

They Say, We Say: "Is there any way to reconcile the Israeli and Palestinian positions on the recognition issue?"

They Say We Say We know that pro-Israel does not mean blindly supporting policies that are irrational, reckless, and counter-productive. Pro-Israel means supporting policies that are consistent with Israel's interests and promote its survival as a Jewish, democratic state.

You've heard the arguments of the religious and political right-wing, and so have we. They've had their say. Now, we'll have ours.

Go HERE for all installments of APN's "They Say, We Say"

Is Peace Possible?

They Say:

Is there any way to reconcile the Israeli and Palestinian positions on the recognition issue, or is this a case of irreconcilable differences and, potentially, an insurmountable obstacle to peace?

We Say:

The demand for “recognition-plus” and its rejection go to the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They embody the shared desire of Israelis and Palestinians for self-determination in their own countries, and for acknowledgment of their core narratives. Recognizing what this argument is really about opens the door for Israelis and Palestinians to start grappling with the challenge of finding a recognition formula that addresses the needs, and respects the sensitivities, of both sides. Such a formula will require not just recognition of the fact of Israel’s existence, but some element of recognition of Israel as a home for the Jewish people in their historic homeland, alongside explicit recognition of the rights of non-Jewish citizens of Israel. On the flip side, such a formula will require not just grudging acceptance of a Palestinian state as the outcome of negotiations, but some element of recognition of the suffering and sacrifices that Israel’s creation and nearly 50 years of occupation have wrought on the Palestinian people.

Israeli and Palestinian leaders, negotiating in good faith to achieve a two-state solution, can certainly agree on a recognition formula – as was done by negotiators in the 2003 Geneva Initiative, which affirmed that the agreement marked, “the recognition of the right of the Jewish people to statehood and the recognition of the right of the Palestinian people to statehood, without prejudice to the equal rights of the Parties' respective citizens.” Conversely, if Israel and Palestinian leaders don’t start dealing with this question seriously – respectful of the nuances and sensitivities involved for both sides – then the recognition question will haunt us all, and ensure that an agreement is likely never reached. .

They Say, We Say: "Why is the demand that Israel be recognized “as a Jewish state” a problem for the Palestinians?"

They Say We Say We know that pro-Israel does not mean blindly supporting policies that are irrational, reckless, and counter-productive. Pro-Israel means supporting policies that are consistent with Israel's interests and promote its survival as a Jewish, democratic state.

You've heard the arguments of the religious and political right-wing, and so have we. They've had their say. Now, we'll have ours.

Go HERE for all installments of APN's "They Say, We Say"

Is Peace Possible?

They Say:

Why is the demand that Israel be recognized “as a Jewish state” a problem for the Palestinians? Isn’t their rejection of this Israeli demand proof they aren’t really interested in peace and don’t accept Israel?

We Say:

For Palestinians, rejection of the “recognition-plus” demand – as that demand has thus far been articulated – is a function of their own historical and political narrative. According to this narrative, they are an indigenous people living for generations in the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, only to be unjustly expelled or occupied as the result of the creation of Israel and subsequent disastrous wars. Israeli insistence that the Palestinians adopt the Israeli-dictated formula of “the Jewish state of Israel” or similar wording is thus understood by many Palestinians as effectively requiring them to renounce their national narrative and accept the delegitimization of their own history, suffering, and grievances. It is viewed as asking them to recognize, in essence, prior Jewish claims that erase their own rights, both in terms of lands lost and as refugees. Moreover, this demand is seen by many – on both sides of the Green Line – as requiring Palestinian President Abbas to “sell out” the more than one million Palestinians who are citizens of Israel, sabotaging their own efforts to play an effective role in influencing the future character of the state of Israel and break down the barriers to equality inside Israel.

They Say, We Say: "Why do Israelis and many supporters of Israel insist that Israel should be recognized as a Jewish state?"

They Say We Say We know that pro-Israel does not mean blindly supporting policies that are irrational, reckless, and counter-productive. Pro-Israel means supporting policies that are consistent with Israel's interests and promote its survival as a Jewish, democratic state.

You've heard the arguments of the religious and political right-wing, and so have we. They've had their say. Now, we'll have ours.

Go HERE for all installments of APN's "They Say, We Say"

Is Peace Possible?

They Say:

Why do Israelis and many supporters or Israel insist that Israel should be recognized as a Jewish state? Are all of them cynically adopting this position to try to prevent a peace agreement? [An argument coming from the Left, as opposed to the Right]

We Say:

There is little doubt that the reasons behind the introduction of the “recognition-plus” demand into the political debate were cynical, seeking to create a new obstacle to peace. That said, for many Israelis, the “recognition-plus” demand has taken root not because they are looking for an excuse not to make peace. It has taken root, at least in part, because it taps into two popular Israeli sentiments that relate to peace with their neighbors. One is the longing of Israelis to not simply be tolerated in the Middle East, but to be embraced, in the region and the world, as a legitimate, indigenous nation, consistent with Israel’s founding Zionist narrative of the return of the Jews to their historic homeland. The other is the Israeli anxiety that even after a peace agreement, Palestinians will not be content with a state in the West Bank and Gaza, but will continue fighting to “liberate” all of Palestine, which they believe belongs to them and not Israel.

They Say, We Say: "How can Israel be expected to negotiate with the Palestinians if the Palestinian leaders refuse to recognize Israel as Jewish state?"

They Say We Say We know that pro-Israel does not mean blindly supporting policies that are irrational, reckless, and counter-productive. Pro-Israel means supporting policies that are consistent with Israel's interests and promote its survival as a Jewish, democratic state.

You've heard the arguments of the religious and political right-wing, and so have we. They've had their say. Now, we'll have ours.

Go HERE for all installments of APN's "They Say, We Say"

Is Peace Possible?

They Say:

How can Israel be expected to negotiate with the Palestinians if the Palestinian leaders refuse to recognize Israel as Jewish state?

We Say:

The demand that the Palestinians not only recognize Israel - something they have done repeatedly, starting in 1993 - but that they recognize Israel as “a Jewish state,” or some similar wording, is relatively new. No such demand was made of Egypt or Jordan, nor was it mentioned in the Oslo agreement or subsequent Israeli-Palestinian documents. It made a brief appearance in the Annapolis talks of 2007, but only as a marginal issue. Only in 2009 did it truly come into play, courtesy of Benjamin Netanyahu. Netanyahu’s decision to introduce the issue into the Israeli-Palestinian negotiating dynamic seemed to be a cynical one. It seems to have been intended to hinder the negotiations rather than to advance them. Netanyahu was faced with a U.S. president determined to forge ahead with peace and a Palestinian president who embraced the two-state solution, rejected violence, and was actively cooperating to fight terrorism. This left Netanyahu scrambling for a pretext to argue that Israel had no Palestinian partner for peace, as cover for his own anti-peace, pro-settlement policies. Thus was born the “recognition-plus” demand, which today is accepted by many Israelis and supporters of Israel as a condition for any peace agreement, and even as a precondition for continuing to sit at the negotiating table with the Palestinians.

The Palestinians & the UN

“The decision of the Palestinians to take their case to the UN reflects, first and foremost, the loss of credibility of the current peace process and their understandable conviction that as things stand today, negotiations will never end the occupation or deliver statehood. Palestinian leaders, like leaders anywhere, need to address the concerns of their people and provide them a tangible path forward.  Their decision to take their case to the UN also reflects the recognition that the situation is nearing a tipping point - the point at which developments on the ground in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, in particular expansion of settlements and settlement-related infrastructure, will make the two-state solution unworkable.” (from APN Policy Statement, 7/28/11)

 

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APN resources on the Palestinians at the UN

1/27/15: APN Statement on Palestinians' International Criminal Court (ICC) Membership and Activity

Lara Friedman analysis/commentary 1/5/14: US Law & Abbas' Post-UNSC Moves - An Explainer

APN Press Release, 12/30/14: APN to Obama: Don't Block UNSC Resolution on Israeli-Palestinian Peace.

APN Press Release, 12/24/14: APN to Obama, Kerry: Now is the Time for UNSC Pro-Peace Resolution

APN's Lara Friedman, The Forward, 12/23/14: Stop Babying Israel at the U.N. Security Council.

Lara Friedman analysis/commentary 12/19/14: Calling Out Israeli Rejectionism at the UN.

APN Press Release, 12/15/14: APN to Obama Administration: Support Constructive Action at the UN Security Council to Promote Israeli-Palestinian Peace.

APN Legislative Round-Up: April 4, 2014: Item 2: Palestinians, the UN, and Congress

APN Press Release, 11/27/12: APN Calls on Obama Administration to Support Palestinian UN Initiative

Peace Now (Shalom Achshav), 11/27/12: Israel Should Welcome UN Vote on Palestinian Initiative

Lara Friedman, the Daily Beast/Open Zion, 11/14/12: Round Two At Turtle Bay

APN Legislative Round-Up 11/4/11: Item 3: UNESCO, UNESCO, UNESCO

Lara Friedman analysis/commentary 11/3/11: Hijacked by Legislative Anachronisms

APN Action Alert 11/3/11: Tell Congress to act rationally on UN and the Palestinians

Lara Friedman, Huffington Post, 10/28/11: UNESCO, Congress, U.S. Law, and the Palestinians: The Facts

APN Press Release, 9/23/11: UN Speeches Underscore Need for Leadership to End Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

APN Briefing Call, 9/14/11 (AUDIO): "Que Vadis Palestine"? With Ambassador Riyad Mansour, the Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations

APN Statement, 9/12/11: APN Statement on Looming Crisis at the UN and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

APN Policy Statement, 7/28/11: APN Principles on the Palestinians, International Recognition & the UN

Lara Friedman, ForeignPolicy.com, 7/19/11: No choice but the UN for Palestinians

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 We know that pro-Israel does not mean blindly supporting policies that are irrational, reckless, and counter-productive. Pro-Israel means supporting policies that are consistent with Israel's interests and promote its survival as a Jewish, democratic state.

You've heard the arguments of the religious and political right-wing, and so have we. They've had their say. Now, we'll have ours.

Go HERE for all installments of APN's "They Say, We Say"

Are settlements really a problem?

They Say:

Why shouldn’t Israel be able to build in settlement blocs? These are areas that everyone – including the Palestinians - knows Israel will keep in any future peace agreement? Opposing construction in the blocs transforms a non-issue into an excuse for Palestinian intransigence and for people to unfairly criticize Israel.

We Say:

Construction inside the settlement “blocs” isn’t a non-issue. When Israeli and Palestinian negotiators start talking seriously about settlements, they won’t be spending a lot of time debating the future of isolated settlements, because these settlements would unquestionably have to be removed under a peace agreement. The real negotiations, the very difficult ones, will actually be over the so-called “settlement blocs”: their size and contours, the way they will be connected to Israel, and the land swaps that will be used to offset them. This is why settlement expansion in these areas is equally if not more harmful to the two-state solution than construction in the isolated settlements.

Given the facts on the ground today, reaching agreement on these blocs will already be challenging. Expansion of these blocs – of the settlements in them and of the blocs themselves (both to include outlying settlements and to create new blocs, like the “Beit El bloc” that has recently been raised in pro-settlement talking points) – threatens to make the issue even harder, if not impossible, to resolve. And notably, the blocs – which are actually large land enclaves – include not only settlements but also large numbers of Palestinians in adjacent villages.

Israeli-Palestinian Mutual Recognition

“By now everyone has realized that there’s a new issue on the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations agenda that’s not going away: The demand that the Palestinians not only recognize Israel - something they have done repeatedly, starting in 1993 - but that they recognize Israel as "a Jewish state," or some similar wording. No such “recognition-plus” demand was made of Egypt or Jordan, nor was it mentioned in the Oslo agreement or subsequent Israeli-Palestinian documents. It made a brief appearance in the Annapolis talks of 2007, but only as a marginal issue. Only In 2009 did it truly come into play, courtesy of Benjamin Netanyahu...”

 

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APN resources:

Lara Friedman, Haaretz, March 31, 2014: What Israeli Palestinian mutual recognition really means

Lara Friedman, APN Blog, April 19, 2009: The Demand for "Recognition-Plus" -- Bibi's New Pretext for Not Pursuing Peace

 

Other recommended reading:

Yitzhak Lior, Haaretz+. March 30, 2014: Abbas, don’t recognize Israel as a Jewish state

Zvi Bar’el in Haaretz+, March 26, 2014: A Jewish nation-state is for Israelis with identity anxiety

Amos Schoken, Haaretz+ March 24, 2014: The visible rejectionism of Ari Shavit

Peter Beinart, Haaretz+ March 19, 2014: Before Abbas recognizes the Jewish state, Israel must define it

Hussein Ibish, Haaretz+, March 13, 2014: How many times must the Palestinians recognize Israel?

Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+ March 12, 2014: Israelis: Peace with Arab world more important than recognition as Jewish state

Donniel Hartman, Times of Israel, March 11, 2014: A Jewish state: It’s our problem, not theirs

Hussein Ibish, NOW, March 11, 2014: The real impact of Israel's "Jewish state" demand

Reuters, March 5, 2014: 'Jewish state' recognition adds new Israeli-Palestinian trip wire

Matt Duss, Think Progress, March 5, 2014: Is Palestinian Recognition Of Israel As A ‘Jewish State’ An Insurmountable Obstacle?

Yoav Hendel, YNet, Feb. 17, 2014: When will Israel recognize the Jewish state?

Efraim Halevy (former head of the Mossad), YNet, Feb, 26, 2014: Israel, beware 'Jewish statehood' trap

Haaretz January 22, 2014: Peres: Palestinian recognition of Jewish state 'unnecessary'

Brent Sasley, Haaretz+, January 15, 2014: Israel needs borders, not therapy

Jodi Rudoren, New York Times, January 2, 2014: Sticking Point in Peace Talks: Recognition of a Jewish State

Haviv Rettig Gur, Times of Israel, October 7, 2013: The nature of peacemaking according to Netanyahu

Times of Israel, October 6, 2013: Netanyahu blames Mideast conflict on refusal to recognize Jewish state

Tal Becker, WINEP brief, February 2011: The Claim for Recognition of Israel as a Jewish State: A Reassessment

Hussein Ibish, Foreign Policy, May 25, 2011: Should the Palestinians Recognize Israel as a Jewish State?

The Geneva Accord, October, 2003: “Affirming that this agreement marks the recognition of the right of the Jewish people to statehood and the recognition of the right of the Palestinian people to statehood, without prejudice to the equal rights of the Parties' respective citizens”

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