Today Americans for Peace Now joined its Israeli sister organization, Shalom Achshav (Peace Now), in condemning the Israeli government’s announced plan to establish a new West Bank settlement in the Shiloh Valley (full details on the announcement are here).
In 2015, a campaign began in Congress (as well as at the state level) to hijack concerns about BDS against Israel in order to pass legislation giving unprecedented legitimacy and recognition to Israeli settlements by, in effect, making it U.S. policy to treat them as part of Israel. These efforts continue through the present day.
This table -- which
will be updated regularly -- is intended to help people understand and follow what is happening in
APN rejects this cynical effort to exploit concerns about BDS in order to erase the distinction between Israel and the occupied territories.
[Originally published August 12, 2011, in the context of the Supreme Court's consideration of a case challenging longstanding U.S. policy in Jerusalem (the Supreme Court ultimately ruled in favor of the Obama Administration and - by extension - every U.S. administration that preceded it. -Archived version is here]
The United States does not recognize the sovereignty of any party in any part of Jerusalem (East or West). This is not a new policy imposed by the Obama Administration, as some seem to believe or want others to believe. It is a policy that dates back to pre-1948, and has been followed by every U.S. Administration since, regardless of the President or party in the White House. Across this entire period, the policy has applied equally to Israeli, Jordanian, and Palestinian claims in the city. What follows are representative examples across this entire period illustrating the consistency of this policy.
Back in April 2016, the New York Times published an oped I authored regarding President Obama and the United Nations Security Council. The genesis of that oped was the assertion - made repeatedly by policy experts and pundits, by journalists, by Jewish leaders, by members of Congress, etc - that no U.S. president has ever gone against Israel in the UN Security Council.
The policies and actions of the current Israeli government are actively fanning the flames of violence, further entrenching and expanding occupation, and killing the two-state solution. Some of the most recent and ongoing outrages are:
Expanding the settlers' hold in Hebron: The Israeli government is in the process of establishing – by stealth –the first new settlement complex (28 units, providing housing for some 100 settlers, or a 10% increase in the settler population in the area) in Hebron in more than a decade. It is doing so by taking properties seized years ago by the Israeli government for military use and handing them over to the settlers. This action directly contravenes Israeli law, which prohibits seizing lands for military needs and then using them for the purpose of settlements. It also contradicts the principle of distinction between civilians and combatants, and constitutes a clear violation of International Humanitarian Law. In addition, allocating these properties to the settlers based on the argument that they belonged to Jews before 1948 in essence constitutes implementation of a “right of return” for Jews, at the expense of protected Palestinians tenants – even as Palestinians are denied any parallel “right of return” to properties they left or were expelled from before 1948. Click here to learn more about this new Hebron development and to find out how you can take action.
Congress returned this week from its summer recess – coming back for a very brief session before it goes back into recess for the final period before November elections. Surprising no one, GOP leaders returned to Washington eager to score points against the Obama Administration over its Iran policy – immediately introducing 6 pieces of Iran-focused legislation (all 100% partisan), on top of a whopping 14 GOP letters sent to the Obama Administration from GOP House and Senate members (over the recess and this week) demanding answers to long and leading lists of questions about Iran-related matters
In addition, this week opened with a faux-anti-BDS event on Capitol Hill – “faux” because, consistent with the trend in Congress for more than a year, the real goal of the event was to legitimize settlements. As noted in Israel Hayom (the paper owned by Sheldon Adelson and viewed as so close to Netanyahu that it is nicknamed, “Bibiton”), the event was instigated by the Shomron Regional Council – the municipal body of settlements in the northern part of the West Bank – and featured settler leader Yossi Dagan. The opening paragraph of the article makes crystal clear the intent of the event: “U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday hosted a unique conference to support the Judea and Samaria settlement enterprise and denounce anti-Israel incitement and the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement's activities on American university campuses.” Also see: A7: Samarian Council takes fight against BDS to Washington (with video); Ynet: Head of Samaria Regional Council speaks at congressional BDS conference; and JPost: Republican Congressmen: BDS akin to 1930s anti-Semitism.
In 2009, Israel arrested the head of the northern branch of Israel’s Islamic Movement for incitement, for saying that Israel “seeks to build a synagogue on Al-Aqsa Mosque.” Since then – and especially over the past two years, as unrest has rocked Jerusalem – Netanyahu has regularly argued that Palestinian Authority incitement over the Temple Mount is a chief cause of violence, and has called Palestinian officials’ statements about Israel’s intentions on the Temple Mount “gross lies.”
Earlier this month, on August 14-15, Jews observed the fast day of Tisha B’Av, commemorating various catastrophes that have befallen the Jewish people, including the destruction of the first and second temples. Israel’s Deputy Defense Minister, Eli Ben-Dahan, marked this solemn occasion by telling a crowd gathered for a march around the Old City: “We aren’t embarrassed to say it: We want to rebuild the Temple on the Temple Mount.”
[Originally posted on June 25, 2009, on an earlier version of the APN website)
On May 23, 2005, the Washington Post ran a an incisive op-ed by former State Department negotiator and Middle East advisor Aaron Miller, entitled “Israel’s Lawyer,” in which Aaron argued “For far too long, many American officials involved in Arab-Israeli peacemaking, myself included, have acted as Israel’s attorney…” I was reminded of that article when I read today’s piece by Elliott Abrams in the Wall Street Journal, which should, I believe, have been entitled “The West Bank Settlers’ Lawyer.”