Thoughts From APN's 2024 Trip

By Hadar Susskind and Ori Nir

Yesterday, we wrapped up APN’s ten-day 2024 Israel-Palestine tour. We met with Israelis and Palestinians – politicians, civil society activists, families of  hostages and experts. We were at Kibbutz Be’eri in the south and at Um El-Fahem the north. We saw East and West Jerusalem, as well as Tel Aviv and Haifa.

We visited a country whose citizens (and residents) are struggling with immense trauma, pain, and sadness. We listened with empathy to everyone we saw, even when it was extremely difficult. It was a full program, all of the participants who took notes are running out of pages in their notebooks. Interestingly, perhaps the most compelling moments were the unscripted ones, those that suddenly emerged to surprise us. One such moment took place during our settlement watch tour with our colleagues from Shalom Achshav. When trying to enter a road near the West Bank settlement of Shiloh, two guards at the gate-- both settlers who were drafted for reserve IDF service-- told us in very blunt terms that Arabs are not allowed in. As we had two Palestinians on the bus (our driver, who is a Jerusalem
resident, and our guide, who is an Israeli citizen), we were denied entry.

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APN Applauds Biden Administration’s Sanctions on Extremist Settlement Outposts

Americans for Peace Now (APN) welcomes the news that the Biden administration has announced a second round of sanctions under the President's executive order to address extremist settler violence. This new tranche of sanctions targets outposts in addition to individuals. As such, it represents a significant step in the effort to address ongoing settler violence.

By targeting outposts rather than solely focusing on individuals, the United States is sending a powerful message that it will not tolerate logistical or financial support for settlers’ attacks against Palestinian civilians.

Americans for Peace Now’s President and CEO, Hadar Susskind said: “For too long, illegal outposts have served as launchpads for settler violence. These actions, including freezing assets and imposing visa bans, demonstrate the United States’ firm commitment to curbing settler violence.”

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Legislative Round-Up- March 8, 2024

Produced by the Foundation for Middle East Peace. Views and positions expressed here are those of the writer, and do not necessarily represent APN's views and policy positions.

1. Bills, Resolutions
2. Letters
3. Hearings & Markups
4. Selected Media & Press releases/Statements

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Biden, Bibi, and the ‘Day After’ in Gaza (Hard Questions, Tough Answers- March 11, 2024)

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Yossi Alpher is an independent security analyst. He is the former director of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University, a former senior official with the Mossad, and a former IDF intelligence officer. Views and positions expressed here are those of the writer, and do not necessarily represent APN's views and policy positions.

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Statement- Americans for Peace Now Welcomes Temporary Gaza Seaport

Americans for Peace Now welcomes President Biden’s State of the Union announcement that the US will build a temporary seaport outside the Gaza Strip to facilitate the delivery of emergency humanitarian aid.

While welcoming the dramatic move, APN also urges the Biden administration to pressure Prime Minister Netanyahu to immediately allow vastly greater aid deliveries through the ground crossings between Israel and Gaza.

While humanitarian aid is essential to save lives now, ultimately, there is only one way to end this crisis. The war must come to an end.

APN’s President and CEO Hadar Susskind said: “As I sit in Jerusalem having met this week with Israeli political leaders, kibbutz members from the Gaza envelope, families of hostages, American diplomats and Palestinian leaders, it is overwhelmingly clear that there is only one way out of this crisis. Return the hostages. Send aid to Gaza. End the war, and begin once again traveling down the long road to peace.” 

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Legislative Round-Up- March 1, 2024

Produced by the Foundation for Middle East Peace. Views and positions expressed here are those of the writer, and do not necessarily represent APN's views and policy positions.

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On Tour with APN

Today is the first day of Americans for Peace Now’s 2024 tour to Israel and the West Bank, an exciting day for APN -- and for me personally. 

It is a special day for me because this year’s tour comes with an especially heavy sense of responsibility and anxiety. It is also special because this will be my last APN tour before my retirement, less than a month from now.

I have been organizing APN’s tours to Israel and the West Bank for almost fifteen years. Conceptualizing and planning them have always required a great deal of thought. Executing them involves creativity and flexibility, occasional frustration, but also tremendous gratification. It’s one thing to tell people about Israel and its conflict with the Palestinians. It’s another thing to show it to participants and witness “aha moments” as they visit the region and talk with Israelis and Palestinians.   

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APN Mailing- February/March 2024

Action Alert- Prevent the Violation of International Humanitarian Law in Rafah

Earlier this month, President Biden issued a landmark National Security Memorandum (NSM -20) requiring that all countries receiving US security assistance provide the US with credible and reliable written assurances that they will comply with international humanitarian law and other applicable international law prior to receiving US assistance. Now, as Israel is preparing to invade Rafah, the United States must ensure that the consequences of violating the principles set out in NSM-20 are clear and enforced.

Rafah has served as the least dangerous place of refuge in Gaza for the over one million displaced Palestinians seeking a modicum of safety. Conditions in northern and central Gaza are dire, leaving refugees with no other viable alternatives for shelter and safety.

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Reps. Castro, Raskin, Schakowsky's Letter to President Biden

Dear President Biden,

We write to express our deep sense of urgency and alarm about the potentially devastating consequences to innocent civilians of an Israeli military ground invasion of Rafah. We share the position highlighted by US Ambassador to the UN Thomas-Greenfield that “no attacks on Rafah should take place, given current circumstances.” An extensive Israeli offensive in Rafah would further deteriorate the already dreadful conditions for civilians, more than half of whom are on the brink of famine, as well as risk the lives of the 130 Israeli and American hostages still held in Gaza by exposing them to the threat of aerial bombardments and derailing a negotiated agreement that could lead to their release.

As the north of Gaza has become increasingly dangerous for civilians, Rafah has served as the least dangerous place of refuge in Gaza for the over one million displaced Palestinians seeking safety from this brutal conflict. Conditions in northern and central Gaza are dire, leaving refugees with no other viable alternatives for shelter and safety.

We are deeply concerned that any further expansion into Rafah will compound the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza. The densely populated nature of the city and the presence of a huge number of displaced Palestinians raise profound concerns about potential civilian casualties and the ability of nongovernmental organizations to successfully deliver vital humanitarian aid.

Our foreign policy must seek to uphold the inherent safety, dignity and worth of every individual even in the midst of horrific violence. A steadfast commitment to U.S. and international law, with a central focus on safeguarding civilian life, must remain a guiding principle in the provision of U.S. assistance to aid recipients.

In alignment with this commitment, we express our gratitude for your recent National Security Memorandum 20 (NSM-20) on Safeguards and Accountability with Respect to Transferred Defense Articles and Defense Services. This memorandum represents a significant step towards ensuring that military operations supported by U.S. tax dollars strictly adhere to both American and international humanitarian law. The inclusion of measures designed to minimize civilian casualties underscores our dedication to promoting lawful and responsible conduct in all security endeavors funded by the United States.

 However, we wish to highlight that further expansion into Rafah would likely contravene the principles set forth in NSM-20. The memorandum emphasizes the importance of credible assurances from recipient countries that they will use U.S. weapons in adherence with international humanitarian law. While we continue to urge Israel to avoid an expanded operation in Rafah, we share your obvious concern about the absence of a credible plan for the safety and support of the more than one million civilians sheltering in Rafah. Prime Minister Netanyahu has reportedly presented an evacuation plan to his security cabinet, but we remain concerned by an apparent lack of U.S. and international consultation, participation, and involvement in these plans. Calls from members of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s government for illegal policies such as the expulsion and transfer of civilians to destinations outside the Gaza Strip demand careful attention to make sure that any evacuation plan is consistent with the principles set forth in NSM-20. As contemplated by the Administration’s policy, a ground invasion that runs counter to the specific principles outlined in NSM-20 should not be supported by U.S. taxpayer-funded assistance.

We urge you to use every tool at your disposal to ensure that the norms of American and international law are observed throughout this conflict and that all recipients of U.S. aid are held accountable to the commitments demanded by NSM-20. Peace is an urgent moral and political imperative, and strict adherence to international humanitarian law will help guide us on the road to peace.

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Rep. Joaquin Castro    

Rep. Jamie Raskin

Rep. Jan Schakowsky

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