APN Statement on Jerusalem and Gaza Escalation

As violence in Jerusalem triggers hostilities across Israel’s border with the Gaza Strip, Americans for Peace Now (APN) urges all the parties and stakeholders to take action to prevent further bloodshed and to stop the escalation toward war.

The steep escalation of the past weeks requires responsible leadership in the short term, and underscores the need for renewed US-led Israeli-Palestinian diplomatic engagement to end the occupation and advance peace efforts. Recent developments again demonstrate that the current situation is not viable and requires immediate attention.
The Biden Administration may not have wanted to prioritize Israel/Palestine. They may have hoped to maintain the status quo. But the status quo is no more, and looking away does not make this crisis go away.

APN strongly condemns the rocket attacks on Israel, targeting Israeli civilians and pushing Israelis and Palestinians further toward war. These actions are deplorable.

But Hamas’ and Islamic Jihad’s terrorism does not excuse Israeli authorities of their responsibility in escalating the crisis, nor from the need to deescalate.

The Israeli government has encouraged settlers’ efforts to displace Palestinians in East Jerusalem, has failed to contain extremist right-wing actions in Jerusalem, and has unleashed disproportionately brutal police practices against Palestinians, including worshippers at al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site of Islam.

APN's President and CEO Hadar Susskind said: "While we welcome today’s decision to cancel the provocative Jerusalem Day 'Flag March,' it should have been taken long ago, not at the very last moment. Jerusalem Day has been used by ultra-nationalist Jewish settlers and their allies as an excuse to intimidate and often physically attack Palestinians. Israel’s authorities should have long ago disallowed the brutal March of Flags inside the walls of the Old City, during which thousands of young Jews flood its picturesque alleys, wave Israeli flags, shout demeaning anti-Palestinian and anti-Muslim slogans and sing hateful songs, intent on asserting Jewish supremacy. We hope that this provocative march will be canceled in future Jerusalem Days.

"We have long held, and current events sadly reaffirm, that what happens in Jerusalem does not stay in Jerusalem. Violence on the Temple Mount, in Sheikh Jarrah, Silwan and Damascus Gate is spilling over, with not only local but regional ramifications."

More than anything, current developments yet again demonstrate how destructive, unjust and unviable Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem is. Israel, the Palestinians, and all stakeholders must follow up de-escalation measures with concerted, intense effort to end the occupation and advance diplomacy aimed at a peace agreement.
APN applauds our Israeli sister organization, Shalom Achshav (Peace Now) for organizing today’s very different Jerusalem Day event at the Knesset. Earlier today, our Shalom Achshav colleagues organized a public conference at the Knesset in collaboration with MKs from Israel’s Labor and Meretz parties, under the title “Jerusalem For Us All,” aimed at educating Israeli legislators on the way in which Jewish settler organizations are systematically dispossessing Palestinian in East Jerusalem. Peace Now’s activists were joined by Palestinian residents of Silwan and Sheikh Jarrah – the very people who are being uprooted and displaced by this encroachment and whose voices are almost never heard in the halls of the Knesset.