The Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics today published data on construction starts in Israel and the West Bank, indicating that in the second quarter of 2018, 794 new apartments were built in the settlements, compared with only 279 in the first quarter. In the first half of 2018, construction began on 1,073 settlement housing units, compared to 870 in the first half of 2017. Peace Now: The Netanyahu government continues to destroy the chances for peace. Further construction in the settlements undermines Israel's interest in reaching a two-state solution, as such a solution will not be stable without a viable Palestinian state, which settlements increasingly threaten. Unfortunately, since Trump's election, we have seen a sharp increase in the approval of the plans and tenders, and now we are beginning to see the consequences of these approvals on the ground.
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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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APN to Trump: Stop Wrecking Prospects for Israeli-Palestinian Peace

The Trump administration's latest measures against the Palestinians and their leadership are an attack on prospects for Israeli-Palestinian peace. They are not only anti-Palestinian, but also anti-Israel and anti-peace. They do not serve America's national security interests – or Israel's.

The Trump administration's attack on Israel's Palestinian partner for peace negotiations, the Palestine Liberation Organization, is an attack on the framework for peace that the Israeli and Palestinian leaderships have created in the past quarter century. This framework was sustained with the blessing of the international community and the active support of past US administrations, Democratic and Republican, even under right-wing Israeli governments. This framework envisioned a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, living side-by-side with Israel in peace and security.

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There are no adults in the room, anonymous or not, diligently frustrating Trump's cruel, disastrous Mideast policy, only arsonists - Jared Kushner, Jason Greenblatt and David Friedman - dousing the house with kerosene

New revelations in recent days from inside the White House provide yet more evidence of the disaster unfolding at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

One of the most astonishing stories told in Bob Woodward’s new book, "Fear," is that of President Donald Trump’s senior economic adviser Gary Cohn, who reportedly swiped a letter from Trump’s desk which - had the president signed it - would have withdrawn the U.S. from a trade agreement with South Korea. (According to Cohn, Trump never realized it was missing.)

More amazing still is the complementary claim by an anonymous senior Trump administration official that s/he and many others are "working diligently from within to frustrate parts of [Trump’s] agenda and his worst inclinations."

Such subversion of presidential authority is certainly problematic. But given an amoral president with a fifth- or sixth-grader's understanding  of world affairs (as Defense Secretary James Mattis is said to have described Donald Trump), one can be forgiven for wishing for adults in the room.

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Debra DeLee - A Career Worth Honoring

Honoring Debra DeLee for 21 Years with Americans for Peace Now
COME CELEBRATE WITH DEBRA!

Please join us on October 24, 2018 at 6 pm at the Decatur House
748 Jackson Place NW, Washington, DC 20006
as we celebrate the extraordinary career of our good friend
Debra DeLee
Please RSVP by September 15, 2018


WOULD LIKE TO HONOR DEBRA with a Tribute ad.
Tributes will be projected at the event and included in a commemorative book for Debra

 

THE SARA FUND

Debra has requested that donations be made in honor of  her friend and long time APN board member Sara Ehrman (ZTz"L):

Click on the image above to donate to The Sara Fund

Debra DeLee's 21 Years at APN

Throughout her professional life, Debra DeLee has been working to secure a better future for others. She started her career as a fourth-grade teacher in the 1970s, dedicated to her students and the imperative of quality public education. Working her way through the ranks of the National Education Association (NEA), DeLee became the NEA's Political Director and chief lobbyist in Washington. As NEA Director of Government Relations and Director of its political action committee she worked to ensure fair working conditions for teachers and quality public education for students. Prior to joining Americans for Peace Now in April 1997, DeLee was selected by President Clinton to serve as Chief Executive Officer of the 1996 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, which she designed, developed, and managed for the president. Preceding the convention, DeLee served as Executive Director and Vice Chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), and in 1994 was appointed DNC Chair. As the President and CEO of Americans for Peace Now for over 21 years, DeLee has worked tirelessly to promote American support for peace in the Middle East and support for the Israeli peace movement — Shalom Achshav — working to secure a better future for Israel and her neighbors.

Peace Now Sunday meeting with Abbas


Peace Now Director Shaqued Morag sitting with PA President Mahmoud Abbas
On Sunday, Peace Now organized an Israeli delegation to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah. The delegation brought activists, senior Peace Now staff, and MKs Ksenia Svetlova (Zionist Union) and Mossi Raz (Meretz). 

We sought to make a statement that constructive dialogue with the Palestinians is possible and needed. That statement was echoed loud and clear, as the Palestinian leader took the opportunity with Peace Now not just to repeat his ardent support for the two-state solution, but also to divulge details for the first time on his meetings senior U.S. officials Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt.
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During a recent Shabbat, I had a memory flash. Reading the haftorah, Amos 9, I remembered something that happened 70 years ago. I was 13, in middle school, in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. We started every morning with the Pledge of Allegiance and then the Lord’s Prayer (my parents told me to stand silently). Then one of the students would read a few lines from the Bible. Sometime in the spring of 1948, I chose a few lines from Amos 9:

And I will bring again the captivity of my people Israel,
and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them;
and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; and
they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which
I have given them, saith the Lord thy God.

I didn’t believe all this would be God’s doing, but I did believe it was being done by the Jews of the Yishuv, and I was incredibly proud. It was, it still is, their project, but it is also our project, and it isn’t finished. Not by a long shot.

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My last week and our New Year's letter to you

Debra and JimI’ll make it quick – I would rather have you read the letter below – but I do have news for you, both bad and good.

The bad news: our beloved CEO Debra DeLee has retired from APN after 21 years.

The good news: APN will remain a vibrant important player working for you as a preeminent voice for a two-state solution. And APN will continue speaking the truth in the New Year – as is our hallmark.

We will miss Debra dearly – she’s truly one of a kind. You can tell this by just reading her letter below. But we must move on and persevere, and grassroots donations from supporters like you are the foundation of our existence and efforts.

To honor Debra and APN, I am offering to double your donation of up to $25,000 until the end of this month. It is with your help that our truths will continue to be heard.

Shanah tovah,

Jim Klutznick
Chair, APN Board of Directors

 


 

A version of this essay also appeared in The Forward on August 29, 2018

By the time you receive this letter, I will have stepped down from my position as President and CEO of Americans for Peace Now (APN), after serving in this capacity for 21 years. However, I’m writing this with six weeks left in my tenure at APN, and I’m anxious to share my thoughts and feelings with you, this being the last time I will have this forum through which to speak to you.

I was hoping to put into words the many feelings I’m experiencing at this time:

Gratitude: for having the honor to serve the dedicated and supportive APN Board, my talented APN colleagues and you, our generous and committed supporters.

Pride: in the important work that APN does both here and in the Middle East.

Awe: at our colleagues in Shalom Achshav (Peace Now, the Israeli peace movement) — many of them among the signers of the original officers’ letter establishing the organization in 1978 — who work tirelessly for a future that their children, grandchildren and those of their Palestinian neighbors deserve.

Excitement: about new possibilities ahead.

But, sadly, I am also feeling rage. The targets of my rage are those who know right from wrong, yet have chosen wrong for personal or political expedience.

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Escalation in Violence Targeting Palestinians, Israeli-Arabs and Israeli Peace Activists

Ten Israelis – five Arab citizens and five Jewish peace activists – were victims of hate crimes over the weekend. All ten were hospitalized with cuts, lacerations, fractures, and other injuries of various severity after being attacked by Israeli Jews.

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Americans for Peace Now (APN) condemns the decision by the Trump administration to slash $200 million in aid appropriated by Congress for humanitarian projects in the West Bank and Gaza. According to a leaked report, this action will shortly be followed by a Trump administration announcement that it will cut support for programs of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in the West Bank, ask Israel to consider restricting UNRWA's activities there, and dramatically reduce the number of Palestinians the United States recognizes as refugees.

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