Legislative Round-Up- February 16, 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. Massive Supplemental Aid for Israel Takes Center Stage
4. Hearings & Markups
5. Selected Media & Press releases/Statements

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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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Americans for Peace Now Strongly Condemns Recent Demolitions in Al-Walaja

Americans for Peace Now (APN) strongly condemns the recent demolitions in the Palestinian village of al Walaja, near Jerusalem, where three homes were destroyed today, following the demolition of two homes last week.

The demolitions follow repeated failure by Israeli authorities to fulfill their responsibility to prepare a master plan for al-Walaja, which would allow residents to legally live and build in their village. Additionally, the government has refused to accept a master plan that the residents of Walaja paid for and prepared with a professional planner. In fact, Israeli authorities seem committed to blocking growth at al-Walaja and demolishing existing structures because of a planned road that will serve adjacent settlements.

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2023 saw a significant surge in West Bank settler violence with the highest recorded number of incidents to date. President Biden's recently announced executive order is designed to address the escalating crisis. The first use of the executive order focused on Israeli settlers in the West Bank accused of perpetrating attacks against Palestinians and Israeli peace activists within the occupied territory. It did so by imposing financial sanctions and visa bans on four individuals. But is constructed in a way that it can have broader-reaching implications on the settlement enterprise.

This webinar will feature insights from Joel Braunold, Managing Director at S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace, and Lior Amichai, Executive Director of Peace Now. The speakers, in conversation with APN's Government Relations Director Madeleine Cereghino, will delve into the intricacies of President Biden's executive order, assessing its potential impact on mitigating extremist settlers and potentially undercutting the settlement enterprise as a whole.

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BREAKING NEWS- Americans for Peace Now and Ameinu to Merge

Progressive Jewish Groups Join Forces for Peace, Democracy and Justice

Building on the proud legacy of decades pursuing peace and justice, Ameinu and Americans for Peace Now are delighted to announce their full merger.

The new organization will proudly carry forward and build upon our combined histories, as we expand to be even more effective in serving our mission and constituencies.

“This merger unites two progressive organizations in our passionate pursuit of peace, security, social justice, equality, and democracy at a critical time for Israel, the Palestinians and the United States," said Jim Klutznick, Chair of the APN’s Board of Directors. "APN’s leadership, board, and staff are excited about this opportunity to build greater capacity and increase our impact.”

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Legislative Round-Up- February 9, 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. Massive Supplemental Aid for Israel Takes Center Stage
4. Hearings & Markups
5. Selected Media & Press releases/Statements

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Reinvigorating the Two-State Vision Could Start Reversing Anti-Peace Attitudes  

by Ori Nir

There have always been two kinds of barriers to Israeli-Palestinian peace. One set of obstacles was the so-called final status issues, the matters that Israeli and Palestinian representatives attempted to iron out around the negotiating table. These are questions such as borders, settlements, Jerusalem, and refugees.

The other set of impediments is public attitudes: the emotional, psychological, and ideological perspectives of the Israeli and Palestinian publics, which often block the way to the negotiating table and thwart negotiations. 

Ever since the Israeli-Palestinian peace process stalled and then came to a complete halt under Benjamin Netanyahu, negative attitudes mushroomed. They typically do when there is no political horizon. 

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Americans for Peace Now (APN) welcomes last night’s announcement of the memorandum titled "Safeguards and Accountability With Respect to Transferred Defense Articles and Defense Services," issued by President Biden and modeled on Senator Chris Van Hollen’s recent amendment to the foreign assistance supplemental bill. APN commends President Biden and Senator Van Hollen for their commitment to oversight and transparency in the utilization of US security assistance.

This memorandum is an important step towards ensuring that US security assistance aligns with international law, including humanitarian principles. The memorandum requires recipient countries to provide credible and reliable assurances that they will adhere to international humanitarian law and facilitate US humanitarian assistance in areas of conflict in advance of receiving US assistance.

Hadar Susskind, APN’s President and CEO said: "We have long called for transparency and accountability measures to ensure Israel’s use of US military assistance aligns with existing US and international laws. This memorandum signifies an important step towards oversight and responsible use of US assistance.”

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Statement- Americans for Peace Now Calls for Accountability and Oversight in Foreign Aid

As the Senate considers legislation that would send supplemental assistance to Israel, Americans for Peace Now (APN) calls on legislators to ensure that all recipients of US foreign assistance adhere to established US and international human rights laws by adopting the amendment put forth by Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Dick Durbin, (D-IL), Tim Kaine (D-VA), and Brian Schatz (D-HI).

We call on the Senate to adopt this important amendment to implement key guardrails on US security assistance to Israel, ensuring that military operations supported by US tax dollars comply with American and international humanitarian law, with measures to minimize civilian casualties.

APN’s President and CEO Hadar Susskind said: “US foreign aid must not be used in ways that violate human rights laws. This amendment reflects a commitment to accountability, transparency, and the responsible use of American resources. I urge Congress to ensure that taxpayer dollars allocated for security assistance are used responsibly and in accordance with established legal frameworks.”

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Statement- APN Calls on Congress to Ensure US Assistance Reflects US Values and Laws

As both chambers of Congress consider legislation that would send supplemental assistance to Israel, Americans for Peace Now (APN) calls on legislators to ensure that these bills reflect US values and existing laws by providing vital humanitarian assistance to address the growing crisis in Gaza. Congress must also ensure that all recipients of US foreign assistance adhere to established US and international human rights laws.

Israel faces a war on two fronts, and the foreign military assistance outlined in the President’s supplemental funding request would continue to provide resources during this volatile time.

However, there is a pressing need for accountability regarding Israel's use of US-provided equipment. Adherence to both US and international laws, as well as the protection of civilians, must be a guiding principle of US assistance to all aid recipients. We call on Congress to implement key guardrails on US security assistance to Israel, ensuring that military operations supported by US tax dollars comply with American and international humanitarian law, with measures to minimize civilian casualties.

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