This week, Alpher discusses new policy departures, including in the Palestinian sphere, that Netanyahu has justified by citing events in Iraq that affect Israel (see also last week's Hard Questions, Tough Answers); Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman's new "peace initiative," whereby a solution to the Palestinian issue would be part and parcel of broader Israel-Arab peace arrangements; Netanyahu's support for an independent Kurdistan, which contradicts US policy; and the continuing West Bank kidnap drama.
Israeli strategic affairs expert, Brigadier General (Ret.) Shlomo Brom, is a senior researcher at the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) in Tel Aviv, Israel's leading national security think tank. He is also one of the leaders of the Council on Peace and Security, an organization that brings together hundreds of high-ranking members from Israel's security and diplomacy establishments to support a viable and sustainable peaceful resolution to the conflict in the Middle East as a necessary step towards ensuring Israel's security and social resilience and maintaining its democratic foundation in the long-term.
In 2011, Brom authored a short report for the Council on future defensible borders between Israel and the state of Palestine in the context of an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement. The report concludes that the 1967 lines, with reasonable land swaps, would be defensible borders between Israel and the West Bank portion of the future state of Palestine. We asked Brig. Gen. Brom, the former top strategic planner of the IDF, to explain why.
by Hamze Awawdeh, APN Summer Intern
On the eve of the holy month of Ramadan this year, excitement, spirituality and happiness are conflicting with fear, sadness and desperation over last week’s incidents in the West Bank: the kidnapping of the three Israeli teenagers and the killing of five young Palestinians.
For me, however, this year’s Ramadan experience is very special. I am spending this month in Washington DC, far from my family in the West Bank town of Doura, near Hebron, and far from the quick escalation on the ground. Moreover, I am working for Americans for Peace Now, the Jewish pro-Israel, pro-peace organization that is lobbying for a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on a two-state solution.
On the second week of APN's Reclaiming Israel's Future campaign, Jerusalem expert Danny Seidemann was our guest on a briefing call. He discusses the latest developments on the ground in East Jerusalem, examines the situation on the ground 47 years after the Six Day War, and addresses the future of Jerusalem.
Following the decision by the Presbyterian Church (USA) to divest from three U.S. companies whose products, they argue, are used to support Israeli occupation, Americans for Peace Now today issued the following statement:
“Last Friday’s decision of the Presbyterian Church of the United States to divest from three major U.S. companies should serve as a resounding warning for the Israeli government. Increasingly large segments of American society - including ones that care deeply about Israel’s future and invest in it – are losing patience with the nearly five decades-long occupation and with the Israeli government’s refusal to act seriously to bring it to an end. Pressure for decisions like the one taken by PC (USA) is growing, supported by Americans who are neither anti-Israel nor anti-Semitic. It is gaining traction as a direct consequence of Israeli policies that are deepening the occupation to the point of potential irreversibility in the near term, in tandem with the apparent inability or unwillingness of governments around the world to in any meaningful way challenge these policies.
This week, Alpher discusses the West Bank hostage drama, the Israeli response, and how it's affecting Netanyahu, Abbas, and other key figures. Also discussed is the recent flare up in the Golan and how the Sunni-Shiite conflict in Iraq impacts Israel's immediate interests.
by APN's Summer Intern, Hannah Ehlers
This week’s Torah portion (Korach, Numbers 16:1-18:32) concerns the dangers of complacency and the unfairness of acting at the expense of others, matters relevant to events in Israel today. Korach leads a rebellion against Moses and Aaron. 250 followers join Korach to challenge the leadership of Moses and Aaron, demanding priesthood in addition to the “service of the tabernacle of God” (Numbers 16:9) to which they, as Levites, are already assigned. These actions by Korach and his cohorts, and the lack of opposition by the greater community, ultimately result in immense suffering—the earth swallows Korach and his men and a deadly plague spreads through the Israelite community.
God initially sought to destroy the entire community as punishment for Korach and his followers’ sins. But Moses and Aaron pleaded for fairness: “O God, Source of the spirit of all flesh! When one man sins, will You be wrathful with the whole community?” (Numbers 16:22). God relented and instructed the prophets to tell the Israelites to “depart… from the tents of these wicked men, and touch nothing of theirs, lest you be swept away in all their sins” (Numbers 16:26). Besides the 250 men with Korach, the rest of the community is largely uninvolved in the conflict between the rebels and the prophets. God views the community’s indifference as betrayal and demands that they act.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is getting a raw deal. That’s the line being peddled by Elliot Abrams, who has emerged in recent months as one of the staunchest U.S. defenders of Netanyahu’s settlement policy. Rather than bury Netanyahu with criticism for expanding settlements, Abrams argue, the world should praise him for his unrecognized settlement restraint. The facts, Abrams insists, tell the story – facts that Abrams cherry-picks and spins to build a case that is pure fiction.
The following article by Peace Now's Secretary General Yariv Oppenheimer, headlined The Bloody Shrapnel, was published in today's edition of the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth:
We had good reason to keep our fingers crossed during the negotiations in hope of a breakthrough; we had good reason to pull our hair out when the minister of housing kept issuing tenders for settlement construction; we had good reason to be angry when we saw the footage of the unjustified shooting in Bituniya; we had good reason to become angrier when the government ignored the Palestinian prisoners' hunger strike. It was obvious that the despair, the hate, the hostility and the anger on the Palestinian side would find their way out.
We knew that time is not on our side, and that this was a matter of crucial decisions and human lives. Seven years of quiet, in which we could have improved our relations with the Palestinians and achieved a peace agreement, had been wasted.