Legislative Round-Up- April 12, 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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Out of the Shadows: War with Iran (Hard Questions, Tough Answers- April 15, 2024)


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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Webinar- Iran and Israel: What Happened and What Comes Next with Barbara Slavin

Yesterday (April 13), Iran fired hundreds of drones and missiles in a direct assault on Israel. To discuss how tensions between Israel and Iran reached this point, what happened, and the possibilities going forward, we will speak with noted Iran expert Barbara Slavin in a special APN webinar tomorrow, April 15, at 3:00 pm Eastern Time.

Barbara Slavin is a distinguished fellow at the Stimson Center in Washington, D.C. and a lecturer in international affairs at George Washington University. The author of Bitter Friends, Bosom Enemies: Iran, the US and the Twisted Path to Confrontation, and Mullahs, Money and Militias: How Iran Exerts Its Influence in the Middle East, she is a regular commentator on US foreign policy and Iran on NPR, PBS, and C-Span.

This webinar will take place on April 15th at 3:00 pm Eastern Time. 

Register HERE.

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Recording- Getting Aid Into Gaza: With SmartAid’s Shachar Zahavi

Over the last few weeks, the subject of humanitarian aid has dominated conversations about the Gaza War. Headlines depict aid trucks being stopped or blocked altogether from entering Gaza and global experts warning that Gaza is on the verge of famine with Northern Gaza likely already experiencing famine. Some individuals and organizations are still managing to offer food and support, providing some measure of relief. To discuss the situation on the ground and the logistics of providing aid, we spoke with Shachar Zahavi, the founder of SmartAid: an international aid agency that leverages technologies to enhance humanitarian efforts worldwide. 

In addition to his role at SmartAid, Shachar Zahavi was the founder and Chairperson at IsraAID, where he served as Executive Director for 16 years. There, he spearheaded the organization's global strategy, overseeing its expansion and operations in over 50 countries for both disaster relief and long-term sustainable programs. Shachar is also credited with co-authoring in-depth research on Israel's foreign aid and its impact in the context of foreign government relationships.

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Action Alert- Is Israel In Compliance with US Aid Law?

At the end of March, the United States made the preliminary determination that the IDF’s conduct in Gaza does not violate US and international humanitarian law. This determination followed months of elected representatives, intergovernmental bodies, international courts, Israeli and global human rights observers, and members of the Biden Administration themselves persistently expressing grave concerns regarding the actions of the Netanyahu government.

Preliminarily finding Israel in compliance with President Biden’s National Security Memorandum (NSM-20), which requires that all countries receiving US security assistance comply with US and international humanitarian law before receiving US assistance, means that the United States will continue to send weapons to be used in the war in Gaza.

Now, in advance of the May 8th deadline for the State Department to report to Congress about Israel’s compliance with NSM-20, Congresswoman Escobar and Congressman Castro are circulating a letter addressed to Secretary Austin, Secretary Blinken, and Director Haines expressing deep concern over the State Department’s preliminary determination and seeking their responses to a series of questions about whether have produced any substantive analysis related to Israel’s actions in Gaza as it relates to NSM-20.

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Hadar Susskind on Haaretz Podcast (April 9, 2024)

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Statement by Americans for Peace Now on House Resolution 1117

April 10, 2024 - Americans for Peace Now (APN) strongly opposes House Resolution 1117 which claims to oppose efforts to “place one-sided pressure on Israel with respect to Gaza.”

House Republicans are again using straw-man arguments to make a show of support for the Netanyahu government. The Hamas attack on October 7 was horrific and there is and can be no rationale to defend it. And Israel is and was entitled to self-defense. Neither President Biden nor anyone in the administration has ever suggested otherwise.

The Biden Administration’s decision to abstain on the UN resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire and the return of all hostages was both politically sensible and an expression of important American values. In the midst of a growing famine and with tens of thousands of civilians dead, the UN resolution was a reasonable attempt to restrain the Netanyahu government from continuing to pursue a war with no meaningful defined goals and no benefit to Israeli security.

APN’s President and CEO Hadar Susskind said: “House Republicans can continue to throw meaningless tantrums on behalf of their political ally, Prime Minister Netanyahu. Or they can observe that Biden Administration pressure has provided for the opening of the Erez crossing, the immediate transfer of more humanitarian aid and possibly a step toward the cessation of large-scale hostilities. I remind them that the goal of all people should be ending the war and moving toward a real peace. We suggest they work with their Democratic colleagues to do whatever it takes to bring this war to a close, and begin working on long-term political solutions that sideline Hamas and resolve the conflict.”

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Legislative Round-Up- April 5, 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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News from APN- Ori Nir Retires

After 18 years at APN, our VP for Public Affairs Ori Nir is retiring. Born and raised in Jerusalem, before landing at APN Ori led a storied career as a journalist primarily focused on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He covered Palestinian affairs at Ha’aretz in the early days of the Intifada and through the implementation of the first phases of the Oslo Accords. As the Washington correspondent for both Ha’aretz and the Forward, he focused on US Mideast policy. Ori is widely known as a go-to expert on issues of Middle East peace and conflict, not only because of his vast knowledge and experience and his fluency in both Hebrew and Arabic, but because of his enormous sense of compassion and understanding for all involved.

Ori was an innovator and a storyteller at APN, bringing the organization into the podcast era with PeaceCast. His mellifluous voice and probing questions have made our podcast a must-not-miss week after week. His op-eds – appearing in numerous outlets including Ha'aretz and the New York Times– were filled not only with important information but also deeply personal stories. Those of you who traveled with Ori to Israel and Palestine over the years had the experience of learning from him every step of the way. While our communications and public affairs work will continue to grow and change, we will miss Ori deeply. He is one of those rare people you get to work with who is completely and utterly irreplaceable.

We’re sending Ori off b'hatzlacha, bil tawfiq, and good luck for the next stage of his journey.

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What the Killing of World Central Kitchen Workers Should Mean for US Aid to Israel

By Madeleine Cereghino- Director of Government Relations

The tragic and avoidable killing of seven World Central Kitchen workers on Monday has underscored the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza and the significant obstacles faced by relief efforts due to the actions of the Israeli government. While the IDF and Prime Minister Netanyahu have offered apologies for the airstrikes, labeling them as mistakes made by commanders in the field, José Andrés (the founder of World Central Kitchen) has asserted that the relief workers were deliberately targeted by the Israeli military.

President Biden has issued his strongest condemnation of Israel's conduct since the start of the war, including calling Israel’s failure to safeguard civilians and aid workers "a major reason why distributing humanitarian aid in Gaza has been so difficult” and saying that” Israel has also not done enough to protect civilians."

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