APN: Ceasefire, Pivot to Diplomacy -- Now!

Americans for Peace Now (APN) today repeated its call for an immediate ceasefire between Hamas and Israel.  APN condemned the criticism coming from senior Israeli officials and Knesset members targeting Secretary of State Kerry and President Obama for their efforts to find a way to end the fighting.  Israelis and Palestinians alike urgently need an off-ramp from the destruction, fear, and anger that has taken over their lives. 
 
Secretary Kerry and President Obama deserve credit, not scorn, for acting as true friends of Israel by trying to find such an off-ramp. A mutually-agreed ceasefire will, by definition, have to deliver something to both sides.  Even if some concerns about a ceasefire proposal have merit, publicly suggesting that the Obama Administration has “betrayed” Israel by seeking to craft a ceasefire proposal that takes this fact into account are contemptible, dishonest, and do not serve Israel’s best interests. 
 

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Hard Questions, Tough Answers with Yossi Alpher: July 28, 2014

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The Gaza war, as of late Monday afternoon Israel time:

This week, Alpher discusses whether the latest ceasefire will last; whether Israel's war aims changed in the course of the fighting; if ignoring the strategic potential of the Hamas attack tunnels an Israeli intelligence failure; why is there such extraordinary solidarity among the normally divisive Israeli public during this war; regarding a ceasefire, what happened with the Egyptian agenda and a Turkish-Qatari agenda, and in between what appears to be a failed US mediation attempt; if all this means that Hamas has not, or not yet, registered a sufficiently significant accomplishment in this war to "declare victory;" whether Hamas is part of the regional and global militant Islamist movement currently led by ISIS/Islamic State and the likes of Boko Haram as Netanyahu argues, or if is it a faction of the Palestinian national liberation movement and in the long term, what this seeming Hamas membership in two such distinct Middle East groupings means for Israel.

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Conflicted in the Diaspora: Reflections of a Young American Jew

Hannah-Ehlers320x265by APN's summer intern Hannah Ehlers

 

Early in my Jewish education, I was taught that, as Jews and as human beings living in an imperfect world, we are obligated to stand up and speak out in the face of injustice. However small or large the perceived wrong, and despite our shaking legs and cracking voices or a powerful and vocal opposition trying to silence us, it is our duty as Jews to confront injustice. As a Reform Jew, I was taught to question and to think critically about the world, my faith, and my personal views and perceptions. And yet, when it came to Israel, there existed in the Jewish community a sort of unwritten rule, an unspoken promise not to question Israel or its policies. I would later discover that this attitude reflected the larger American and international Jewish community and many communal institutions. Although my Hebrew school classmates and I were encouraged to struggle and wrestle with God and Jewish theology, and to have a complicated relationship with American society, we subconsciously subscribed to the attitude, based on fear, that any criticism of Israel was a threat to the Jewish people.

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Press Release: APN Welcomes US Ceasefire Efforts; Urges Peace Talks

Americans for Peace Now (APN) is horrified by the spiraling death-toll of the war between Israel and Hamas. Having urged a ceasefire for the past two weeks, APN welcomes the Obama administration’s efforts to achieve an immediate ceasefire, and urges it to resume diplomatic efforts toward a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

APN strongly supports Israel’s right for self-defense and its government’s obligation to provide security for its citizens. As a Zionist, Jewish organization and as the sister-organization of the Israeli grassroots movement Shalom Achshav (Peace Now), we fully share the security concerns of the people of Israel and the yearning of Israelis for peace.
 
We mourn the death of Israeli civilians and of Israeli soldiers in the current hostilities. We also mourn the alarmingly spiraling deaths of hundreds of Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip – over 500 so far.

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Hard Questions, Tough Answers with Yossi Alpher: July 21, 2014

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This week Alpher discusses War in Gaza: as of Monday afternoon July 21 Israel time:

Was it necessary for the IDF's Golani brigade to go into Gaza's eastern district of Shejaiya and fight a battle that caused such heavy losses on both sides and if there is a broader meaning to all this death and destruction in and around Gaza; accusations that the IDF is perpetrating war crimes in Gaza; why Hamas' ceasefire conditions are outlandish; how will this end and some early strategic lessons learned.

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APN interview with Arnon Avni on living in a war zone

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Arnon Avni, an Israeli cartoonist who lives in Nirim, a tiny kibbutz right on the border with the Gaza Strip, and a longtime Peace Now activist, on July 18 2014 spoke to APN about living in a war zone and about what keeps him committed to the cause of Israeli-Palestinian peace.

 

 

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chris-gunness-320x265Christopher Gunness, the Jerusalem-based spokesperson of UNRWA, the United Nations agency that serves Palestinian refugees, joined us on July 18 20014, less than 24 hours after Israel's ground campaign in the Gaza Strip started, to review the humanitarian situation in Gaza and the reconstruction challenge that faces the residents of the Gaza Strip and UNRWA.

 

 

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ATFP and APN - Peace Partners: The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict on Campus

yehonatan_toker-and-Hamze320x265On Wednesday, July 16, Americans for Peace Now along with the American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP) hosted an event that focused on the way in which the Israeli-Palestinian conflict plays out on US college campuses.

Among the more than 50 attendees at the Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars were Israeli and Palestinian participants of New Story Leadership (NSL). NSL brings young Israeli and Palestinian leaders to Washington, DC  for a summer of dialogue and leadership workshops during which they also learn about Washington through internships.

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Israel-Gaza Crisis Update: APN Disappointed at Ceasefire Collapse

APN Urges Immediate Ceasefire, Harnessed to a Diplomatic Process that Leads to Peace:

Having urged a ceasefire for the past week, APN, like millions of Israelis, Palestinians and others worldwide was excited at the news of a ceasefire agreement Monday night. We immediately welcomed this news after senior Israeli officials were quoted on the Israeli media as welcoming the Egyptian-proposed ceasefire agreement. Hours later, the Israeli cabinet officially endorsed the ceasefire.

We were deeply disappointed when Hamas and other Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip rejected the ceasefire and intensified their rocket fire throughout the day Tuesday, arguing that Egypt announced the ceasefire without consulting with their leadership.

In response, after halting fire for several long hours, Israel resumed air raids on the Gaza Strip.

We hope that that Hamas and other Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip will accept the ceasefire, stop their rocket attacks on Israel and thus prevent further escalation.

While we yearn for a ceasefire, we remind all parties involved that that a ceasefire cannot be an end in itself. For a ceasefire to not turn into just another intermission between rounds of violence, it must be harnessed to a diplomatic process that addresses the underlying causes of conflict. 

Go to APN's Israel-Gaza Crisis Resource Page for all updates and related information.

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APN Interviews Palestinian Intern Hamze Awawdeh

On July 10, 2014, APN's Executive Assistant Katherine Cunningham and intern Hannah Ehlers interviewed our Palestinian intern Hamze Awawdeh, a Palestinian from the West Bank who works in Tel Aviv for an Israeli-Palestinian peace organization. Hamze, who participates this year in APN's joint internship program with the American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP), explores in this interview the sometimes tense dialectic between the national narratives of Israelis and Palestinians and the efforts that young Israelis and Palestinians are making to write a new chapter, a chapter of peace, in their peoples' national history.

 

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