PeaceCast #40: Palestinian Security Forces

Why does the Palestinian Authority continue its security collaboration with Israel even today, when Israeli-Palestinian political relations are at an all-time low? What is the nature of this cooperation? Who are the Palestinian security forces? How sustainable is their law-enforcement and counter-terrorism assignment? How long can they continue collaborating with Israel at the absence of any progress toward a political accord between Israel and the Palestinians?

Our current episode addresses these questions with the help of two experts, Ghaith al-Omari and Neri Zilber, who just published a report on this topic.

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APN Deeply Concerned by Israel's Denial of Entry to Two Leading U.S. Human Rights Lawyers

Two leading U.S. human rights lawyers were denied entry into Israel Sunday, detained at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport, and deported back to the United States.

The two are Columbia University’s Katherine Franke, who is the Chair of the Board of the Center for Constitutional Rights, and the Center’s Executive Director Vincent Warren. The two reported that they were repeatedly questioned about their associations with groups supporting boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel. They were part of a delegation of American civil rights activists heading to Israel and the Occupied Territories to learn about human rights situation there and to meet with local activists.

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Action Alert: Tell Your Senators to Support Humanitarian Relief for Gaza

Urge your senators to sign the letter, being circulated by Senator Bernie Sanders, that calls for action by the Trump Administration to alleviate the humanitarian disaster in Gaza. The crisis in Gaza not only makes life virtually unlivable for the two million residents of the Gaza Strip; it also endangers Israeli security by creating a breeding ground for the radicalization of Gaza’s residents.

The letter, addressed to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, calls on the Trump Administration to:

  • restore US funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA)
  • encourage easing of restriction on movement of people, goods, and equipment in and out of Gaza, especially for water projects and health essentials
  • ensure greater electricity flow into energy-starved Gaza
  • pursue proposals to build Gaza’s economy, including the proposed Gaza Seaport

More than this is needed to address the situation in Gaza. In particular, Secretary Pompeo and the Trump Administration should take steps to bring about a political solution which would facilitate an end to the Israeli and Egyptian siege on Gaza. This letter is, at least, a positive and necessary step – and one that should be entirely uncontroversial.

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Netanyahu’s Claims Are Cause for Alarm; JCPOA Is the Tool to Address Them

Following claims by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Iran is violating the terms of the multilateral deal designed to prevent it from obtaining nuclear weapons, Americans for Peace Now insists that diplomacy, inspections, and verification are more vital now than ever. If anything, Netanyahu’s revelations regarding the history of Iran’s nuclear program highlight how essential the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is, providing the international community with a tool to curb Iran’s ambitions to build nuclear weapons.

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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.

This week, Alpher discusses the dynamics between Israel and the Eritrean/Sudanese asylum seekers, and between Israel and the Gazan refugees; the legal and moral issues in the African asylum seeker crisis; Tom Friedman's quote in the NYT:"How can Israel turn them away? But how can Israel take them all, which will only invite more, and the supply is now endless?"; how Israel is responding differently than Europe to issues with African migrants and refugees; why the confrontation with Gaza is escalating even though the numbers of dead and wounded Palestinians are decreasing from week to week; other mid-May events; and the Iranian threat from Syria.

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Palestinians have it circled on their calendars

Luis LainerLag B’omer is coming – the 33rd day between Pesach and Shavuot, a day traditionally for throwing off mourning and instead celebrating with music, weddings and bonfires. Lag B’omer is a minor holiday that not many American Jews are aware of. Paradoxically, Palestinians in the West Bank town of Hebron have it circled on their calendars.

It has become a Lag B'omer custom of some Jewish settlers in Hebron to vandalize and loot Palestinian property for wood with which to build bonfires. And unlike the Israeli military authority, which regularly shuts down the West Bank during Jewish holidays to minimize the possibility of a terrorist attack, the Palestinians don’t have the means to protect their communities come Lag B'omer.

Support APN and help fight back against extremist "price tag" attacks.

As Jews and friends of Israel, we recognize the dread of an approaching holiday. Those closures during Passover and other holidays are Israel’s response to horrific terrorist attacks like the suicide bombing by Hamas of a seder at a Netanya hotel in 2002. The attack killed 30 Jews and wounded 140. A similar attack was perpetrated in 2006, killing 11 and wounding 60 at another Passover seder. A number of years have passed since an attack like this has occurred, but the threat remains.

Still, we can’t leave unremarked this twisted Lag B'omer practice of terrorizing Palestinians on a day dedicated to joy and relief. Preying on Palestinians has become so routine that it is no longer newsworthy. But this can’t be the way of Jewish “celebration”: breaking into Palestinian shops and homes, damaging and looting them. And these can’t be the actions of God-fearing Jews – terrorizing Palestinian and Israel Arab towns by torching cars, slashing tires, and spray painting Stars of David and racist slogans, as was done as recently as a week ago.

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APN Disappointed in Committee Vote, Calls on Senate to Reject Pompeo for Secretary of State

Washington, DC – Americans for Peace Now is deeply disappointed in the decision of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to recommend favorably Mike Pompeo to become Secretary of State in a narrow party-line vote.

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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.

This week, Alpher discusses the main challenges Israel faces on its seventieth birthday: war, Gaza, peace, and the nature of the state.

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APN Security Validators - Former Mossad Directors

In April 2018, the six living former directors of the Mossad -- Israel's spy agency -- were interviewed by Yedioth Achronoth.  A key theme was their belief in the imperative of the two-state solution for Israel, and their call for diplomacy with the Palestinians. 

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APN at J Street panel -Setting Settlements In Stone: Formalizing Annexation

Debra DeLee, Debra Shushan, MK Merav Michaeli, Nidal Fuqaha, and Lara Friedman discuss the formalization of annexation.  Americans for Peace Now's panel discussion at J Street's National Conference April 15, 2018.

 

 

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