Press Release: APN Opposes David Friedman's Nomination as US Ambassador to Israel

Americans for Peace Now (APN) is alarmed by President-elect Donald Trump's choice of David Friedman to be the United States' next ambassador to Israel. Friedman's choice sends an alarming message about the Trump administration's role in advancing Israeli-Palestinian peace.

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Peace Now Settlement Watch: The New Government Agreement on Amona - Explained

News from Peace Now:

According to media reports, a compromise has been reached between Prime Minister Netanyahu, Naftali Bennett and Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit regarding the relocation of the Amona settlers. The solution agreed between the three, based on media reports, includes the evacuation of Amona and the relocation of the Amona settlers to four plots  (number 28, 29, 30, 38 as can be seen in the map below) in a nearby hill on absentees' property (abandoned property) through a renewable two year lease. These lands are private lands and their use for the purpose of settlement is contrary to previous legal opinions of the State. As shown in previous cases, such as that of Migron, the temporary lease could quickly become permanent and allow for the establishment of a new official settlement on private Palestinian lands. To read a Peace Now position paper on this issue click here.
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APN today sent the following letter to the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations regarding its decision to partner with the Republic of Azerbaijan for a Hanukkah party to be held at the Trump International Hotel in Washington:


Stephen Greenberg, Chairman

Malcolm I. Hoenlein, Executive Vice Chairman

Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

(via email and fax)

7 December, 2016

Dear Stephen and Malcolm,

As longtime members of the Conference of Presidents, we were shocked to learn that you have decided to celebrate Hanukkah by partnering with the Republic of Azerbaijan and by choosing the Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC as the venue. We take issue with your choice of both partner and venue. Your failure to consult members of the CoP before making these odd decisions further compounds our frustration.

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Americans for Peace Now (APN) is alarmed at recent statements and actions by President-elect Donald Trump's Israel affairs advisers, indicating support for West Bank settlements and dismissal of the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. APN is calling on the President-elect to clarify that he will follow the policies of all recent US administrations – Republican and Democratic – with respect to the Israel-Palestine question. 

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News from Peace Now:

This morning (December 2) a plan for temporary housing on three plots of absentee property near the illegal outpost of Amona was deposited. This was done through a special order - originally used for the Migron settlers - which allows for the promotion of plans in an expedited process. It is now clear that the government is promoting temporary housing for the Amona settlers in the nearby absentee property, despite Israel’s legal interpretation since 1967 according to which absentee property cannot be used for the establishment of settlements.

It is important to note that while the plan is for eight months only, in the settlements what is temporary usually becomes permanent. For example the two year long temporary housing for the Migron settlers from in Givat HaYekev (or the New Migron) is still in place.

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News from Peace Now:
With an expected vote on the regulation bill at the Knesset tomorrow (November 30), Peace Now exposes the scope of construction on private Palestinian lands and the implication of the bill on the two state solution in a new report. 
According to a Peace Now count the regulation law will result in the retroactive legalization of 55 illegal outposts and of approximately 4,000 housing units in settlements and illegal outposts. 

Peace Now views the regulation law as a grand land robbery, which will lead not only to the expropriation of 8,000 dunams of private Palestinian lands but might also rob Israelis and Palestinians of the possibility of arriving at a two state solution. 

To read the full report click here.

Key findings:
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Open Letter to President-elect Donald J. Trump from Jewish American Organizations

Today, APN joined proudly with other Jewish American organizations in sending a letter to President-Elect Donald Trump. The letter lays out many of our concerns and hopes for the coming Administration and sends an unambiguous message about our work for the future: 

“…you will find willing partners in the Jewish community to join with your administration if it follows a path that upholds and defends the principles of fairness, justice and freedom on which this country was built. But, we will not stand idly by if you choose to take actions that violate human rights, or that reverse the progress we have made at home and abroad. You will find us as powerful opponents of any effort to undermine these gains.”

The full text of the letter is copied below. A downloadable pdf version of the letter is available here.

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Peace Now Settlement Watch: Ministerial Committee Approves Regulation Bill

News from Peace Now's (Israel) Settlement Watch:

Yesterday, November 13, the Ministerial Committee for legislation approved the regulation bill, which seeks to retroactively legalize illegal outposts built on private Palestinian lands. According to the bill, private lands taken for the purpose of settlement with the government's involvement will be "leased" to settlers, while Palestinian landowners will receive financial compensation and an alternative land but no right to appeal.
The timing of the approval of the regulation bill relates to the pending evacuation of the illegal outpost of Amona, which based on the High Court's verdict must happen by December 25. Earlier today (November 14) the High Court dismissed the state's request to delay the evacuation any further.
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Press Release: With Trump’s Election, We Recommit to Israeli-Palestinian Peace

As Israelis and Palestinians struggle to make sense of this week’s presidential election results, so are we, Americans who support Israeli-Palestinian peace, anxiously wondering about the fate of our mission under President-elect Donald Trump.

The American people have spoken. We at APN obviously acknowledge the results. We doubt, however, that by electing Trump, the people have spoken about their desired foreign policy priorities. Candidate Trump did not clearly indicate such priorities. His foreign policy agenda was sparse and ambiguous, often confused. What will President Trump’s foreign policy be? What will his Middle East Policy be?

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Peace Now Settlement Watch: Update on The New Outpost in the Northern Jordan Valley

News from Peace Now's (Israel) Settlement Watch:

Earlier this week Haaretz reported that a new illegal outpost is being established on private Palestinian land near Givat Salit and near the Palestinian community of Al-Khaimah. Yesterday (25.10) the settlers moved the outpost from the private lands and re-established it on "state lands" in a nearby hill. 

It is yet to be seen whether the government takes action to evacuate the illegal structures or allows for the substantiation of a new outpost.

All of the structures in Al-Khaimah were demolished completely by the Civil Administration approximately a month ago and Peace Now tends to think that the demolition of Al-Khaimah and the establishment of the new outpost are related, in the sense that the settlers exerted pressure on the government to demolish specifically in that area. Furthermore, It is possible that the new illegal outpost is meant to serve as a bargaining chip by the settlers, who will demand demolitions of more Palestinian homes if the government will seek to enforce the law and evacuate them. Peace Now is familiar with at least one case in which this method was utilized by the settlers, when two years ago settlers established an illegal outpost near the settlement of Maskiyot and the Palestinian community of Ain al Hilweh and agreed to evacuate only after several Palestinian homes were demolished. 

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