Americans for Peace Now (APN) commends President Obama for eloquently articulating the strong bond between core American values and progressive Jewish values, and for expressing his frustration with the growing gap between these values and those that are increasingly manifesting themselves in Israeli public life.
The coalition agreement between the Likud and the Jewish Home party (Bayit Yehudi) reveals the plans of the new government and indicates its intentions, including:
1. Granting the settlers control over the construction of settlements and over Israel's authority in the West Bank, while allocating more funds to the settlements.
2. Passing legislation and reforms that change the democratic rules of the game.
3. Allocating public funds to bolster the political power of the Israeli Right.
This agreement, which includes a Jewish Home stronghold on a variety of positions directly related to settlement development, constitutes a clear danger to the possibility of arriving at a two state solution and illustrates the true intention of the current government - massive settlement expansion and the silencing of opposition to the occupation.
Americans for Peace Now (APN) applauds the letter sent today to President Obama, signed by 150 House Democrats, in support of ongoing diplomacy with Iran. APN congratulates Representatives Schakowsky (D-IL), Doggett (D-TX), and Price (D-NC) for their leadership in spearheading this effort and commends all House members who co-signed this critically important letter, which APN backed strongly.
As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced tonight the formation of a narrow government coalition that brings together Israel's right-wing and religious parties, Americans for Peace Now (APN) is expressing deep concern for the new government's impact on Israel's future as a democracy and a Jewish state.
APN's President and CEO Debra DeLee said: "This government, based on the ideology of its members, is bound to act to further hinder the viability of a two-state solution, to further exacerbate Israel's isolation internationally, to intensify West Bank settlement construction, promote undemocratic legislation and act to stifle dissent.
Washington, DC – APN Today released the following statement regarding pro-settlements legislation in the House and Senate:
“As a pro-Israel, pro-peace organization and the sister organization to Shalom Achshav (Peace Now), Israel’s veteran grassroots, Zionist peace movement, Americans for Peace Now (APN) rejects and condemns efforts in Congress, backed by AIPAC, to legislate U.S. support for Israeli settlements. We urge Congress to recognize the danger and folly of this approach and to hold firm in its well-established support for Israel and its equally well-established refusal to endorse Israeli settlements – and to reject HR 825 and efforts to pass similar language in the Senate.
APN today issued the following statement regarding the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s passage of S. 615, amended:
APN has long opposed and continues to oppose any initiative in Congress that could undermine ongoing Iran negotiations or threaten the achievement and implementation of an agreement that could prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. We have also long pointed out that even without a single new piece of legislation, the kind of substantial, long-term sanctions relief that will be central to the success of any Iran nuclear deal cannot be achieved without the active support and cooperation of Congress – giving Congress an automatic and critical role in overseeing and implementing any Iran deal.
Statement from APN President and CEO Debra DeLee:
“We welcome the framework agreement reached yesterday between the P5 +1 countries and Iran to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. We congratulate President Obama, Secretary of State Kerry, and their team of experts and negotiators on this achievement. The initial success of this intense and prolonged diplomatic effort demonstrates that when there is sufficient political will, negotiations can work, and can walk the world back from the brink of war.
“Anyone who is concerned about the possibility of a nuclear-armed Iran should view this agreement as a source of encouragement. The understanding reached between the parties sets out in high resolution the parameters of a final agreement to be reached in the coming months, the implementation of which will make Israel, the region and the world more secure by verifiably rolling back Iran’s nuclear program and strictly limiting this program in the future.
Washington, DC – Israel’s general election results are
a disappointment for pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans. They will undoubtedly make our objective even harder to
Pre-election polls and the overall atmosphere in Israel preceding the elections provided us with hope for a government that would embrace the policies and values that we support. It now seems like Israel’s next government will provide us with more of the same, if not worse.
Moments like this are not new to us. Yes, they disappoint us, but we do not succumb to the disappointment. We know that our fight to secure peace for Israel and its neighbors is a long-term fight. We care too deeply about Israel’s future as a democracy and a Jewish state to cede the struggle over Israel’s future character to the bullies and the bigots, the racists and the ultra-nationalists. We know that the only way for Israel to be loyal to the vision of its founders, to be both a secure, morally sound Jewish state and a democracy, is to end the occupation and reach a peace settlement with the Palestinians and the Arab world. Together with our Israeli sister organization, Peace Now, we will therefore redouble our efforts to advance this objective, serving as a bulwark against the rejectionists and the zealots, true to our core values.
It is safe to say that in the past two years construction starts for approximately 5,000 housing units
took place in the settlements. This huge jump in construction starts took place, according
to the CBS, mainly in the beginning of 2013, whereas in Peace Now’s data it was reflected only in 2014.
On March 10, 2015 the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics (ICBS or CBS) published the number of construction starts for 2014. According to the CBS, 1,344 new housing units started to be built in the settlements in 2014 and 2,829 units in 2013. Peace Now, who conducted a count of all construction starts based on aerial photos, reported a higher figure for 2014 (3,100 housing units) and lower one for 2013 (2,243 housing units). So how much was actually built?