Americans for Peace Now (APN) is appalled and deeply disappointed at the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organization's failure to accept J Street, an important player in the pro-Israel arena, into its ranks.
Washington, DC - Commenting on the status of ongoing Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts, Americans for Peace Now's President and CEO Debra DeLee issued the following statement:
"APN's position is clear: Negotiations are the only route to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the only resolution to this conflict will be a mutually agreed-on two-state solution. However, the past nine months of peace efforts, led with admirable commitment and energy by Secretary of State John Kerry and his team, have failed to bring the parties closer to a two-state outcome. The current state of this peace effort exposes three structural weaknesses in the current process: the manifest bad faith of the Netanyahu government; the profound weakness of the Palestinian leadership; and the absence of adequate rules-of-the-game - and consequences for breaking these rules - put in place by the Obama Administration as the steward of these efforts.
Washington, DC – The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and Hamas today ended a seven-year rift by reaching a historic reconciliation agreement.
Americans for Peace Now welcomes the agreement. APN holds that unity between the Palestinian political factions and between the West Bank and Gaza is vital for empowering the Palestinian leadership to more credibly conduct negotiations with Israel and to more efficiently implement a future peace agreement.
APN’s President and CEO Debra DeLee said: “The new Palestinian agreement is good news, and should be regarded as such by the Obama administration and by the government of Israel. A Palestinian interlocutor who credibly represents all the Palestinians is much better positioned to make hard decisions around the negotiating table and is much better positioned to deliver when the time comes to implement a peace agreement. This reconciliation agreement can and should empower and legitimize Mahmoud Abbas as a leader of the Palestinian polity.”
“We urge President Obama and Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to continue interacting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and to determine the future relations of the U.S. administration and the Israeli government with any Palestinian government based on that government's positions and actions alone.”
The Minister of Defense has approved the creation of a new settlement inside the Palestinian city of Hebron, making
it the first settlement in the city since the 1980s.
The impact of the settlement is remarkable: a large building, 4000 square meters, that can hold more than 20 settler families (more than 120 people) and on a strategic and pivotal location: relatively distant from the other settlements inside Hebron, and on the route that connects Hebron to Kiryat Arba settlement.
As the Obama administration prepares to kick its efforts to broker Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations into higher gear, the government of Israel is advancing plans to build 2,372 new housing units in West Bank settlements.
News of this new round of settlement construction plans was publicized yesterday by Americans for Peace Now's Israeli sister-organization, Shalom Achshav (Peace Now).
Americans for Peace Now joins Shalom Achshav in condemning the new plans for construction in settlements, many of which are east of the "Separation Barrier," in areas that are almost certain to come under Palestinian sovereignty when a two-state peace agreement is achieved.
In response to today's rocket barrage into Israel from Gaza, APN President and CEO Debra DeLee stated:
"We unequivocally condemn the heinous attacks carried out today against Israel, apparently by Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip. This firing of rockets into Israel, threatening Israeli civilians, is terrorism, pure and simple. We support Israel's right to defend itself and its duty to defend its citizens in the face of such attacks. In exercising this sovereign right of self defense, we urge Israel to pay attention to past experience, seeking both to avoid harming Palestinian civilians and to avert a potentially disastrous cycle of escalation. Our thoughts are with Israel's citizens living in the shadow of these rockets, as well as with Gaza's civilians, whose welfare, too, is being treated with callous disregard by violent Palestinian extremists."
Americans for Peace Now (APN) mourns the death of Ambassador Samuel Lewis, a distinguished American diplomat and a leading expert on US Middle East policy, a staunch supporter of Arab-Israeli peace, a true friend of Israel and an influential activist for Israeli-Palestinian peace.
APN's President and CEO Debra DeLee said: "Sam's passing is a terrible loss to the peace movement and to those who knew him and deeply appreciated him as a human being. He was a man with a big intellect and a big heart, whose pro-peace positions were guided by a moral compass and by a deep commitment to the national security of the United States and to the wellbeing of the state of Israel.
In response to today's ruling by Israel's High Court of Justice (Supreme Court) regarding settler claims to ownership of a large house in Hebron, Americans for Peace Now (APN) joins its Israeli sister organization Shalom Achshav (Peace Now) in calling on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Minister of Defense Moshe Ya'alon to use their legal authority to prevent the creation of another settlement stronghold in Hebron.
The Supreme Court today rejected an appeal by two Palestinians of a lower court ruling that the property was bought legally by Jewish settlers. Following the Supreme Court ruling, the settlers could move into the house, if the Minister of Defense approves it.
As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu landed in Washington today, the Israeli government’s Central Bureau of Statistics issued a report showing a whopping 123% surge in West Bank settlement construction in 2013, more than double the number of new settlement homes built in 2012.
The data was analyzed and highlighted today by Israel’s Peace Now (Shalom Achshav) movement. It confirms past interim reports by Peace Now’s Settlement Watch Project. Americans for Peace Now (APN), Shalom Achshav’s US sister-organization, joins Peace Now in condemning Netanyahu’s government for this reckless policy of settlement construction.
Washington, DC – Americans for Peace Now (APN) thanks the 104 members of the House of Representatives, Republicans and Democrats, who today sent a letter to President Obama supporting the current diplomatic efforts to resolve concerns over Iran's nuclear program.
APN strongly supported the letter and urged House members to sign it.