APN to Trump: Cutting Palestinian Aid is Irresponsible and Counterproductive

Washington, DC -- Following President Trump's ill-conceived announcement on Jerusalem, which upended prospects for a US-mediated Israeli-Palestinian peace, Trump this week lashed out at Palestinians. He threatened in a pair of tweets to cut off aid to Palestinians as long as they are "no longer willing to talk peace."

While Trump did not clarify which aid he planned to target, his tweets followed an earlier statement by US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley. She had indicated that the Trump Administration wants to quit funding the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which provides assistance to some 5 million Palestinian refugees. The US is by far the largest single donor to UNRWA, providing $360 million to the relief organization for 2016.

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Reacting to several recent moves by Israel's government that sabotage a future Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement, Americans for Peace Now (APN) today called on fellow American Jewish organizations to join APN in vocal opposition to annexation and to unilaterally pre-judging issues that Israelis and Palestinians should negotiate to achieve a final-status peace deal.

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Creeping Annexation: Changes in the Interpretation of the Laws Regarding Occupation
Settlements Watch Peace Now,
December 2017

Report's Main Points:

In recent years, the Attorney General and the State Prosecutor's Office have made dramatic changes in their positions on a number of issues regarding Israel's control over the occupied territories (OT). These changes are part of the g overnment's effort to apply the standards of Israel's democracy to settlements located in territory that is subject to belligerent Israeli occupation, where the Palestinian population lives without democracy and equal rights. These changes are contrary to previous positions of the legal echelon and the Supreme Court, and they magnify the legal question surrounding Israel's control of the OT in terms of international law.

Among other things, the Attorney General stated that:

    • It is permissible to expropriate Palestinian land in cases where the Israeli takeover was carried out "in good faith."
    • It is permissible to confiscate land for the purpose of access to a settlement.
    • Abandoned property may be used for settlement purposes.
    • It is permitted to "liquidate" the abandoned property without judicial process.
    • It is permissible to expropriate protected tenancy of the Hebron Municipality on public land, even without a judicial process.
    • Legislative changes were made to facilitate the demolition and deportation of Palestinian communities in Area C.

These changes mark another step in the policy of de facto annexation of the OT to Israel, and they are intended to "normalize" the settlements and make them part of Israel, even without declaring so.

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APN's Statement Regarding Today's UN Vote on Trump's Jerusalem Move

Today's vote by the United Nations General Assembly, rebuking President Trump's irresponsible move to unilaterally recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, underscores Trump's flawed understanding of diplomacy and the heavy price the US pays when it subjugates a calculated foreign policy and national security interests to domestic politics.

The UNGA vote – 128 countries voting against Trump's move, with only 9 in favor and 35 abstaining – is a slap in the face of the US, a reality check for Israel, but also a welcome endorsement of the two-state solution and of diplomacy as a tool for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It is a rebuke of Trump's unilateralism and a bitter blow our country's global leadership role. "This is the price we pay for President Trump acting on a whim and reversing a fifty-year-old policy carefully implemented by past presidents, Democrats and Republicans alike," said Debra DeLee, APN's President and CEO.

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Kenneth Marcus, President Trump’s nominee for Assistant Secretary of Civil Rights in the Department of Education, has made it his mission to suppress speech critical of Israel on campuses by labeling it “anti-Semitic.”

The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions is due to vote on Marcus’s confirmation today, December 13, 2017. In keeping with our defense of free speech related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and our commitment to opening the debate on this issue in American society, Americans for Peace Now strongly opposes Marcus and calls on senators to vote against his confirmation.

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Trump's Jerusalem Move Sabotages Prospects for Peace, Endangers Lives, Degrades US Leadership

Donald Trump today sabotaged decades of American efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. By announcing his disastrous new policy on Jerusalem, he is causing severe damage to the prospects of Middle East peace, imperiling lives, and degrading US leadership.

Defying the counsel of America's top diplomats and security experts, as well as the urging of US regional and international allies, Trump decided to put politics before policy, to cater to domestic extremists in his political base, and to toss a match into the most combustible place on earth: the holy city of Jerusalem. Trump's irresponsible action has further eroded American prestige and influence in the international arena.

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APN to Trump: Don't Transfer Israel Embassy to Jerusalem

Alarmed by reports that the Trump Administration is considering immediate action to move the US Israel embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Americans for Peace Now is calling on President Trump to eschew this dangerous action.

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From Peace Now's Settlement Watch:

The past few months have seen unprecedented developments in the settlements, causing severe damage to the chances of a two-state solution. Accelerated population growth, approvals of housing units in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, promotion of bypass roads, advancements of Knesset bills, home demolitions and changes in legal interpretations - all lead to a situation of de-facto annexation of area C. Without any official declarations, the Israeli government is preventing the viability and contiguity of a future Palestinian state, while treating lands in area C as its own. The implications of the abovementioned developments are far-reaching for Israel, the Palestinians and the region as a whole. 

Peace Now's new report summarizes key developments of the last several months and analyzes their impact, individually and together, on the viability of a Palestinian state alongside Israel and the possibility for a two state solution.

Even with the lack of a final status agreement in sight, it is our duty today to struggle in order to prevent silent annexation efforts and to assure the possibility of a two state solution on the ground.
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APN Sends Condolences to the People of Egypt

Americans for Peace Now is shocked and deeply saddened by the mass-casualty attack on worshipers at a mosque in Sinai, Egypt. Our condolences to the families and the people of Egypt, and wishes of full recovery to those injured.

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APN to Trump: Don't Close Palestinian US Mission

Alarmed by the prospects of the Trump administration ordering the closure of the Palestinian mission in Washington, Americans for Peace Now (APN) is calling on the administration and Congress to allow the Palestine Liberation Organization to keep its office open.

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