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January 2008 Archives

Alpher responds to the final report issued on Wednesday, January 30
The collapse of the border between Gaza and Egypt represents more than anything the collapse of the Israeli concept which holds that Hamas can be made to break through the suffocation and complete blockade of the people living inside the Strip.

Jerusalem Post: "State approves W. Bank radio station"

Peace Now spokesman Yariv Oppenheimer agreed with Gush Shalom's position that the creation of Radiosh was illegal, because the station would advance an inherently political agenda and added that Peace Now backed the petition.

Program with Scott Lasensky - U.S. Institute of Peace

Lasensky is co-author of "Negotiating Arab-Israeli Peace: American Leadership in the Middle East"
Forward Columnist Leonard Fein will be the keynote speaker
Forward Columnist Leonard Fein will be the keynote speaker
Q. How do you evaluate PM Olmert's "Herzliya speech"? Q. ...where were the (Gaza) mistakes and what are the ramifications?

January 28, 2008 - Vol. 9, Issue 21

Military Escalation is a Boon for Hamas; Recognizing a Failed Policy; Standing Firm on Outposts; Seedlings of Peace

Tell Bush, Congress: Time for New Policy on Gaza

...placing the entire population of Gaza under siege is succeeding neither in stopping Qassam fire, nor in ousting Hamas.

APN Legislative Round-Up - January 25, 2008

I. Bills and Resolutions; II. APN statement on the Gaza crisis; III. Gaza Dear Colleague/Letter to Rice; IV. Members to Participate in Right-Wing Israeli Conference; V. Ackerman on Censorship and Incitement in the Arab World
"APN has also consistently held that Israel should avoid actions that constitute collective punishment or cause disproportionate suffering or casualties among civilians.

JPost & Ha'aretz articles on Migron settlement evacuation

Peace Now says the announcement "hints that that the government is planning to move the outpost to a new location that would be available legally, with appropriate infrastructure."

Olmert - Peace Talk vs. Peace Walk

Olmert? One wants to believe his passion for peace, often stated in elegant and even eloquent terms. The motive doesn't much matter. Maybe it's his Peace Now wife and kids, maybe it's a genuine conviction that time is working against Israel, maybe it's his way of redeeming a reputation so badly tattered by the Lebanon war. Whatever the motive, the words are encouraging.

As a field monitor for the Israeli group Peace Now, Ofran is responsible for monitoring the steadily growing Israeli network of hilltop settlements and military bases, industrial zones, restricted "bypass roads", walls and fences.
American generals appointed rather than diplomatic "peace team"? 2nd Lebanon War as primarily military or political failure?

January 21, 2008 - Vol. 9, Issue 20


Legislative Round-Up - January 18, 2008

I. Bills and Resolutions; II. Weldon Bashes UNRWA, Endorses Israeli Right-Wing "Peace Plan"; III. Saudi Arms Sales: JTA story; IV. Saudi Arms Sales: APN letter (August 2007); V. Saudi Arms Sales: Administration Press Release; VI. Analysis: Understanding the Saudi Arms Package (Rudy deLeon); VII. Text of HR 5056 (Iran Diplomatic Accountability Act of 2008)
Both outposts have been dismantled in the past, said Hagit Ofran, who tracks settlement growth for the dovish Israeli group Peace Now.
Peace Now head Yariv Oppenheimer expressed jubilation over Avigdor Lieberman's decision to pull Yisrael Beiteinu out of the coalition.
Israel Beitenu's (Israel Our Home) entry into the government was, in fact, a slap in the face for the average voter who expressed, again unambiguously, deep mistrust for the politics of the Right-wing extremists.
The major candidates in both parties seek the "pro-Israel" label. Now is the time to debate what it means to support Israel...

Activists' Seminar

Comments from Eyal Raviv, participant in this special Shalom Achshav seminar held in December 2007

Ranking very high in value, Bitter Lemons is a periodic exchange of views on Israel/Palestine. It is co-edited by Yossi Alpher, a veteran commentator on these matters with an extensive background on Israeli security and Ghassan Khatib, vice-president of Birzeit University and a former Palestinian Authority minister of planning.

The lengthy exchange that follows, from the January 14 on-line edition of Bitter Lemons, is particularly interesting. As is the tradition at Bitter Lemons - indeed, its purpose - it presents very divergent views. I thank Yossi Alpher for granting us permission to reprint the exchange in full.

Information regarding subscriptions to Bitter Lemons is available at

Albany Times Union: "U.S. Jews must raise their voices"

Even though the vast majority of American Jews (87 percent, according to a recent poll by Americans for Peace Now and the Arab American Institute,) believe peace will come through a two-state solution, far too many look at the failure of previous negotiations and can't bring themselves to believe the effort to achieve peace is worth risking their active support.

Washington Post: "West Bank's Jewish 'Outposts' Dig In"

Dror Etkes, who monitored outposts for the Israeli advocacy group Peace Now, said the government is reluctant to take action because, while it officially describes the outposts as unauthorized, it has played a major role in planning, funding and encouraging some of them.
Reactions to Olmert's comments on the outposts came quickly, with Peace Now saying in a statement that "Olmert should stop commentating, accept the responsibility and dismantle outposts."
A Peace Now spokesperson told Israel Radio that "since Olmert took office, not a single outpost has been dismantled. Olmert should stop acting like a commentator and start taking action against illegal outposts."
Q's on Bush visit to Israel and Palestine; Near-term prospects for (Israeli Gov't) coalition stability; and Process for ratification of a peace agreement...

January 14, 2008 - Vol. 9, Issue 19

Ehud vs. Ehud; Israel's Impotent Right; Barghouti Dilemma

APN Commends Bush for Pushing to Advance Mideast Peace

APN commended President Bush for continuing to prod Israeli and Palestinian leaders toward a peace deal, and urged him to follow through with his peacemaking efforts.

Peace Now Ad in Ha'aretz Newspaper 1-11-08

Ad coincided with Bush's first Presidential visit to Israel
Nir was one of the invited contributors to the Middle East Institute's "Viewpoints" newsletter for January
Galia Golan (a founding member of Peace Now) said that the 12-month deadline that President Bush had set for reaching a deal on key issues such as the status of Jerusalem, Palestinian refugees and the final borders of the two states was realistic.

Program on "What Makes an Army Jewish?"

Two IDF veterans speak on "Ethics and Tradition: the IDF in an Age of Checkpoints, Village Sweeps and Targeted Killings"
Made from Jerusalem during his post-Annapolis visit...
One of the petitioners, Peace Now, said Israel had built 122 settlements in the West Bank with official state sanction.
Just days after Pakistan's opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was assassinated, an Israeli rabbi called for Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and other Israel government officials to be executed.

Peace Now Protest at Migron Outpost

Peace Now Demonstration at Migron

Democracy Now: "Peace Group: Israel Seeking to Bar Release of Settlement Report" (Israel/Palestine issue starts 6 minutes into the program and goes for 2 min., 7 sec.)

Outpost Backgrounder

The following report on illegal Israeli outposts is based on several editions of "Settlements in Focus", a semi-monthly publication co-produced by Peace Now and Americans for Peace Now.

APN to Bush: Yes, Outposts Ought to Go; You Ought to Act

APN welcomed President Bush's statement that the Israeli settlement-outposts in the West Bank "ought to go," and urged his administration to make sure that the government of Israel fulfills its commitment to remove the outposts.

In Memory of Benjamin "Bib" Brown

Founder of APN Sarasota Florida died in his 100th year
Americans For Peace Now sent a letter to the U.S. leader Friday urging him to immediately establish a U.S. mechanism to monitor the process, clarify that the "road map" requires both sides to honor their obligations, press both sides to formalize their negotiating teams, and insist that Palestinians fight violence and terror.
With President Bush's first-ever presidential visit to Israel, Peace Now held a demonstration at the largest unauthorized West Bank settlement outpost.

"Second Track Peacemaking": The South African Experience

This week, a significant departure from our usual format. I've recently read a piece by Ron Kraybill, who is Quaker International Affairs Representative in the Middle East and Senior Advisor on Peacebuilding and Diplomacy of the American Friends Service Committee. He blogs at (link has expired)

I've had mixed feelings over the years regarding "second track" peacemaking. But the Kraybill account of the South African experience is, in my view, riveting - and, just maybe, a precedent?

I thank Dr. Kraybill for permitting us to publish his essay here.

Ha'aretz: "Twilight Zone / Five masked men"

The (Peace Now) report adds: "The settlers claim that the land is owned by land dealer Moshe Zar ... We are unable to confirm the ownership claim."
"On the Eve of Bush's Visit, The Time has Come to Remove the Outposts"
About 100 left-wing activists gather near illegal outpost of Migron, call on government to evacuate all illegal outposts and stop construction in territories
According to Peace Now, 75 outposts are built at least partly on private Palestinian land.
It became clear that often the state's own information was incomplete in comparison with the data presented by the U.S. administration or gathered by Peace Now's monitoring staff
Q. What will President George W. Bush's visit to Israel and Palestine accomplish? Q. Israel's indirect negotiations with Hamas seem to turn right now on an Israeli effort to take a more flexible approach toward the release of Palestinian prisoners with "blood on their hands". What is at stake here?

January 7, 2008 - Vol. 9, Issue 18

Write President Bush as he embarks on his first-ever presidential visit...
George W. Bush, on his first presidential visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories, will come to Jerusalem and Ramallah next week as a peace broker, a role he has been dodging for the first seven years of his presidency.
APN urged President Bush, as he prepares for his first presidential visit to Israel and the West Bank, to go beyond rhetoric and ceremonies...
From Shalom Achshav's Secretary General: "In the current state of affairs, the removal of Olmert will bring about general elections, a paralysis of the political system..."

APN Letter to President Bush on eve of Israel visit

"For the first time in almost a decade, this new year begins with hope - hope for real progress toward peace and security for Israel and toward the realization of the Palestinians' dream of a state."

APN Letter to President Bush on eve of Israel visit

"For the first time in almost a decade, this new year begins with hope - hope for real progress toward peace and security for Israel and toward the realization of the Palestinians' dream of a state."

Editorial: "Build trust, not settlements"

It is time for the government to cease granting building permits in the West Bank, including those areas surrounding Jerusalem....

Reuters: "Bush: Israel settlement expansion 'impediment'"

Bush urged the Jewish state to meet its pledge to dismantle unauthorized settler outposts.