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March 2008 Archives

June, 2008: See the Rabbis' thoughtful letter...

March 31, 2008 - Vol. 9, Issue 30

Settlement Freeze a Farce; Missing an Opportunity; No Unity for Palestinians; Arab League Recommits to Peace Initiative; A New Saudi Peace Initiative
Peace Now said Israel was undermining negotiations by repeating one of its "worst mistakes" -- building on disputed land while holding peace talks.
Go HERE to watch the March 31, 2008, headline news from Israel's which begins with a feature on settlement building.
On Peace Now's report...

NEW - Peace Now Settlement Report (3/31/08)

"The Settlement Freeze is Dead" -- See all the details -- including photos, charts, and more -- on the current building and planning
Peace Now spokesman Yariv Oppenheimer called the U.S. pressure on Israel "very positive."
Q. ...Why is it so difficult for Israel to dismantle checkpoints? Q. can we justify allocation of resources in unproven technologies designed to neutralize weapons that do relatively little damage?
Peace Now: "The Settlement Freeze is dead" - Coverage in Jerusalem Post, Israel Channel 10, Ha'aretz, JTA

National Journal: "The Fatal Embrance"

Cover feature story on the status of the peace process...

National Journal: "Riding Herd On The Wild West Bank"

Acting as Peace Now's one-person "Settlement Watch," Hagit Ofran chronicles the growth of the Israeli settlements and illegal outposts that dot the occupied territories, and their effect on the Palestinians living there.
Discussing recent polls that indicate the hardening of Palestinian public opinion is the Director General of an independent Ramallah-based polling firm.

Every Mideast peace plan acknowledges that the actual cost of resettling a substantial number of Israeli settlers in the West Bank will be very high. That is so whether they are resettled in pre-1967 Israel or in settlement blocs that may remain intact according to agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. It is generally assumed that those costs will in large measure be picked up by America and the EU.

APN to honor Al Stern at March 27th event...

March 24, 2008 - Vol. 9, Issue 29

Renewed Promises to Back Fayyad; Little Progress Since Annapolis; Bibi's Boondoggles; Israeli-sanctioned Settlement Construction Continues
Q's on first trilateral US-Israel-Palestinian Authority meeting on the Road Map, which was initiated by Condoleezza Rice, and Merkel visit re: Israel's security...

This Passover -- Reject Hate, Embrace Hope

APN provides a special reading to include in your Passover Seder...
...ultra-Orthodox, who constitute the fastest-growing portion of the West Bank settler population, according to figures from Peace Now and Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics.
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni's speech at Harvard University on the policy of settlement expansion points more than anything to the increasing gap between the government's public stance on the matter and the reality on the ground.

March 17, 2008 - Vol. 9, Issue 28

American Involvement Now; Hamas on the Rise; Rethinking Rocket Science; Incitement in Israel; Property Rights;
Gershon Baskin and Hanna Siniora of IPCRI, the respected, Jerusalem-based, joint Israeli-Palestinian think tank aimed at resolving the conflict.
Q. What is the fate of the ceasefire in Gaza?... Q. What are Israel's possible responses to the threat of rockets fired by non-state actors...?
Ask them to raise their voices against incitement, violence, revenge; in favor of responsible, law abiding behavior

APN Legislative Round-Up - March 14, 2008

I. Bills, Resolutions, and Dear Colleagues; II. Rice Testifies at ForOps Subcommittee; III. ALLMEP on the Hill; IV. Ackerman on the Gaza Situation; V. Reps. Lee, Capuano and Kucinich on the Record on H. Res. 951;

APN Letter to America's Chief Rabbinical Associations

APN called on U.S. rabbis to "raise your voices, loud and clear, against incitement and violence...and revenge, in favor of responsible, law abiding behavior."

Mourning, Again

Mourning, again.

And then: Want to unite the Jewish people? Lots of luck. Below, you will find some - just some - of the currently 24,300 items that come up when you Google "reactions to yeshiva killings." The blogosphere careens all over the place, and I begin with some reasonably (if largely unreasonable) examples, most neither requiring nor deserving comment. I turn then to a few of the more substantial responses and consider their meaning and import.

APN - Purim: A Time for Reason

Distinguishing fantasy from the often dismal reality of the Middle East takes clear eyes and a sober commitment to pragmatism. That's exactly what Americans for Peace Now (APN), the American counterpart to Israel's Peace Now movement, possesses.on Purim, and every day of the year.

Bring Israelis and Palestinians together

More settlements - or, heaven forbid, more terrorism - is the wrong response to terrorists, who seek to derail the peace process. The right answer is to fight harder for peace
Top Labor officials have been quiet on the issue until now, with the only criticism from within the party coming from Peace Now general-secretary Yariv Openheimer, who ran for a Knesset seat with the party in the last election.
Initial plans exist to link the West Bank settlement of Adam with an expansion project of 400 units in east Jerusalem's Neveh Ya'akov neighborhood, according to Peace Now.

LA Times: "The Israel litmus test" by Aaron David Miller

Why do so many American Jews demand unwavering commitment to Israel from their politicians?
The former member of Israel's negotiating team, suggests a regional approach accompanied by stronger peacemaking efforts, says a ceasefire is a possibility, and urges a more active U.S. role.

APN Newsletter - Spring 2008

Includes: Reflections on Israel at 60, News Shorts, Book Reviews, and Photo Gallery
Exposition on settlements using Peace Now Settlement Watch Report data

AFP: "Israel okays expansion of West Bank settlement"

The head of Israel's main anti-settlement group Peace Now, Yariv Oppenheimer, said "This is a scandalous decision that will affect the negotiations with the Palestinians," he told AFP. "This government, which has pledged to dismantle settlements, has done nothing but reinforce them."

Forward: "Palestinians Question Own Advocacy Group"

Ori Nir, a spokesman for Americans for Peace Now, said that ATFP's "moderate, pragmatic views" have opened "exciting opportunities" for partnership.

Press Coverage of "Breaking The Silence" Exhibit

Articles covering APN co-sponsored exhibit from local and national media outlets, including the Forward, Nation, Harvard Crimson, and the Boston and Philly Jewish newspapers

March 10, 2008 - Vol. 9, Issue 27

Zohar, a former member of Israels negotiating team, suggests a regional approach accompanied by stronger peacemaking efforts, says a ceasefire is a possibility, urges a more active U.S. role.
Q's re: strategic significance of terrorist attack on Merkaz HaRav yeshiva, and the dawn of a new era in Israel-Hamas relations?

APN Legislative Round-Up - March 7, 2008

I. Bills, Resolutions, and Dear Colleagues, II. Congress Condemns Gaza Rockets, III. Schiff, Wolf Take Aim at U.S. Military Aid to Egypt, IV. APN on the Gaza Escalation, V. On the Record on H. Res. 951, VI. H. Res. 951-- Text

People's Weekly: "Calls grow for Israel-Hamas truce"

Ori Nir, a spokesperson for Americans for Peace Now, said such steps are essential to a longer-term solution. "If the chief objective is to go on with the peace process, then an approach of escalation, isolation, belligerence, does not serve that goal,"

Middle East Times: "The Gaza Escalation"

The APN statement was published as an op-ed
APN strongly denounced the terrorist attack at the Merkaz Ha-Rav Yeshiva in Jerusalem.
A robust discussion over the question of engaging Hamas and the desirability of reaching a ceasefire is occurring in Israel...
APN encourages discussions in Washington that are happening in Israel on engaging Hamas for the purposes of a cease-fire

Ma'ariv: "Talk Now" op-ed by Avraham Tirosh

"The... more realistic solution, although not without its own problems, is a dialogue and agreement with Hamas for a long-term cease-fire."
Please call on the Bush Administration to support efforts to reach a ceasefire, stabilize Gaza, and re-build Palestinian national unity.

JTA: "For Rice, it always comes back to Gaza"

Article references APN's statement urging the Bush administration and Israel to engage with Hamas toward the cease-fire that a majority of Israelis favor...
Isaacson is chief executive of the Aspen Institute and chairs the U.S.-Palestinian Partnership.

JTA: "Abdullah presses for U.S. engagement"

APN was represented at a meeting with King Abdullah and Jewish leaders
A Hamas-Israel ceasefire is needed to stop the violent escalation, save innocent lives both in Israel and in the Gaza Strip, and save the Annapolis peace process from collapse.
Brym of the U. of Toronto found the main motivation is revenge, not religious zeal, sheer madness or a grand strategic scheme.

The Nation: "Israeli Army Vets Speak Out"

On the "Breaking The Silence" exhibition in the U.S., co-sponsored by APN
Peace Now's demo was held outside the Israel Ministry of Defense in Tel Aviv proclaiming "there is no military solution to the Qassams"
May 7th event features a memorial service and star-studded cultural performance at Radio City Music Hall

Mother Jones: "Israel's Mossad, Out of the Shadows"

Former Israeli intelligence chief Efraim Halevy explains why he advocates talks with Hamas

March 3, 2008 - Vol. 9, Issue 26

Operation Hot Winter; Talking to Hamas; Diplomacy Now; What Happens in Gaza, Doesn't Stay in Gaza
Q's relate to Olmert's strategy, objectives, and impact on Israeli communities due to escalation of IDF's operations in Gaza