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July 2008 Archives

Read APN's Analysis on this major Israeli political development
Peace Now petitioned the High Court of Justice on Tuesday demanding that the IDF remove civilians living in the former central bus station in Hebron, which has been used as an army base since 1983.

JTA: "Poll: Jews down on Lieberman, Hagee"

"On the eve of the (Christians United for Israel conference) event, Americans for Peace Now also asked Lieberman to take a pass."
"This is not about exchanging niceties here and there. This is a situation where the state of Syria is telling the state of Israel that we desire to end this state of war between us..."

Extraordinary APN podcast sparks hope for Syria talks

The interview was a top item in Israel Army Radio's news report and covered prominently by nearly every mainstream news organization.
"Syria's Ambassador to the U.S., Imad Moustapha, Monday told the American branch of Peace Now that a peace deal with Israel, Syria and Lebanon was possible."

The National (UAE): "Israel `chokes' Jordan Valley"

"Peace Now...said the construction, if seems likely, would signal the construction of the first new settlement in more than a decade."
The new round of talks is gearing up a day after Syria's Ambassador to the U.S., Imad Moustapha, told the American branch of Peace Now that Syria is ready to make peace with Israel.
Write Secretary Rice - Tell her that American needs to hold Israel to its commitments to freeze settlement activity
Q's re: Security situation in Jerusalem; A productive Greek-Turk peace process that seems more successful than Israeli-Palestinian.
Syria's ambassador to Washington Imad Moustapha gave a rare interview with a pro-Israel American organization, speaking with APN Spokesman Ori Nir
"The negotiations are a historic opportunity for Israel to make peace, not just with Syria and Lebanon, but with the whole Arab world,"
Peace Now letter: "building in Maskiot is against the commitment of the government not to establish any new settlements and not to expand existing ones."
China Central Television: "Israel plans to build new West Bank settlement" 07-26-2008 Israel's Defense Ministry has revived a plan to build a new Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank. The plan, which had previously been shelved due to U.S. pressure, has drawn condemnation from Palestinians and Israeli human rights groups. Israeli officials said a ministry committee approved the construction of 20 housing units in Maskiot, an abandoned military base in the Jordan Valley, for some of the ...

July 28, 2008 - Vol. 9, Issue 46


Guardian (UK): "Who speaks for American Jews?"

in a June 2007 poll conducted by James Zogby for Americans for Peace Now, 63% of American Jews supported a "settlement freeze" and 81% support Israel-Syria peace negotiations

APN Legislative Round-Up - July 25, 2008

I. Bills and Resolutions; II. Senate FY09 ForOps Bill -- Committee Markup; III. Senate Letter on Iran Interests Section; IV. Specter on the Record on Iran and Syria-Israel Talks; V. Frank Letter to Olmert re: Settlements
Yariv Oppenheimer, head of the Israeli group Peace Now, said pressure on the government from the settler movement often appeared to outweigh international pressure against expansion.
"...there is another potential presidential candidate who could do much today to jump-start Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, without the sides having to wait for foreign mediation."
Syria's ambassador to Washington says that an Israeli peace agreement with Syria would open the door for Israel to comprehensive peace
Syrian Ambassador Imad Mustapha
Syria's ambassador to Washington says that an Israeli peace agreement with Syria would open the door for Israel to comprehensive peace with the Arab world.
Americans for Peace Now said it hoped Saturday's meeting was "the beginning of real engagement rather than an isolated exception."
"Under Secretary Burns' participation in last weekend's Geneva meeting is a step in the right direction if it signals that the Bush Administration has decided to engage with Iran at a senior level ..."

"At What Price, Corporal Shalit?"

[In my last contribution to the preceding round, I said I'd now turn to the Israeli Arab question. But that is, obviously, an ongoing issue, whereas rescue of Corporal Glad Shalit is an immediately urgent question. Accordingly, I turn here to that matter, postponing consideration of the Arab question for another time.]

Negotiations between Israel and Hamas (via Egypt) regarding the freeing of Corporal Gilad Shalit, now a Hamas prisoner for more than two years, continue. It is difficult to know whether a resolution is close or even whether it is likely. There are considerations that point in different directions, and even thinking about the matter is complicated by the anguished debate that surrounds the recent negotiations with Hezbollah that led to the return of the bodies of Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser and the freeing of Samir Kuntar and others.

July 21, 2008 - Vol. 9, Issue 45

Instead of a tour, a confrontation ensued between settlers, police and individuals from the tour outside the city, where police and soldiers were waiting to turn the buses around.
Q's re: The return of the remains of two Israeli soldiers related to the status of UN Res. 1701; Number and status of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel

APN Legislative Round-Up - July 18, 2008

I. Bills and Resolutions; II. Notification of Defense Deals with Israel; III. CUFI in DC; IV. Yes, Another Iran Sanctions Bill; V. State Department Responds to Price-LaHood Letter; VI. Sen. Kucinich Eulogies a true Peace-Maker

APN July Ad - 2008

American friends of Israel are looking forward to CHANGE AND LEADERSHIP THEY CAN BELIEVE IN.

APN to Members of Congress: Don't Speak at Hagee Event

APN issued an action alert, urging its activists in the states and districts of Senator Lieberman and Reps. Engel and Pence to contact their elected officials and ask them not to speak at the event, which opens Sunday.
"Israel is struggling to persuade America to help it negotiate peace with an Arab state? Unfortunately, yes."

Wall Street Journal: "It's Time to Talk to Syria"

"To support Israel and isolate Iran, President George W. Bush should offer direct support for the Israeli-Syrian initiative."
Among those calling on lawmakers to turn down the proposed resolution is Americans for Peace Now, a dovish Jewish group that is pushing for a peaceful solution to the standoff with Iran.
The resolution, introduced by Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-NY) and Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), initially gathered more than 230 cosigners, but several backed away after Americans for Peace Now and other groups argued that the resolution called for a virtual naval blockade of Iran.

Open the "Forward" - Support Americans for Peace Now

The National Jewish Newpaper "The Forward" is offering a special subscription rate and will donate to APN for every subscription
In a letter sent to Rice on July 15, APN and six other pro-Mideast peace groups wrote that "Peace and a better future for both Israelis and Palestinians will depend on an educated and productive Palestinian community."

APN & Coalition Letter on Gaza Students to Sec. Rice

We strongly urge that the United States broaden its diplomatic efforts in order to persuade Israel to permit the travel of all students whose travel presents no genuine security threat.

Jerusalem Post: "Ariel gets OK for 27 new factories"

"Everyday, the Annapolis process is becoming more virtual than it was before," said Peace Now executive director Yariv Oppenheimer.

July 14, 2008 - Vol. 9, Issue 44

Q's re: Direction/options for Iran's nuclear program, and Israe's stake in French President Sarkozy's "Union for the Mediterranean"?

APN Legislative Round-Up - July 11, 2008

I. Bills and Resolutions; II. State-of-Play of H. Con. Res. 362; III. APN on H. Con. Res. 362; IV. Ackerman on H. Con. Res. 362; V. Hearings and Markups; VI. Spotlight on Israel-Europe Relations; VII. Kirk, Harman Push Missile Defenses for Israel

The Economist: "The battle for the territories"

Peace Now, a veteran peace organisation, is inviting people who have never been to the West Bank to take one-day tours of the settlements, checkpoints, separation barrier, segregated road system (some roads for Israelis, others for Palestinians) and other paraphernalia that support Israel's presence in the occupied territories.

APN Fact-Finding Mission to Israel - 2008 Report

The June 14-20 trip included meetings with top Israeli and Palestinian leaders, as well as visits to key locations
APN commended Rep. Robert Wexler (D-FL) and Barney Frank (D-MA) for courageously distancing themselves from a controversial Iran sanctions resolution that some interpreted as demanding a blockade on Iran...

Now and again, I step aside to enable someone else to take the lead in our conversation. This time, I do so with both pleasure and trepidation. Our guest is Bernard Chazelle, whose essay is a very dark and at the same time enlightening essay on Israel/Palestine. It appeared in Counterpunch last month; I am happy that Professor Chazelle has enabled us to reprint it here.

Why Israel Won't Accept a Two-State Solution


"...the plan has met with severe criticism by Peace Now."
Ofran talks about Peace Now's tours that she is leading to the West Bank to educate Israelis on the spiraling settlement activity there.
Ofran talks about Peace Now's tours that she is leading to the West Bank to educate Israelis on the spiraling settlement activity there. The first trip, earlier this week, was met by violent settlers who threw rocks on Peace Now's chartered busses shattering windows.
"The blood boils, the stomach clenches at the sight of Efrat Onterman, the baby who in an instant became an orphan on Wednesday...."
"...I am not willing to leave even the 'slightest crack' open for this president to unilaterally set this nation down another disastrous path of war in Iran."
Urge Members of Congress to Oppose Passage of H. Con. Res. 362
"(my) army service took me to the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict....I am writing to enlist your support in ending the stalemate..."

July 7, 2008 - Vol. 9, Issue 43

Q. What does Egypt hope to accomplish with Hamas in Gaza? Q. What is at stake in prisoner exchanges with Hamas and Hezbollah?
(Peace Now's) Hagit Ofran argues that the barrier was designed not only to protect Israel but also to protect many of the settlers, who are now included within the barrier's reach.

Ynet: "Peace Now organizes settlement tours"

A first tour to settlements and outposts in the Binyamin region was held over the weekend with 80 participants.
"The Defense Minister is giving the settlers everything they ask for and is avoiding any confrontation with them," said Hagit Ofran, who heads the Peace Now settlement-watch team.

Boston Advocate: "Peace Now"

"Yariv Oppenheimer, the 32-year-old director of Shalom Achshav - Peace Now in Israel, met us for coffee on Emek Refaim in Jerusalem..."

New York Jewish Week: "All Eyes On Ofra"

The petition could establish a troubling precedent because it relies on official West Bank land registries obtained from the government by Peace Now
Peace Now Secretary General Yariv Oppenheimer said: "In an attempt to cling to every spot, the settlers are breaking new records and importing settlers from foreign countries.
England's first professor of Israel studies was a founder of the British Friends of Peace Now

Four Observations from Israel

How to summarize a 16-day visit to Israel that was half political and half personal?

Four observations:

1. As I have been writing with ever-greater emphasis, political conversation is at the barest minimum. Save for the political class itself and the passionate few on either side of the spectrum, people are not tuned in at all. And the reason for that, I am convinced, is that there is nothing new to say. Nothing. Everything that can be said has been said, over and over. Does it really matter whether there are 550 check-points and barriers or 600? Even the announcement of thousands of new building permits elicits no more than a yawn. Sarkozy makes a very bold speech to the Knesset, affirming France's enduring friendship towards Israel, denouncing Iran, and stating, quite emphatically, that there must be no more expansion of the settlements - and beyond taking vague notice that he has come and he has gone, little of substance is reported, less registers. (The splash of his drop-dead gorgeous wife is another matter.) The newspapers continue to scream their headlines, outrages of corruption here, new threats to Israel's safety there, but it is as if they are trying to rouse a somnolent public. And who can say the public is wrong to display such massive indifference to daily events? News of corruption and threats is anything but new, hence not really news, Peace with Syria? Let's wait to see whether the spastic talks go anywhere before we let ourselves get excited, before we become emotionally invested. Four members of the Knesset go to Hebron to assert the right to witness the indecency of Jewish settlement in the city's heart, and very hot water is poured on them. The event is not regarded as worth reporting at all.