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August 2008 Archives

The first question during the press conference Condoleezza Rice and Tzippi Livni held yesterday was about a Peace Now report...
"Settlement growth said to double; Rice calls West Bank projects 'not helpful'"
"It is inconsistent," said Noam Shelef of Americans for Peace Now, which supports an Israeli group opposed to settlement in the West Bank, where some 2.5 million Palestinians live.
"...when asked about the report (Rice) she has told Israeli officials that such building does not advance the cause of peace."
APN President & CEO Debra DeLee: "Every house built in a West Bank settlement makes Israeli-Palestinian peace more difficult to reach"
The report indicates that construction has nearly doubled in 2008; Secretary of State Rice "Israeli settlement activity is not helpful."
Ofran discusses the new Settlement Watch Report entitled "Israel Is Eliminating the Green Line And Continuing to Build in the Isolated Settlements"
"Israel Is Eliminating the Green Line And Continuing to Build in the Isolated Settlements"
Q. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice arrives in Israel and Palestine on August 25 for another periodic visit devoted to monitoring the peace process. Where does the Olmert government stand on the relevant issues? Q. Rice reportedly wants the Israeli and Palestinian governments to agree to publish a document laying out their areas of agreement. Is this likely to happen?

August 25, 2008 - Vol. 9, Issue 49


Israel & Iran: Will It, Won't It? Should It, Shouldn't it?

1. "We don't say yes or no to Israeli military operations. Israel is its own sovereign. We are in close contact with Israel and we talk about the diplomatic track we're on... They've said diplomacy can work here, and I know they're doing their part to talk with all countries with which they have diplomatic relations to explain why it is important to have a tough edge to our diplomacy." Those were the words of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on August 7th, and it was reasonable to take them as a green light to those in Israel who advocate for an Israeli attack on Iran's nuclear installations. They came in the lingering and sour aftermath of widespread reports that the United States had effectively vetoed any unilateral Israeli action, and diverse signs that the US itself was moving to a more nuanced Iran policy. In particular, Prime Minister Olmert had written a letter of alarm to President Bush towards the end of July, a letter protesting the American rapprochement with Iran and expressing Israel's profound anxiety at the imminent existential threat of Iran's nuclear ambitions.

So the Rice statement could be seen as reassurance. If Israel was so disposed, America would not intervene to stop it.

Americans for Peace Now, a Jewish Zionist organization, and the American Task Force on Palestine, an Arab American organization, teamed up to sponsor the Partners for Peace internship program
Peace Now director-general Yariv Oppenheimer said he strongly opposed the arrangement because of the length of time it would take for Migron to be dismantled.
"The government caved in to settlers who threatened to use violence if they are evacuated while they illegally occupy private Palestinian land," said Peace Now's Yariv Oppenheimer
This special offer to receive the Academy Award winning film is done to honor filmmaker Ari Sandel, who will receive APN's Cine-Peace Award

CINE-PEACE Event held on September 22, 2008

The event screened four films and included the presentation of the CINE-PEACE Award to filmmaker Ari Sandel
How relevant is the Russia-Georgia fighting to Israel and its strategic interests?
The Russia-Georgia war: lessons for Israel

August 15, 2008 Vol. 9, Issue 47


"They Say, We Say"

You've heard the arguments of the religious and political right-wing, and so have we. They've had their say. Now, we'll have ours.
Strategic implications of further consolidation of Hamas rule in Gaza; Paradox of Israel negotiating with Syria while contemplating military action

Baskin "Is it all lost?"and Benn "This is the potential"

Gershon Baskin, below, writes a depressing column that will come as no surprise to our readers. Rather than add to our gloom, I share with you as well a rather upbeat appraisal by Aluf Benn - a lengthy interview with General Keith Dayton, the U.S. security coordinator for the Palestine Authority. It appeared in Ha'aretz on August 8.

Yariv Oppenheimer, Director of Peace Now, agreed that the effectiveness of the gesture depends on the number of prisoners released and their identities.
A visit organized by Peace Now three weeks ago, with about 250 participants, was forbidden to enter Hebron.
Tours of the land of the settlers are a vital necessity for anyone who wants to learn about what is happening around him. Anyone who goes out in the field understands immediately that the problem does not lie in the so-called "illegal" outposts.

Peace Now challenges settlers at every turn

Settlers and their allies may be trying to take advantage of the political transition period in Israel to further expand settlements.
Author Noa Nir, APN intern and daughter of APN Spokesman Ori Nir, participated in APN's Fact Finding Mission to Israel
Is Israel serious about wanting peace? Plans approved last week by Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak for a new settlement in the Jordan Valley provide ammunition for those who argue that the answer is no.
Learn more about this significant development
Maskiyot Settlement
"Yariv Oppenheimer of Peace Now said, 'We think this harms the peace process.'"
Author Noa Nir, APN intern and daughter of APN Spokesman Ori Nir, participated in APN's Fact Finding Mission to Israel
Hagit Ofran of Peace Now (said) the police had stopped some 250 of their activists from entering the section of Hebron under Israeli control on July 18
8/5/08: The Israeli political situation with Olmert's impending resignation is discussed in depth
The Israeli political situation given Olmert's impending resignation is discussed by Eldar, who also responded to questions
Is Israel serious about wanting peace? Plans approved last week by Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak for a new settlement in the Jordan Valley provide ammunition for those who argue that the answer is no.

Israel News Report on Peace Now's Migron Protest

Go HERE to see the 22-second clip of Peace Now's demonstration as reported on Israel's Channel 1 News (in Hebrew) See below or go HERE to read an article on this issue (in English) Jerusalem Post: "Migron settlers seek legal legitimacy" Jul. 31, 2008 Tovah Lazaroff , THE JERUSALEM POST Settlers in the unauthorized Migron outpost turned to the Jerusalem Magistrates Court this week in hopes of staving off the evacuation of their small hilltop community, erected during 2002 in the Judean ...
Q's re: Syrian Ambassador Moustapha's interview to APN signalling an escalated peace offensive, and on Olmert's legacy...
Freezing peace talks now would send the wrong message, Americans for Peace Now warned.

APN Legislative Round-Up - August 1, 2008

I. Bills and Resolutions; II. Update - H. Con. Res. 362 and S. Res. 580; III. CUFI Comes to D; IV. HCFA/MESA Hearing on Lebanon

Jerusalem Post: "Migron settlers seek legal legitimacy"

The state had already agreed in September 2007 to delay the evacuation order it had issued in response to a petition by Peace Now.
Ori Nir, communications director of Americans for Peace Now, interviewed Imad Moustapha (audio), Syria's U.S. ambassador, about the current Syria-Israel peace negotiations ...
"I feel that we missed a big opportunity to do something significant in the Middle East with Olmert," Yariv Oppenheimer, Peace Now Secretary General
Hagit Ofran, who heads the settlement watch project for the left-wing Israeli group Peace Now, says the decision to build permanent buildings will change the character of the settlement.
"... the activist Peace Now movement has asked the Supreme Court to immediately expel the settlers"

"Or not" - The Post-Olmert Possibilities

Prime Minister Olmert's announcement that he will not compete in the Kadimah primaries on September 17th has generally been greeted on the Israeli Left with a version of "it's about time." True, the end of Olmert's political career, which began with his misbegotten and misdirected Lebanon war and has been hastened by the mounting allegations of his personal corruption, has for some time now seemed imminent. And there's inevitably a sense of relief when the other shoe finally drops.

Still, I cannot recall a time when I have more strongly felt the validity of the familiar caution - "be careful what you wish for."