March 2009 Archives
Today, the House of Representatives passed H. Res. 282, a resolution introduced March 24, 2009 8th by Reps. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) and Keith Ellison (D-MN) in honor of the 30th anniversary of the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel." This timely resolution, which passed by a vote of 418-1, is reminder of the importance of the Israel-Egypt peace treaty and, in the words of the resolution, the example it set of "reconciliation following decades marked by nearly unremitting tension and confrontation..." APN strongly supported H. Res. 282 from the time of its introduction, mobilizing APN supporters to contact their representatives and urge them to support the measure (see our Action Alert at: http://www.peacenow.org/updates.asp?rid=0&cid=6081).
APN commends Reps. Fortenberry and Ellison for introducing H. Res. 282 and applauds the leadership of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, as well as House leaders, for recognizing the value of this resolution and acting swiftly to bring it to the floor for passage.
Today the Newsweek-Washington Post site (PostGlobal) has an op-ed by me (Lara Friedman) and Hagit Ofran, my Israeli colleague at Peace Now who runs Peace Now's Settlement Watch. Enjoy!
What a settlements freeze means, the likelihood of one being implemented, and the relevant actions that the Government of Israel can and should take.
Haaretz's Anshel Pfeffer penned a powerful critique today of the knee-jerk Israel propagandists, for whom it is always easier to "blame the messenger" than to explore and internalize troubling Israeli actions.
Many have predicted in recent days that Binyamin's Netanyahu's premiership - he is expected to be sworn in shortly - means the end of the peace process. How can a prime minister who refuses to utter the phrase "two-state solution" pursue a meaningful peace process with the Palestinians, they ask.
The answer is vigorous encouragement. Encouragement from within Israeli society, which is still solidly supportive of the two-state solution, from within the American Jewish community - also solidly supportive of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza, as recent polls have shown - as well as from the Obama administration and the international community.
Yesterday's Middle East Peace Report covered the discussion in Israel sparked by the statements of Israeli soldiers who served as combatants in the Gaza war this winter. The testimony of these soldiers deserves reading, and it bears mention that there are other similar accounts now being made public.
My new op-ed on the vision for Israel and its relations with the Palestinians was just published in the Baltimore Sun. Here it is
Viewpoint: Where is Abba Eban when we need him?
By Ori Nir
March 18, 2009
Remember Abba Eban?
As Benjamin Netanyahu prepares to (again) become the prime minister of Israel, as hate-monger Avigdor Lieberman prepares to be sworn in as Mr. Netanyahu's foreign minister, and as security hawk extraordinaire Moshe Yaalon prepares to take over the defense ministry, I really miss Abba Eban. I miss Israel's quintessential diplomat, who fought so eloquently and effectively to portray to the world a just, moral and peace-seeking Israel in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.
(The following article has been sent for syndication by U.S. Jewish weeklies)
NOT EVERY DAY IS PURIM
By Ori Nir
A colloquial Hebrew expression says "not every day is Purim," which can loosely be translated to "you can't fool all the people all the time."
Israelis - and many in our pro-Israel community in the U.S. - in the past wanted to believe that Palestinian economic development is the path to resolving Israel's conflict with the Palestinians: If only the Palestinians have full stomachs and some cash in their pockets, they will forget about Israel's occupation of the West Bank, about their land being gradually eaten up by Israeli settlements, about their aspirations for independence and sovereignty being ignored.
The Middle East has gotten caught up in the battle over the FY2009 Omnibus Appropriations bill, currently under consideration in the Senate. Yesterday saw a contentious vote over an amendment offered by Sen. Kyl (R-AZ) calling for new Iran sanctions. That amendment was defeated, but Senate leadership has now agreed to allow four Middle East-related amendments to come to a vote on Monday. For background and information about the current state-of-play on the bill, check out this week's and last week's Legislative Round-Ups. APN's message to Senate staffers opposing the additional four amendments is copied here:
It appears that in the coming days your boss will be asked to vote on four amendments to the FY09 Omnibus Appropriations Bill (HR 1105) related to the Middle East. Americans for Peace Now opposes all of these amendments, viewing them as little more than political grandstanding at the expense of the very important issues at stake for U.S. foreign policy and national security in the region.