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March 2009 Archives

Moving forward can involve risk. But standing still can bring disaster.
The resolution encourages "continued United States efforts to foster constructive initiatives to resolve existing conflicts and mitigate current and emerging threats to a just and lasting Middle East peace"
The resolution encourages "continued United States efforts to foster constructive initiatives to resolve existing conflicts and mitigate current and emerging threats to a just and lasting Middle East peace"

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:

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.

APN Challenges Netanyahu Government to Pursue Peace

APN today wished success to Netanyahu's government and challenged it to make pursuit of peace with the Palestinians and with Syria a top priority.

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!

APN joins with Jewish, Arab American and religious based organizations in encouraging Congress to take immediate action in fulfilling its pledge

March 30, 2009 - Vol. 10, Issue 29


Peace Now unveils New T-Shirt about Jerusalem

Using the wordplay of "Beer" and "Capitol" being the same word in Hebrew, the shirt says "Two Beers/Capitols for Two Peoples"
Dr. Novik is Senior Vice President of the Merhav Companies, an advisor to the Israeli National Security Council and Chairman of the Economic Cooperation Foundation. He served as the chief foreign policy advisor to Prime Minister Shimon Peres.
Write your representative about this timely resolution of the importance of the Israel-Egypt peace treaty and the example it set

APN Legislative Round-Ups - March 20 & 27, 2009

1. Bills and Resolutions; 2. APN Commentary on New Israeli Government (blog posting); 3. APN Op-Ed: "Where Is Abba Eban When We Need Him?" (Baltimore Sun)

What a settlements freeze means, the likelihood of one being implemented, and the relevant actions that the Government of Israel can and should take.

A reflection on knee-jerk propagandists

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.

New York Times Editorial: "Being a Partner for Peace"

Benjamin Netanyahu is offering what sounds like a tantalizing commitment. He said that his government will be a "partner for peace."

Bibi "Partner for Peace"? Hold him to his Words!

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.

Peace Now issued a statement saying "Barak flaunts the rule of law. In the past few years, he has become the settlers' darling."
"...along with Jewish supporters from the Hadash and Meretz parties and Peace Now, who were also protesting the march."

Will the High Court hold its ground?

Monday's Middle East Peace Report covered the revelation that Defense Minister Ehud Barak did not intend to demolish illegally constructed settlement buildings in Ofra anytime soon.

Go HERE to see the video of this program held in Washington, D.C., on March 20, 2009, sponsored by Middle East Progress, Americans for Peace Now and American Task Force on Palestine.

Coming to terms with the war in Gaza

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.

March 23, 2009 - Vol. 10, Issue 28


APN Passover Haggadah Insert - 2009

Each year, APN provides language which can be added to the reading of the Haggadah at Passover.

Ilan Paz (Brig. General, Ret.) visits L.A. for APN

The security and peace process expert came to L.A. especially for programs and meetings organized by APN
The Israeli security and peace process expert, visiting the U.S., discusses prospects for peace given Israeli and Palestinian political situations

APN Passover Ad

It takes the courage and foresight of a Nachshon to step into uncertain waters and to realize that standing still is not an option...
Q. What's holding up formation of the Netanyahu government? Q. How do you explain the failure of negotiations to free IDF soldier Gilad Shalit?
"If he is going to be the face of Israel around the world," said Yariv Oppenheimer, director-general of the leftist lobbying group Peace Now, "then I don't think this is the right thing to do."
The Israeli security and peace process expert, visiting the U.S., discusses prospects for peace efforts given Israeli and Palestinian political situations
Washington, D.C. - Come to a presentation and discussion with the veteran analyst, advisor to the Oslo negotiations, Geneva Initiative participant, and author
The event will be at Congregation Beth Elohim in Brooklyn
The Olmert government, seen as moderate and pragmatic, didn't succeed in reaching or even taking a single step toward a solution to the conflict in the national arena.
Mr. Netanyahu cannot bring himself to utter the words "two-state solution." Mr. Lieberman is a serial provocateur who has called for the execution of Arab members of parliament...
"But according to the 'Peace Now' movement, this settlement (Betar Illit) grew by eight per cent in the last year."
According to the Israeli group Peace Now, which closely tracks settlements, the Israeli government is planning to build more than 73,000 housing units in the West Bank, doubling the settler population there.

AFP: "Two Israeli policemen shot dead in West Bank"

On March 2 the anti-settlement group Peace Now said Israel's housing ministry has plans that would nearly double the number of settlers in the territory.

New op-ed: The vision of Israel's new government

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,0,2793131.story

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.

March 16, 2009 - Vol. 10, Issue 27

A moderated discussion to examine key issues -- how to best rebuild Gaza, avoid strengthening Hamas while bolstering Palestinian moderates, and United States engagement
Evaluation of Olmert as prime minister? Foreign governments and Lieberman? Are we on the verge of dramatic changes in the Israeli-Palestinian sphere?

APN Legislative Round-Up - March 13, 2009

1. Bills and Resolutions; 2. Omnibus Update - Final; 3. Congress Continues to Weigh in on Palestinian Aid; 4. Senators Leahy and Gregg on Kyl Amendments; 5. APN arguments against Omnibus Amendments; 6. APN Policy Statement: Time for Rational Approach in the Israeli-Palestinian Arena

JTA: "You can't trust those e-mails"

Americans for Peace Now is glad that two Middle East-related amendments to the appropriations bill failed -- and a third was withdrawn...
The retired Israeli intelligence officer writes: "...Israel cannot stop the rockets - or make peace - with military power alone."
The retired Israeli intelligence officer writes: "While Israel's military must be second to none, Israel cannot stop the rockets - or make peace - with military power alone."
The time has come for the U.S. to establish a serious political process to deal with the core issues, including a smarter policy regarding Hamas.
The time has come for the U.S. to establish a serious political process that can deal with the core issues at stake in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including a smarter policy regarding Hamas.

Encourage Obama's Continued Leadership

Send letters to the editor using APN's online system that provides a sample email/letter and will generate contact information for your local media outlets

APN: Obama off to Good Start in the Middle East

Halfway through the Obama Administration's first 100 days, President Barack Obama is off to a strong and very promising start in the Middle East, taking action on many of the central items suggested in APN's Blueprint.
Brzezinski praises Obama for his first Mideast policy steps and highlights increasing influence of pro-Israel, pro-peace advocacy groups in Washington
"Yesterday, a large number of Senators set politics aside and did the right thing with respect to the Middle East, rejecting amendments that were not only gratuitous but potentially counter-productive."
A colloquial Hebrew expression says "not every day is Purim," which can be translated loosely to "you can't fool all the people all the time."
Such actions "demolish not only brick-and-mortar structures but also the prospects for peace," the group's leaders said in a letter to the secretary...

APN Letter to Secretary Clinton

Read APN's March 9th letter in support of the Secretary of State's comments against the demolition of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem

March 9, 2009 - Vol. 10, Issue 26


Not Every Day is Purim

(The following article has been sent for syndication by U.S. Jewish weeklies)


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.

Iran's nuclear weapons capability? Prospects of Likud-Kadima unity gov't? Talking peace with Syria? Why did PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad resign?

The Middle East Gets Caught Up in the Omnibus Battle

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:

Dear XXXX,

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.

"Syria plays a key role with respect to stability in the region and Israel's security," said Debra DeLee, president of Americans for Peace Now

APN Says on Purim: "Who are they kidding?"

Distinguishing fantasy from the often dismal reality of the Middle East takes clear eyes and a sober commitment to pragmatism.

APN Legislative Round-Up - March 6, 2009

1. Bills and Resolutions; 2. FURTHER UPDATE on Omnibus in the Senate; 3. Congress on $900 million aid for Palestinians; 4. Chairman Kerry on the Kyl Amendment
Such sentiments were echoed on the eve of Clinton's visit by the left-wing Israeli movement Peace Now, which issued a report condemning new settlement plans.

Ma'ariv: "Who's Afraid of Lieberman"

APN's Ori Nir: "There is great concern here, not about the image that this will create for Israel, but about the real way that this will affect Israel's national security."

APN Welcomes U.S. Reengagement with Syria

APN welcomed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's announcement that two senior U.S. officials will soon travel to Damascus to explore America's future relations with Syria.
"We believe that if such plans are going to be implemented, this could really prevent a two-state solution and actually any solution to our conflict. And this is why we call the new government not to approve any new construction anywhere in the West Bank whatsoever."
The (Peace Now settlement) report, clearly issued to coincide with Mrs. Clinton's arrival, said some 6,000 new units had been approved and another 58,000 were awaiting approval.
See coverage from: JTA, BBC, AFP, Israel Army Radio, Reuters, New York Times, Ha'aretz, Jerusalem Post, Guardian, Xinhua

JTA: "Dovish groups back Feinstein peace letter"

Americans for Peace Now has rallied support for the letter initiated by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.)
Construction of 73,300 housing units in the West Bank are being planned...