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November 2009 Archives

Middle East Peace Report- November 30, 2009

Volume 11, Issue 11

What's in the Freeze?; Freeze is Just a Start; Details Released on Shalit Deal; Looking at Settler Violence; Preparing for Future Settler Violence

Articles re: Settlement Moratorium & Reactions

Times Online (UK): "West Bank settlers carry on building as new freeze is proposed"

YNET: "Yesha Council: West Bank construction freeze illegitimate"

IPS News: "MIDEAST: Settlements "Moratorium" Still Short of Freeze"

Yedioth Ahronoth: "Freeze on a Low Flame"

Yedioth Ahronoth:"Settlers Lay Mock Foundations"
Jerusalem Post: "Peace Now: Settlement freeze 'a historic decision in the right direction" Staff

Peace Now on Thursday voiced support for the settlement construction freeze which Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced Wednesday, calling the move "a historic decision in the right direction."

Analysis of the Settlement Moratorium

Key facts about the settlement moratorium:

Having listened carefully to the comments made today by Prime Minister (link has expired) Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. Envoy George Mitchell, it's clear that Israel committed to stop:
  • New construction starts (including both government and privately-initiated projects), and related infrastructure.
  • Approving future settlement construction.
  • Construction of public buildings (e.g. schools), except for a small number of such buildings.

Israeli Government Announces Settlement Moratorium

Settlement bw and Logo 320x265.JPG
The Israeli government announced on November 25 that it was beginning a 10-month moratorium on new construction in West Bank settlements. 

Americans for Peace Now welcomed the Israeli government's announcement and joined the Obama Administration in hoping that this Israeli decision, backed by good faith, will be sufficient to catalyze new Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.

APN Welcomes Settlement Moratorium Announcement, Urges Good Faith

Settlement bw and Logo 320x265.JPGWashington, DC -- Americans for Peace Now (APN) today welcomed the Israeli government's announcement of a moratorium on most settlement construction and joined the Obama Administration in hoping that this Israeli decision, backed by good faith, will be sufficient to catalyze new Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. Such negotiations are the only real path for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

What to Make of the Settlement Moratorium?

The Israeli government announced on November 25 that it was beginning a 10-month moratorium on new construction in West Bank settlements.

Middle East Peace Report- November 24, 2009

Vol. 11, Issue 10

A Shalit Deal Nearing?; Talking About a Settlement Freeze; Obama Flexes Muscles; East Jerusalem Woes; Israelis Back Talks, Doubt Netanyahu; Defrosting Turkey (-Israel Relations); Time for Syria Talks

Why Peace Now? An Appeal by A.B. Yehoshua


The renowned Israeli author and a founder of Peace Now is one of the most moral voices in Israeli society.

"Israel is capable of doing miraculous things, heroic things. I've seen them happen throughout my life. Surely a country that can do countless heroic things can find a way to peace."

Alpher answers questions about recent IDF troop demonstrations, films about Israel's war experience in Lebanon, and how the fall of the Berlin wall has influenced European attitudes toward the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Authors embrace Peace Now

A. B. Yehoshua is one of a number of Israeli and American literary figures to voice support for Peace Now and APN.

Click here to read Yehoshua's letter: "Why Peace Now?"

A. B. Yehoshua biography

Abraham B. Yehoshua is one of Israel's most articulate moral voices. Born to a fifth-generation Jerusalem Sephardi family, Yehoshua has authored 15 books, as well as short stories, plays and essays.

Among his numerous prizes, Yehoshua was honored with Israel's most prestigious award, the Israel Prize, in 1995.  

He has been described by the New York Times as a "kind of Israeli Faulkner" for his ability to depict the zeitgeist of contemporary Israel.

Rarely shy about his political views, Yehoshua is a vocal critic of the occupation and of West Bank settlements. He has long been a supporter of Peace Now.

Peace Now Ad in Ha'aretz - "No Stone Unturned"

Peace Now Ad - Bulldozer3 186x140.jpgEhud Barak on November 10, 2009: "We will not leave a single stone unturned in the effort to return to negotiations"

Small Text in Picture: "Construction in the settlement of Kiryat Arba (Hebron), October 2009"

APN Legislative Round-Up for the Weeks Ending November 13 & 20, 2009

1.  Bills and Resolutions
2.  Levin Statement on S. Res. 355

Internships at Americans for Peace Now

Americans for Peace Now is seeking interns to assist in our Washington, DC office for the Spring 2010 semester.

Leave No Stone Unturned

Small Text in Picture: "Construction in the settlement of Kiryat Arba (Hebron), October 2009"

The Israeli Peace Now movement today published an ad in the print edition of the Haaretz newspaper taking to task Israeli Defense Minister for his failure to stop settlement construction despite his pro-peace rhetoric.
Richard Goldstone is an antisemitic Jew, Turkey has long since become an Islamic state, the Russians are a disappointment, the Chinese are confused, the Indians are wrong, the Swedes and Norwegians are always against us, and the Americans -- we can do without them.

Like a car going against the traffic on a motorway, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu sees all drivers coming at him as going the wrong way.

Yedioth Ahronoth: "The Pressure is Taking Its Toll"

by Ofer Petersburg -- Officials in the Housing Ministry heard the voices from Washington against the construction in Gilo, and understood: This is not the time to be confrontational.  The issuing of tenders for 1,500 housing units in Pisgat Zeev and Har Homa is being reexamined until the storm blows over.  "We can't be provocative and defiant," explained a senior Housing Ministry official.

LA Times: "Jerusalem housing plan draws U.S. fire"

APN's Lara Friedman: "it will require the investment of serious political capital to stop."


The White House, which is trying to foster peace talks, says it is 'dismayed' by an Israeli housing panel's approval of a plan to build 844 new homes in a part of Jerusalem claimed by Palestinians.

By Richard Boudreaux, Reporting from Jerusalem

Jewish Week: "West Bank Time Share"

by Adam Dickter Assistant Managing Editor

As a retired administrative assistant, Joyce Hawtof doesn't have a lot of money to invest.

But this week, she was considering paying into a fund with other pro-Israel activists to buy a $28,000 mobile home for a West Bank outpost.

Sarah Palin is wrong on settlements (and why it matters).

Moments ago I sent out this call to action to APN's activists.

Gilo Expansion.jpgYNET: "East J'lem neighborhood inaugurated amid controversy"

Politico: "White House rebukes Jerusalem housing plan"

RFI: "EU attacks Israel's expansion plans"

Los Angeles Times: "Jerusalem housing plan draws U.S. fire"

Bibi Goes Nuclear on Jerusalem Settlements

MordotGilo 186x140.jpg

Special analysis from Lara Friedman (Americans for Peace Now) and Danny Seidemann (Ir Amim).

Yesterday Special Envoy Mitchell met with Israeli chief negotiator Yitzhak Molcho in London.

Alpher answers questions about proposed Palestinian plans to unilaterally declare a Palestinian state, Shaul Mofaz's plan for a provisional Palestinian state, and the fifth anniversary of Yasser Arafat's death.

Middle East Peace Report - November 16, 2009

Volume 11, Issue 9

Syria Talks on the Agenda; IDF Chief Backs Syria Track; Push for Israel-Syria Peace; Thou Shall Not Kill?; Investigating Goldstone Charges; Have Plough; Can't Travel; Israelis Back the Right, Want Pragmatism; Palestinian Elections Likely to be Postponed; Undermining the IDF

Settler Rabbis' Guide to Killing Non-Jews (full original Maariv article)

In the wake of the arrest of an American-Israeli settler for murdering Palestinians (and other acts of violence, for which the accused insists that "God is proud of my actions") last week the JTA included a short story about a new book published by a West Bank settler rabbi entitled "The King's Torah."  The book offers far-reaching guidance on when and under what circumstances it is permissable for Jews to kill non-Jews (including children). Haaretz also published its own very short item on the story.  These two English-language stories fail to capture the full story in all its horror -- for that you need the Israeli Hebrew-language press.  So here is the original story from Maariv (translation by Israel News Today).

Articles re: Rightwing Israeli Soldiers' Protests

Right Wing Soldiers Protest 11-16-09 186x140.jpgby Efrat Weiss

Ynet: "Peace Now on soldiers' protest: Rightist leaders should denounce trend"

Peace Now Secretary-General Yariv Oppenheimer commented on the Nahshon Battalion soldiers' protest of settlement eviction and said, "Elements led by the settlers are bringing about an internal mutiny within the Israel Defense Forces and jeopardizing the well-being of the Israeli society."

Oppenheimer noted that right-wing leaders from all parties should go against the phenomenon "before the army loses control over its soldiers with right-wing convictions." (end)

Continue to see related articles:

  • UPI: "Israeli soldiers refuse evacuation"
  • Ha'aretz: "Troops hold up sign at IDF base: We won't evacuate settlers"

Jerusalem Post: "6 soldiers protest Negohot evacuation"

Peace Now secretary-general Yariv Oppenheimer slammed soldiers from the Right who of recent are disobeying more and more orders for political reasons, which is not the wont of the Left, according to Oppenheimer.

by Yaakov Katz and staff

A Short History of Israeli Right Wing Terrorism

YaakovTeitel 186x140.jpg

Yaakov (Jack) Teitel (pictured in Israeli custody) is not the first and probably not the last Israeli terrorist to target Palestinians or Israeli supporters of peace. Furthermore, many of these Jewish terrorists came from the ranks of the West Bank settlers. Read on for a partial list of Israeli groups and individuals who took violent action to sabotage peace.

Iran, the United States, Israel and Nuclear Weapons: Can Diplomacy Work?

with Trita Parsi, PhD

Friday November 20, 2009
3:00 - 4:30pm
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
1779 Massachusetts Avenue
Washington, DC

Sandwiches will be served

Trita Parsi.jpgTrita Parsi, one of America's foremost experts on Iran, is the author of  Treacherous Alliance - the Secret Dealings of Iran, Israel and the United States (2007) which won the Council on Foreign Relations' Arthur Polk Award.  Dr. Parsi has a PhD from Johns Hopkins/SAIS.  He is now the President of the National Iranian American Council, adjunct scholar at the Middle East Insitute and a regular writer and sought-after commentator on Iran. He will speak on the crisis over Iran's nuclear program, the Iranian decision making process, the Iran dimension of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and prospects for a resolving the crisis.

*This event is co-sponsored by Americans for Peace Now, Foundation for Middle East Peace, Churches for Middle East Peace, and the Middle East Institute

RSVP: Foundation for Middle East Peace,, 202-835-3650
By DAVID LAZARUS, Staff Reporter

MONTREAL -- "Every brick" added to existing or new settlements in the "occupied territories" is a "message to Palestinians that Israel is not serious about peace," says the head of Peace Now's Settlement Watch.
The press almost unanimously reported, and pundits almost unanimously agreed, that the Secretary of State's comments in Jerusalem meant that the Obama Administration had retreated on its position that a full settlement freeze was a precondition for negotiations.  This in turn established the now dominant narrative that the Obama Administration's peace effort is an abject failure, that Obama and Mitchell have been bested by Netanyahu, and that the US has caved on settlements.  

The problem is that the premise of this narrative - that the US had demanded a total freeze as a precondition for negotiations - is incorrect.  Neither Obama nor any Obama Administration official ever stated that a full settlement freeze was a precondition for negotiations.  One can debate whether they should have done so, or whether they should have done a better job making clear what the policy was or managing expectations, but it is simply inaccurate to state that this was the Administration's policy.

It should surprise no one that the media and pundits prefer to view Middle East peace effort through a lens of controversy.  Reporting that Mitchell took another trip and held more closed-door meetings is not interesting.  Saying that Clinton went to Jerusalem and nothing happened is not news.  (Likewise, the definition of "unprecedented" is not especially newsworthy.  For the record, the word means "having no previous example" - not, as some seem to think, "laudable," "fantastic," "satisfying our demands" or "consistent with US policy.")
By DAVID LAZARUS, Staff Reporter    

MONTREAL -- "Every brick" added to existing or new settlements in the "occupied territories" is a "message to Palestinians that Israel is not serious about peace," says the head of Peace Now's Settlement Watch.

(translated from Hebrew by Noam Shelef)

Turning the IDF into an "Orange" or "Blue" army that is only willing to implement orders that meet its worldview is a sure recipe for the crumbling of the army and the society.

Oppenheimer visited both Southern and Northern California where his meetings included briefings for APN leaders and supporters, and giving talks for the UCLA Israel Studies Program and to students at UC Berkeley.


Middle East Peace Report - November 9, 2009

Volume 11, Issue 8

Remembering Rabin; Farewell to Abbas? Israel's Partner; Cold Shoulder; The Mofaz Plan; Honoring Kahane? Israeli Public Opinion

Tom Friedman: so wrong (and so glib)

I read Tom Friedman's piece in yesterday's New York Times and I had to smile.   

Why?  Because Friedman (no relation) has become so predictable in his analysis that I actually had already written my response.  

And then I smiled again, because I realized that if you take the piece at face value, Friedman is calling for US punitive action against Israel - cutting off of all aid - that has never been seriously considered and would never be taken.  Or if that is not what he means, then he has been tripped up by his own excessively glib analysis.  My guess is that it is the latter.   

Obama's Rabin Tribute

President Barack Obama delivered a video greeting to the Rabin memorial rally held in Tel Aviv on Saturday night.

Rabin Memorial in Tel Aviv 11-07-09.jpgby Brian Blondy and Jerusalem Post staff

Thousands of people turned out at Tel Aviv's Rabin Square on Saturday night to mark the 14th anniversary of the assassination of prime minister Yitzhak Rabin.

APN Legislative Round-Up for the week ending November 6, 2009

1.  Bills and Resolutions
2.  Playing Partisan Politics with Jerusalem in the 111th Congress
3.  Goldstone Resolution - the vote
4. Goldstone Resolution - statements

Excuse me, your bias is showing...

I subscribe to Aaron Lerner's email list. It's a great way to get a sense of what Israeli right-wingers are thinking and reading. His emails give the impression of objectivity, but every so often his ideological bias glares through.

Honoring Kahane?

When Israeli extremists want to advertise a ceremony to honor the founder of a Jewish terrorist group, it is Peace Now that stops them.

Alpher analyzes some "back to basics" issues in the Middle East peace process, including the roles played by Jerusalem, Gaza, and Syria.

Standing up for Jerusalem

Boy Yelling Sheik Jarrah 320x265.jpgThe settler take-over of a home in the midst of a Palestinian neighborhood of East Jerusalem on Tuesday did not go unanswered. Last night the Israeli Peace Now movement mobilized over a hundred demonstrators to protest at the site.

Barak is feeling Peace Now's pressure

MK Settlement Tour 186x140.jpgPeace Now is generating pressure on Israel's government to make real progress towards peace. That pressure is clearly being felt by Labor leader Ehud Barak, who is slowly losing control of his party.

(MK Daniel Ben-Simon, pictured in the middle, resigned as Labor Party Whip in protest shortly after participating in this Peace Now settlements tour)

Middle East Peace Report - November 2, 2009

Volume 11, Issue 7

The Terrorist; Tough Questions; Lone Wolf?; Barak Under Pressure; Ignore Settlements at Our Own Peril; Americans Back Israel Alliance; Diplomacy With Iran

A friend who reports for a major media organization in the U.S. recently lamented the demands he routinely receives from his editors for instant analysis. "I told an editor that it's too early to tell what my breaking news story meant. He replied that this should not deter me from providing an instant analysis anyway," the reporter said.