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November 2010 Archives

A house isn't always just a house


When Hamas terrorists killed four Israelis in the West Bank in August, the condemnations came from across the Israeli political spectrum. That the dead--one of whom was pregnant--lived in a settlement made the act no less reprehensible, even to those of us who oppose the settlements.

APN SoCal Year-end Dinner & Briefing

Alpher answers questions about how the new Wikileaks revelations affect Israel, and the Knesset passage of the referendum law.

Homes in the area were under Jewish ownership until 1947, and during the two decades of Jordanian rule of the city, they functioned as a wholesale market.

by Chaim Levinson

Articles re: Settlement Provocations in East Jerusalem

Abu Tor Apartment - 186x140.jpgSettlers have moved into two Lowell-owned (a shell company set up on behalf of right-wing groups such as Elad) apartments in East Jerusalem this week, in what appears to be coincidence, though incident a day before led to clashes between Israelis and Palestinians.

See excerpts from and links to:

Ha'aretz: "Israeli settlers win ownership of East Jerusalem home after lengthy battle"
YNET: "Jews move into another east Jerusalem home"
AFP: "Israeli settlers expand presence in east Jerusalem"

(Pictured: 2nd floor settler apartment, above and below Palestinian, in the heart of Arab East Jerusalem's Jabel Mukaber)

"The only reason it was passed was to put more barriers in front of any potential peace agreement. It was tailored to political considerations and not to constitutional ideas and ideals. This is not how constitutional work is done," Sfard said. (Michael Sfard is the attorney who would represent Peace Now)

Two New Settler Provocations in E. Jerusalem - Jabel Mukaber and A-Tur

Peace Now's Hagit Ofran today publishes exclusive details and analysis of the latest settler takeovers in the heart of two East Jerusalem neighborhoods - Jabel Mukaber and A-Tur.

Peace needs advocates, not cynics

obamaisraelflag320x265.jpgBy Lara Friedman 

The Obama administration has offered Israel a substantial package of incentives in exchange (it hopes) for the re-imposition of a (partial) settlement moratorium for 90 days that will (it hopes) permit the re-starting of direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations that, in turn (it hopes), will produce sufficient progress to allow negotiations to continue even after a moratorium lapses. (continues)

APN on the Current State-of-Play: Peace Needs Advocates, Not Cynics

A new APN op-ed addressing the current Obama peace efforts, published last night on Foreign Policy's Middle East Channel.

The Obama administration has offered Israel a substantial package of incentives in exchange (it hopes) for the re-imposition of a (partial) settlement moratorium for 90 days that will (it hopes) permit the re-starting of direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations that, in turn (it hopes), will produce sufficient progress to allow negotiations to continue even after a moratorium lapses.

As everyone knows, there is enormous skepticism and concern about this strategy coming from across the political spectrum (here, here, here, (link has expired), here, here, and here). There is also growing discussion of what "Plan B" should be if/when this gambit fails (here, here, and here). And there are fears that the groundwork is being laid in some quarters to put the responsibility for the anticipated failure of this effort entirely on the Palestinians (see this tweet from AIPAC).

All are eminently rational reactions. The pitfalls of this current plan are myriad. And the Obama administration's Middle East peace record thus far -- two years of well-intentioned but ineffectual cajoling of the parties with no result -- does not inspire confidence.  But if that is all we have to say, then those of us who are committed to peace and security for Israel are falling down on the job.

Alpher answers questions about US-Israeli negotiations for a three-month settlement construction freeze, and the potential impact of an international tribunal indictment against senior Hezbollah officials in the killing of former Lebanese Prime Minister Hariri.

Peace: The Jewish Priority

melchior186x140.pngWhen we at Americans for Peace Now discuss the necessity of the two-state solution for the future of a Jewish and democratic Israel, we typically do so in geopolitical and security terms. We talk about the occupation as a terrible liability that damages Israel's democratic character, its international standing, and, obviously, its ability to live in peace and security with its neighbors.But the impassioned case that we make for peace for Israel stems from our caring about the future of the Jewish national home and its adherence to Jewish values.

APN Legislative Round-up for the Week Ending November 19, 2010

1. Bills and Resolutions
2. Update on House Letter on Jonathan Pollard
3. House Letter to Clinton and Gates Opposing Saudi Arms Deal
4. Yet Another (!) Bizarre Statement from Rep. Gohmert (he hates those Palestinian "illegal settlements") &
5. Text of H. Res. 1731

Ma'ariv: "A Moratorium Game" by Ben-Dror Yemini

There is something odd about the argument over an "additional freeze" and the price that Israel is supposed to pay for it. It is odd because a complete cessation of the settlement enterprise is an Israeli interest. Unless, that is, we insist on striding towards the vision of Moshe Arens, Ruby Rivlin, Ilan Pappe, Tzippi Hotovely, the activists in the Zochrot non-profit organization and many others, from Left and Right, who act in word and deed, with opposed interests, to promote the achievement of their vision of one large state.

Washington, DC -- Americans for Peace Now (APN) today announced the
release of an updated version of its interactive map application for
the iPhone and iPad devices.

The new version updates "Facts on the Ground: APN's Map
Project," the unique interactive mapping tool that APN released in
September. The app gives anyone, anywhere, a comprehensive real-time
view of what is happening on the ground in the West Bank.

By Tony Karon


Netanyahu still has to convince his Cabinet to embrace the deal, and he'll get some pushback from within his party and among settlers who will be furious about a new building slowdown (although the Israeli group Peace Now, which strongly opposes settlements, noted last week that in the six weeks since the last moratorium expired, settlers have started to work on pretty much the same number of housing units as they would have built in the 10 months it covered).

Support APN Through Stock Donations

Stock Ticker 180px.jpgConsider donating to Americans for Peace Now by way of a stock donation. Tax benefits exist -- consult your advisor.

Americans for Peace Now
Brokerage: TD Ameritrade
Account: 881348597
DTC: 0188

The other ways to contribute are HERE to donate online by credit card, or mail your donation to:

Americans for Peace Now
2100 M Street NW, Suite 619
Washington, D.C. 20037

Thank you.

APN Condemns Violence at JVP Event

Americans for Peace Now's President and CEO Debra DeLee today commented on the violent incident that occurred at an event organized by Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) on Sunday in the San Francisco Bay Area.

"People must be able to talk about Israel in an open, safe environment. It is extremely upsetting that Sunday's JVP event was disrupted by a violent incident that involved pepper spray," DeLee said.

APN briefing call on proposed settlement freeze package

Hagit Ofran 186x140.jpgAPN held a briefing call for its supporters and core activists on November 16th to discuss the package of incentives offered by the Obama administration in an effort to extend the settlement freeze by three months. Meanwhile, a new Peace Now report finds that the settlers have managed to eviscerate the impact of the previous ten-month moratorium by starting work on more than 1,600 buildings since the freeze expired six weeks ago. To help make sense of these developments, APN held a briefing call yesterday with Hagit Ofran, director of Peace Now's Settlement Watch project, and Lara Friedman, APN's director of policy and government relations.

Peace Now finds 1,629 settlement construction starts in six weeks

5078.jpgA new report by the Israeli Peace Now movement discloses that enough new housing starts have taken place in settlements over the last six months to make up for the ten months of the moratorium on new settlements construction.

Read the full report here.
Clinton320x265again.jpgSecretary of State Hillary Clinton's meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu last week seems to have ended with an offer: A package of US rewards in exchange for a 90-day settlement construction freeze. The proposal, reportedly, also addresses the contours of direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations over the next three months, and beyond.

(Peace Now's) New report suggests that '1,126 foundations have been laid in 45 days, compared to 1,888 for all of '09'; data relies on aerial footage.

Also included are excerpts and link to:
AFP: "Settlers started 1650 new homes since freeze end, says Peace Now"
and the entire: Ma'ariv: "Accelerated Construction "Erased" the Freeze"

Israel was on Sunday examining a package of US incentives in exchange for a fresh ban on West Bank construction as a Peace Now report showed settlers have been building at a furious pace.


AFP: "Israel eyes West Bank freeze as settlers race to build"
Toronto Star: "Efforts heat up for Israeli settlement freeze"
AP: "Plan for Mideast talks bets on quick border deal"
LA Times: "Netanyahu lobbies his Cabinet on U.S. peace talk incentives"Washington Post: "Israeli Cabinet to consider US settlement proposal"
: "Israel's cabinet split over fresh building freeze despite US offer of military aid"

The Latest Settlements Snub by Trudy Rubin

Originally published in the Philadelphia Inquirer

ARIEL, West Bank - This week witnessed another davka moment in the Israeli government's relationship with the Obama White House.

Davka is Israeli slang for "in your face." And nothing could be more in-your-face than the announcement that Israeli authorities had approved the building of more than 1,800 new homes in Jewish settlements on the West Bank and in suburbs of Jerusalem beyond Israel's 1967 borders - especially since Vice President Biden had just met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu and asked him to renew a freeze on settlement-building.

Fear of Awakening by David Grossman

November 12, 2010
Originally published in Yedioth Ahronoth 

It is interesting that no one noticed that the word "boycott" does not appear anywhere in the petition regarding the Ariel cultural center, which has been signed so far by 51 actors and directors and other artists.  A boycott is a severe and extreme weapon, which evokes harsh echoes in the Jewish collective memory.  I consider this petition a call for abstention: Abstention from any act that obscures the fact that Ariel was established on occupied territory, and that its very existence creates a reality that is liable to bring disaster upon the State of Israel.

The White House has offered Israel a package of incentives in exchange for a 90-day freeze on construction in the West Bank. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu brings the proposals before the Israeli cabinet Sunday. Host Liane Hansen gets the details from NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro in Jerusalem, including acknowledgment and citation of Peace Now's report. Click here to listen and for the full transcript.

Netanyahu and Clinton's Friendly Meeting

A joint statement issued by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton yesterday said: "Prime Minister Netanyahu and Secretary Clinton had a good discussion today, with a friendly and productive exchange of views on both sides."
Here is how the Israeli Daily (link has expired) Haaretz saw the meeting:
when bibi met hillary.jpg

Special to APN by Daniel Seidemann and Lara Friedman

Peace Now's brilliant Hagit Ofran breaks the news today that on 10/31/10 the government of Israel took the final step in approving the extremely controversial plan for the new Mughrabi Gate ramp (Town Planning Scheme 12472).  That step consisted of the publication of the plan in Haaretz (Hebrew print edition - a pdf view of the publication posted by Hagit can be seen/downloaded here.)

In the absence of further legal action (the prospects of which are slim to none, as are the chances of a temporary injunction) this step constitutes final approval.  This means that a building permit can be issued, and construction can thereafter commence, as early as 15 days from this publication.

Help Obama pass the settlements test

Obama360x265.pngPresident Barack Obama's resolve to renew Israeli-Palestinian peace talks is being tested. I need your help to show the president that Americans want him to act to put the peace process back on track.

In the past week, Israel moved forward on several large-scale settlement schemes, including a plan that would dramatically increase the foothold of one settlement in East Jerusalem. After months of refraining from these types of actions in Jerusalem, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is opening up the floodgates.

Yariv Oppenheimer in Maariv: Rampant Racism in Safed

Rampant Racism in Safed

Ma'ariv, November 9, 2010

by Yariv Oppenheimer

An old man rescued the lost honor of Israel's democracy, of Judaism and of the entire country this week. Despite protests, Halachic decisions and threats to burn down his house, 89-year-old Eliyahu Tzvieli, a resident of Safed, decided to rent out his apartment to two Arab students  and thus to come out with his head held high against the racism and hatred of minorities that is permeating Israeli society.
Washington, DC - Americans for Peace Now (APN) is deeply concerned about today's announcement that Israel is moving forward with plans to build 1,300 new apartments in East Jerusalem.

"No Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement can be reached unless the parties find a way to share Jerusalem. Unilateral Israeli action that expands settlements in this area makes reaching a deal more difficult," said Debra DeLee, APN's President and CEO

Netanyahu pushes East Jerusalem settlements

Special to APN from Daniel Seidemann and Lara Friendman

Netanyahu's undeclared period of self-restraint in Jerusalem appears to have come to an end. No new tenders for construction in East Jerusalem had been issued since Vice President Biden's fateful visit to Jerusalem last March, nor had any new construction plans been deposited for public review since that time.
Until now.

On Thursday of last week new tenders were for the construction of an additional 238 residential units in Pisgat Zeev and Ramot.
The following day (November 5) three plans for new construction were deposited for public review.  These plans are for the construction of approximately 1,352 new units in East Jerusalem (more than double the total number built by Israel for Palestinians since 1967).  News of the plans is now being widely reported in the Israeli and (link has expired) international press.
Alpher answers questions about next steps for the peace process following the US midterm elections, and how the southern Sudanese decision to secede from Sudan affects broader dynamics in the Middle East.

APN recognized for Social Media outreach

facebookhandheld320x265.jpgAPN's innovative efforts to reach new audiences through high-tech tools and through social media just got the attention of the New York Jewish Week. Here's what James Besser wrote:

Social media is the new currency of political activism. And which Jewish group has the most in the bank?

Putting peace above partisanship

This week's mid-term elections will have a profound impact on a wide range of issues that impact every American. It is clear that the battles ahead in Washington will focus on domestic concerns.
But those of us who care about Israel and about peace can't afford take our eyes off the ball in the Middle East.
That is why I need your help.  Together, we need to raise our voices to demand that the new Congress stop using peace for Israel as a political football.

APN breifing call on election results

APN held a briefing call for its supporters and core activists on November 3rd to review the impact of the midterm elections on the peace process.

Debra DeLee and Lara Friedman conducted the briefing. Debra is President and CEO of APN and the former Chair of the Democratic National Committee. Lara is Director of Policy and Government Relations at APN.

Spotlight on the ongoing battle for East Jerusalem

Special to APN from Daniel Seidemann and Lara Friedman.

Three recent news items illuminate how the battle for East Jerusalem is heating up.


Washington, DC - Americans for Peace Now today urged the leaders of the new majority in the House of Representatives, John Boehner (R-OH) and Eric Cantor (R-VA) to support peace for Israel and to "not allow support for Israel to be politicized." 

Today APN President and CEO Debra DeLee sent the following message to APN supporters:


Today we are all still digesting the results of yesterday's mid-term elections.  Elections that for most of us, as individual voters, were not only, or even primarily, about Israel, but about a range of domestic issues dear to our hearts.  Many of us are dismayed at what these elections may mean for these issues and for the future of our families and our country. 

But even as we try to come to terms with what will be the likely impact of these elections, we can't take our eyes off the ball in the Middle East.

APN Letters to Reps. Cantor and Boehner

November 3, 2010

Dear Congressman Boehner,
We are writing to you today, the day after mid-term elections, as Americans who care deeply about Israel.  We are appealing to you, a leader in the next Congress, to not allow support for Israel to be politicized. 
Alpher answers questions about the status of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, including the newly surfaced idea of Israel leasing land in East Jerusalem and the Jordan Valley, and the strategic impact of the recently-thwarted FedEx package bomb plot.