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September 2011 Archives

Another (Predictable) Jerusalem Settlement Announcement

Gilo_Construction186x140.jpgAs the entire world now knows, yesterday an Israeli planning committee approved Plan 13261, Mordot Gilo - South (aka "Gilo Slopes") - a plan for large-scale settlement construction in East Jerusalem, adjacent to the settlement of Gilo (map, courtesy of Daniel Seidemann).

This development was predictable (and predicted).  Which is really the theme here.

"This is new and different," (APN's Ori) Nir remarked in a brief interview after the debate. "There weren't any screams and shouts."


Pro-Israel literature in hand, George Washington University student Stanley
Gonzalez-Martinez soaks up the atmosphere at the "Talk Israel" tent that was
erected last week on the quad at GWU.

by Richard Greenberg
Senior writer

Peace Now secretary-general Yariv Oppenheimer said that if the defense
establishment decides to ask the courts for an extension, it will be playing
into the hands of the people behind the price-tag attacks.


2 for 2, or 2 for 1?

By Thomas Friedman

Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu of Israel, the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, and President Obama all spoke at the U.N. last week and, honestly, it is hard to decide whose speech was worse. Netanyahu's read like a pep rally to the Likud Central Committee. Abbas's read like an address to an Arab League meeting. Obama's read like an appeal to Jewish voters in Florida. The president meant well, but domestic politics required that he whisper where he once spoke bold truths to both sides.

A Time to Lead

By Donniel Hartman

It's beginning to feel the same. Instead of enabling newfound normalcy as Herzl had hoped, the reality of Israel seems to fit the same old pattern to which we have become so accustomed throughout our exile - us and them, alienation, aloneness, and danger.

VIDEO: Israeli Rally in Recognition of the Palestinian State

Yael_Dayan186x140.jpgWatch highlights of speakers from the Thursday, September 22 rally expressing support of Israeli and international recognition of the Palestinian state, held opposite the building where the independence of Israel was proclaimed in 1948.

Among participants and speakers at the events were Yael Dayan (pictured), Alon Li'el, Amos Oz, Yoran Kanyuk, David Tartakover, Yehuda Bauer, Galia Golan and others.

Go HERE to watch the Israel Social TV video.

Lawmakers Falling Over One Another to Prove Pro-Israel Credentials

By Nathan Guttman

Washington -- A congressional drive to punish the Palestinian Authority for its statehood bid by cutting American aid is being greeted with enthusiasm by lawmakers of both parties.

But the White House is giving the move a cold shoulder, and even Israel itself and its strongest supporters have serious reservations.

Ha'aretz: "The anticlimax of the Palestinian UN bid"

Despite months of hype, the UN vote will in all likelihood disappoint; the American embrace of Israel is more a matter of President Obama's domestic considerations than any newfound love for Prime Minister Netanyahu.

By Barak Ravid and Natasha Mozgovaya


Project to build units in J'lem neighborhood over Green Line has been slammed by left-wing groups Ir Amim and Peace Now.

On the occasion of the end of the Hebrew calendar year, Alpher assesses Israel's fortunes for the upcoming year.

Washington, DC - Americans for Peace Now (APN) urges the leaders of Israel and the Palestinians to focus on peacemaking rather than on point scoring, and urges world leaders to help broker Israeli-Palestinian peace. 

As hostilities flare up in the West Bank today, APN expresses deep concern over a possible escalation and calls on Israelis and Palestinians to avoid violence. APN calls on Palestinians to use nonviolent means to express their grievances, and urges Israel to exercise restraint.

Letter from Yossi Alpher, Israeli Security Expert


"Looking back over nearly 50 years of activities devoted to Israel's security, I feel we are very near to a turning point that holds heavy existential ramifications for all of us: Israelis, American Jews, the United States, even our Palestinian neighbors."

Read Yossi's important letter for APN.

May Peace Appear Closer in the New Year

Rear_View_Mirror320x265.jpgAre you discouraged about how far away Mideast peace seems to be? 

Lawmakers Falling Over One Another to Prove Pro-Israel Credentials

By Nathan Guttman

Washington -- A congressional drive to punish the Palestinian Authority for its statehood bid by cutting American aid is being greeted with enthusiasm by lawmakers of both parties.

Yossi Alpher, Israeli Security Expert

Alpher 320x265.jpgYossi Alpher is an internationally renowned consultant and writer on Israel-related security issues. He served as an intelligence officer in the Israel Defense Forces, a senior officer in the Mossad, Israel's national intelligence agency, and as director of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University. Prior to and during the Oslo peace process, Alpher coordinated several track II dialogues between Israelis and Arabs. He served as Special Adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak during the Camp David talks in July 2000.

Alpher serves on the executive committee of the Israeli Council for Peace and Security, and is coeditor, together with Ghassan Khatib, currently head of the Palestinian Authority Media Center, of the bitterlemons family of internet publications, dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and broader Middle East issues. Alpher writes "Hard Questions, Tough Answers", a weekly Q&A for Americans for Peace Now.

Articles citing APN's response to Obama UN Speech

Ha'aretz: "U.S. Jews give Obama mixed reviews for 'pro-Israel' UN speech"

JTA: "Obama's U.N. speech--another 'get real' moment"

"Regrettably, the president's words offered very little in the way of hope to Israelis and Palestinians," Americans for Peace Now said.

Tablet: "Disappointment is the Byword of the Left"

(APN) spokesperson Ori Nir told me: "There was nothing substantial that he offered the Palestinians to keep them from pursuing their U.N. action."

Huffpost_World_Lara_Friedman186x140.jpgLara Friedman is Director of Policy and Government Relations at Americans for Peace Now

Israeli diplomats, AIPAC, and other groups on the American Jewish and Christian right are learning a tough lesson today: Be careful what you tell Congress to do on Israel, because it might come back to bite you.

Support peace, not punishment

A drama is unfolding at the UN over the recognition of Palestine as an independent state. 

Like you, we are watching the situation closely. Earlier today, President Obama spoke at the United Nations General Assembly. Unfortunately, his words offered very little in terms of hope, vision, or leadership in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. On Friday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israel's Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will address the UN General Assembly.  

Obama_UN_Speech.jpgWashington, DC - Americans for Peace Now (APN) reacted with disappointment to President Obama's speech today at the United Nations General Assembly. APN President and CEO Debra DeLee commented:

"Today President Obama offered the world strong American support for the right of people across the Middle East to freedom, democracy, self-determination, security and economic opportunity. His words reflect core American values and offer hope and encouragement to millions. Regrettably, the President's words offered very little in the way of hope to Israelis and Palestinians."

David_Harris_Gershon186x140.jpgRead a story of reconciliation from David Harris Gershon, a writer whose recent work has appeared in The Jerusalem Post, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Colorado Review and elsewhere. His memoir, Shrapnel, is currently making the rounds. He received his MFA from the University of North Carolina, Wilmington.

Americans for Peace Now is proud that Mr. Gershon is an APN "Person for Peace", where you can follow his tweets and blog posts.

APN Criticizes Attempts to Politicize Peace for Israel

Washington, DC - Americans for Peace Now (APN) today sharply criticized a reprehensible full-page ad, published in the New York Times, lambasting President Obama's record on Israel. 

The ad, published by an organization headed by Weekly Standard editor William Kristol and Christian conservative Gary Bauer, a former presidential candidate, is headlined "Tell President Obama: Enough. It's time to stand with Israel." Among other things, the ad appallingly states that the President "has pressured Israel to apologize to terrorists." 

Alpher discusses the strategic errors that led to Israel facing UN recognition of the Palestinian state, and the meaning of Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan's trip to Egypt last week.

APN Legislative Round-Up for the Week Ending September 16, 2011

1.  Bills, Resolutions & Letters
2.  HFAC Hearing on Aid to Palestinians - Content & APN Analysis
3.  Republican Wins Weiner's Seat (Israel angle)  
4.  APN Statement on Looming Crisis at the UN and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
5.  Kerry Defends Foreign Aid
6.  Odds & Ends

The UN Palestinian Statehood Vote

Americans for Peace Now, Foundation for Middle East Peace, Churches for Middle East Peace & B'Tselem USA

invite you to a discussion with

Jessica Montell
Executive Director, B'Tselem

The UN Palestinian Statehood Vote: Human Rights Implications

Quo Vadis Palestine?

Mansour186x140.jpgWhat kind of UN recognition are the Palestinians seeking? What are they expecting to achieve? Are they aware of the possible repercussion? To answer these questions, APN hosted a briefing call with Ambassador Riyad Mansour, the Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations. Ambassador Mansour took questions from APN Board members and major supporters. To listen to a recording of the call, click here.

JTA: "Rice briefs Jewish leaders on U.N. drive"

NEW YORK (JTA) -- U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice briefed a dozen American Jewish leaders on the American efforts to avert the Palestinian bid for statehood in the U.N.

(The article indicates that APN Chairman Martin Bresler was reported present.)

Read the article

Quo Vadis Palestine? APN Briefing Call with Riyad Mansour

Mansour186x140.jpgWhat kind of UN recognition are the Palestinians seeking? What are they expecting to achieve? Are they aware of the possible repercussion? To answer these questions, APN hosted a briefing call with Ambassador Riyad Mansour, the Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations. Ambassador Mansour took questions from APN Board members and major supporters.

Palestinians at the UN: Analysis and Resources

Abbas_at_UN_Podium.jpgAPN provides links to items related to the Palestinians' statehood efforts at the United Nations.

Posted by Jack Silverman

Marty Smile 186x140.jpgContrary to popular belief, not all Zionists oppose the creation of a Palestinian state. In fact, many ardent supporters of Israel believe that a two-state solution is the only way to secure Israel's future.

Tonight at 7 p.m., Congregation Ohabai Shalom (aka "The Temple"), hosts Martin I. Bresler, chair of Americans for Peace Now, a Zionist organization that advocates for a two-state solution. The Temple is at 5015 Harding Road. The event is free and open to the public.

YNET: "Actor refuses to perform in Kiryat Arba"

"Kiryat Arba is a symbol of racism. Artists and performers have no business there," said Peace Now Secretary-General Yariv Oppenheimer.

by Akiva Novick

Israeli Articles on Vandalism, Threats, against Peace Now

Ha'aretz: "Shin Bet: Israel's extreme rightists organizing into terror groups"

YNET: "Price tag: Peace Now activist's entryway vandalized"

Jerusalem Post: "Activist's home vandalized in latest 'price tag' attack"
(full article in this post)

The High Ground

graffiti186x140.jpgIsrael's Peace Now movement today again became the target of the Israel's extreme right intimidation campaign.

Early this morning, the director of Peace Now's Settlements Watch project was awakened by neighbors who told her that the door to her apartment, as well as the apartment building's walkway, have been vandalized. Black graffiti sprayed on the door and the walkway read: "Revenge," "Death," "Peace Now - the End is Near," and "Price Tag."

Book Reading with Jeremy Ben-Ami

You are invited to a book reading and discussion with

Jeremy Ben-Ami
Founder and President of J Street

Sunday, September 18, 1:30 pm
Congregation Beth Elohim
274 Garfield Place
Brooklyn, NY
Cost: $10

Alpher comments on the riot attack on Israel's embassy in Cairo and reflects on the lingering impact the 9/11 attacks have had on Israel.

Palestinian_Flag_at_UN_186x140.jpgWashington, DC - In the context of the approaching start of the United Nations General Assembly session, APN President and CEO Debra DeLee today issued the following statement:
"It has long been known that come September, there could be a major crisis at the UN over the issue of Palestine.  Unfortunately, that knowledge hasn't yet translated into serious efforts to avert the impending crisis.  Instead, while settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem continue to expand, efforts over the past months have focused exclusively on pushing the Palestinians to return to a negotiating process that long ago lost all credibility. 
Washington, DC - Americans for Peace Now (APN) is alarmed by the crisis in Israel's relations with Egypt and by the deep deterioration in Israel's relations with Turkey.
APN is calling on the Obama administration to persist and redouble its efforts to address these crises, and to take action to prevent further deterioration in Israel's regional and international relations  caused by the Palestinian diplomatic initiative in the United Nations.

APN Legislative Round-Up for the Week Ending September 9, 2011

1.  Bills, Resolutions & Letters
2.  UN Reform Bill: Trying to Make US-UN Relations 100% Conditional on Palestinian Issue
3.  Senator Leahy and the IDF
4.  Ellison leads call for Hamas to release Gilad Shalit
5.  1/5 of Congress Visits Israel with AIPAC-affiliated AIEF Over Recess
6.  Odds & Ends

Unlikely Partners

Over the summer, my colleagues and I at APN followed with delight the partnership between Maria Ginzburg and Mustafa Alzayyan. 

The two are unlikely partners. Maria is an Israeli, a graduate of a Jewish high school in Azerbaijan, who immigrated to Israel as an adult and is now an International Relations student at Jerusalem's Hebrew University. Mustafa comes from a refugee camp in the Gaza Strip. He taught himself English online to pursue his passion for computers. Back at home, in Israel and Gaza, these young people had no chance of meeting each other, let alone working jointly for peace and reconciliation. 

Published in Yedioth Ahronoth

All sorts of bad news has hit us lately: a deterioration of relations with Turkey, the situation in Egypt, the rocket fire out of Gaza, the Palestinian initiative at the UN and, as of this week, statements by the OC Home Front Command about the chances of an all-out war. It seems that we need to distinguish the various factors from one another in order to clarify the picture.

APN Upgrades Map App

app image320x265.jpgWashington, D.C. - Americans for Peace Now (APN) today announced a new round of updates for its groundbreaking Facts on the Ground map app.

These updates include a Hebrew version of the map, a mobile web version optimized for browsers that run on mobile devices and an embeddable version, which allows anyone to embed the APN Facts on the Ground interactive map directly into their website or blog.

Intern Aaron Mann reflects on his time at APN

Aaron Mann, a graduate student at the University of Maryland, interned for APN from January to August 2011, which makes him one of the longest-serving interns in APN's history.  On Aaron's last day here, our spokesman Ori Nir, together with APN's Lara Friedman and Stacey Frank, took a few minutes to talk with him about why he decided to work at APN and what he's learned through the experience.

Interview with APN Intern Aaron Mann

aaron186x140.jpgMann, a graduate student who participated in a Birthright trip to Israel, interned with APN from January to August 2011, and on his last day spoke with APN's Ori Nir, Lara Friedman, and Stacey Frank about his rich experience. (Mann also wrote the essay "From Birthright to APN")

From Birthright to APN

In June of 2006, I went to Israel on a Birthright trip.  I cannot remember exactly what my expectations were, but whether I expected it or not, I felt a strange sense of return upon landing in the Jewish state- furthered by the "welcome home!" with which our tour leader greeted us.  Walking the streets and beaches of Tel Aviv on that first day, seeing store fronts and signs in Hebrew, all the while surrounded by Jews, the sense of belonging- of oneness- was palpable.  I could breathe it in, taste it, and see it on the faces of those with whom I had applauded when our El Al plane had touched ground.

AFP: "Court rejects retrial on Jerusalem settler home"

Hagit Ofran of Peace Now slammed the municipality for "continuing to ignore the courts' orders, and enabling this illegal and provocative settlement in Silwan, which constitutes a point of daily friction and a heavy security burden upon Jerusalem police.

"This by itself is enough to justify the eviction of the settlers," she told AFP.

1 September 2011

Read the article

Hagit Ofran of Peace Now attacked the CBS report as inaccurate and said her organization was compiling contrary data.

"According to a ground survey that Peace Now is currently conducting in the settlements, construction is much higher than what was reported in the CBS," Ofran said.



Continue Reading

Jurist.jpgJURIST Guest Columnist Shlomy Zachary of the Michael Sfard Law Offices in Israel says that the recent Israeli Supreme Court ruling ordering the demolition of the Migron outpost in the West Bank was an obvious one under Israeli and international law and was necessary to uphold the rule of law...

JPost_Video_Migron_Demolition.JPGBy Tovah Lazaroff 

Court overturns previous emergency injunction which halted demolition; 4 activists injured, 6 arrested; hundreds of Border Police on scene.


Mosque_Burning186x140.jpgWindows of mosque in Qusra smashed and graffiti sprayed in Hebrew following demolition of outpost homes in Migron

by Harriet Sherwood in Jerusalem

Thumbnail image for Yossi Alpher 186x140.jpgAlpher answers questions about US efforts to renew Israeli-Palestinian negotiations and the impact of Turkey's downgrade of relations with Israel.