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November 2012 Archives


Washington/Jerusalem - Americans for Peace Now (APN) today called on the Obama Administration and the international community to take urgent action to induce the Netanyahu government to abandon its decision to pursue massive new settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. APN's call comes on the heels of reports of a decision of the Netanyahu government to respond to yesterday's action at the United Nations by approving thousands of new settlement units in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and by expediting plans to build the massive new settlement of E-1 - a settlement that, if constructed, would make the implementation of a viable two-state exponentially more difficult, if not impossible.

"Your country is isolated"

Jerusalem - Israelis woke up today to the realization of just how isolated their state is internationally. 138 members of the United Nations supported the Palestinian bid to upgrade the PLO's status in the UN, with only 9 opposed and 41 abstaining. 

Legislative Round-Up: week ending November 30, 2012

1.  Bills, Resolutions & Letters
2.  NDAA Amendments Target Palestinians, UN, and More
3.  Responses to UNGA vote
4.  Hearings
5.  Members on the Record  
6.  From the Press

peace_parsha_logo186x140.jpgBy Ben Murane

A new ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip enters its second week as Jews around the world examine Jacob and Esau's reconciliation in Parshat Vayeshlach. Truthfully, the passage feels a world away: Israel and Hamas did not run to each other in tearful rapprochement like Jacob and Esau. And the prospects of final status negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians - Fatah and Hamas both - seem as distant as Biblical history.  But beneath the initial reading, this parsha helps us to strive for the ideal reconciliation while recognizing real negotiations can be less euphoric.

Examining the 3 Palestinian-Punishment Focused Efforts in the Senate

As of this writing, three initiatives have been introduced in the Senate over the past 18 hours or so aimed at punishing the Palestinians (and others) for the current Palestinian initiative at the UN.  All have been in the form of amendments to S. 3245, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) -- a piece of must-pass legislation that happens to be under consideration in the Senate right now (making it a prime target for opportunistic legislative riders). 

These amendments were offered, notwithstanding the fact that there is nothing related to funding or programs for the Palestinians or the United Nations in the NDAA.  

The amendments are: SA 3139, SA 3171 and SA 3203. SA 3139 and SA 3171 are partisan (supported only by Republicans) and, in their substance and drafting, pretty ham-fisted.  SA 3203 is also pretty ham-fisted, but it is bipartisan and could be viewed as more "reasonable" and "moderate" than the other two amendments, and in effect is more broadly consistent with the tone that Israel is increasingly taking (i.e., that the UN vote to upgrade the Palestinians' status isn't really important; what is really important is what happens next).  It thus seems likely that the real action on this issue will be around SA 3203.  In that context, the other two amendments play a useful role in making SA 3203 look measured and "reasonable" by comparison.

After UN Vote on Palestine, Time for Credible Peace Talks


Washington, DC - Welcoming the UN General Assembly's vote to upgrade the status of the Palestinian representation in the UN, Americans for Peace Now (APN) today urged the Palestinians, Israel, the Obama administration and the international community to use the vote as a springboard to launching credible peace negotiations.

Another NDAA amendment to punish the UN for upgrading Palestinian Status

On the heels of the introduction of the Barrasso-Lee-Inhofe amendment to the NDAA that seeks to impose sanctions on the Palestinians for seeking any upgrade in status at the UN (as well as on any UN agency that votes to do so, or any UN member nation that votes to do so), now comes another amendment that adopts, basically, the nuclear option.   If passed into law, this NDAA amendment would bar all U.S. funding to the United Nations in the event that the UNGA votes to upgrade the status of the Palestinians in any manner whatsoever. 

The amendment was introduced by Senators Hatch (R-UT), Roberts (R-KS), Chambliss (R-GA), Barrasso (R-WY), Inhofe (R-OK), Wicker (R-MI), Lee (R-UT), Coburn (R-OK), Risch (R-ID), and Rubio (R-FL).  The text can be viewed here.

Senators Introduce First Effort to Punish Palestinians over UN

The first shot has been fired in the much-anticipated Congressional battle to punish the Palestinians for seeking to upgrade their status at the UN - and to also punish any UN agencies and any countries that support them.

The vehicle for this attack is S. 3254 - the highly contentious National Defense Authorization Act, which the Senate is now considering.   For those who keep track of these sorts of things, there is NOTHING in the NDAA that in any way relates to the Palestinians.  No funding, no programs - nothing.  But that hasn't stopped Senators Barrasso (R-WY), Lee (R-UT), and Inhofe (R-OK) from introducing an amendment whose purpose is defined as "To provide for restrictions on foreign assistance related to the status of the Palestinian mission to the United Nations."  A copy of the amendment, which was filed this afternoon, is available here.  Senator Barrasso's press release touting introduction of the amendment is available here.

New Poll By Peace Now Shows Israelis Reject Punitive Measure

support -pal-statehood-banner-4-186x140.jpgA new poll released today by APN's Israeli sister organization, Peace Now, shows that Israelis overwhelmingly reject the punitive measure that their foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, has advocated in response to the Palestinian bid for upgraded status in the UN's General Assembly.  Lieberman has called for Israel to take action to cause the collapse of the Palestinian Authority as retaliation for the UN move.

Shalom Achshav: Israel Should Welcome UN Vote on Palestinian Initiative

Bibi_Say_Yes_Sign.jpg...the correct line of public diplomacy for Israel is to warmly embrace the idea of establishing a Palestinian state alongside Israel and welcoming the UN vote. The Palestinian bid should be seen as an Israeli achievement because affirmation of its contents would be a de facto historic recognition of the borders of Israel and negation of the historic Palestinian aspiration to wipe Israel off the map."

APN Calls on Obama Administration to Support Palestinian UN Initiative


Consistent with APN's longstanding support for peace and a negotiated two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Americans for Peace Now today called on the Obama Administration and the international community to support the Palestinians' bid to upgrade their status at the UN to that of non-member observer state. 

IDF's Gaza War Online Strategy Still Causing Controversy

IDF Ranks186x135.jpgOver the course of the latest Gaza war, a lot of attention became focused on the IDF's new and aggressive online social media strategy, in which the IDF used social media - especially Twitter - and online gaming tactics to get its message out. The effort also included Instagram, as covered in buzzfeed and on Slate.
Yossi Alpher 186x140.jpgAlpher discusses what happens now to Egyptian-Israeli relations; what this campaign tells us about the way Israel and its enemies will be waging war in the coming years; who were the "winners" and the "losers" of this war; and what will the effect be on Israel's upcoming elections.

Or Amir: A Dispatch from Tel Aviv


Former Washington intern Or Amir writes on her thoughts about this past week.

2:30 PM and I am on the bus in Tel Aviv- so exhausted from the past week but can't fall asleep. I am just where the bomb exploded two hours ago on a different bus. I'm looking constantly at the doors, checking who's getting on and off the bus, what are they wearing and if they left anything under their seat. In my head all the plans and promises I gave today and I just wish to survive this ride and maybe to get a chance to fulfill some of them.


Washington, DC - Americans for Peace Now (APN) welcomes the announcement of a ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas and thanks President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton for helping to achieve it.

---------------------------------------------------------APN Resource Page on the Gaza Crisis ---------------------------------------------------------


Washington, DC -- APN today strongly condemned the terrorist bus bombing that took place today in Tel Aviv, injuring more than 20 innocent civilians. APN stands in solidarity with Israelis who continue to come under fire. APN also expressed deep concern over the death and injury to Palestinian civilians.

APN Resource Page on the Gaza Crisis

APN on Gaza in the NYT: Only the U.S. Can Broker Peace

Lara_2011_headshot186x140.jpg At the invitation of the New York Times "Room for Debate," APN's Lara Friedman weighed in with analysis of what President Obama can and should do to address the Gaza-Israel crisis and to ensure that any new ceasefire does not become simply an intermission between rounds of violence.

APN Resource Page on the Gaza Crisis

Interview with Mossi Raz


Former Knesset Member Mossi Raz was also the secretary general of Peace Now and is an infantry Major (Reserve) in the IDF. He talks about the undefined goals and the still unclear political consequences of Israel's current armed conflict with Hamas.

click here to listen

APN Resource Page on the Gaza Crisis

APN on Gaza Crisis, Obama's Role, and a New Approach

rockets186x140.jpg Americans for Peace Now (APN) today issues the following statement regarding the ongoing escalation between Israel and the Gaza Strip:

APN Resource Page on the Gaza Crisis

Shalom Achshav on Gaza - A Political Resolution is the Key

On Sunday (11/18/12) Shalom Achshav - the Israeli Peace Now movement - posted the following statement on the Shalom Achshav Facebook page:

As talk of a ground operation in Gaza gains momentum, we must remember one thing: without a political resolution, the next round of violence is only a matter of time, and the future of the residents of the South is not secure. The Government of Israel must sit immediately with Abu Mazen, who rejects terrorism and violence, and reach an agreement with the moderate, pragmatic forces of the Palestinian people, before it is too late. Without a political resolution it will not end! 

(translation by APN's Ori Nir)


Resources on the Gaza Crisis


As the Israel-Hamas conflict continues, APN brings you news and analysis on the situation, including our own commentary. Visit our homepage frequently to follow the updates.

Interview with Israeli Peace Activist Gershon Baskin


In recent months, Israeli peace activist Gershon Baskin, the founder and co-chair of the Jerusalem-based Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information (IPCRI) was deeply involved in dialogue with Hamas leaders and with Israeli security officials in trying to forge a stable, ceasefire agreement. Israel's launching of the aerial war in Gaza ended his efforts, but is now - ironically - resulting in Israeli-Hamas efforts to reach exactly that kind of long-lasting ceasefire. Baskin talks about his role as a go-between, and asserts that the only way for Israel to reach a sustainable relationship with Hamas is to pursue a peace agreement with the Palestinians' pragmatic leadership in the West Bank, headed by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

click here to listen

APN Resource Page on the Gaza Crisis

The War in Gaza

Yossi Alpher 186x140.jpgIn a Special Edition of Hard Questions, Tough Answers, Yossi Alpher tackles Why Israel chose the current timing to respond with a major military campaign to rocket attacks from Gaza; why Hamas does not take into consideration that Israel has a much stronger military capacity; whether Egypt and the international community are working for a ceasefire; what positions Israel and Hamas are presenting to all these mediators regarding ceasefire conditions and if these demands are achievable; whether Hamas military leader Ahmed Jaabari should  have been targeted in Israel's opening salvo; how this operation is different in objectives and its operational profile from the Second Lebanon War in summer 2006 and Cast Lead in 2008-9; whether Hezbollah and Syria are connected to the current Gaza war; does he feel pessimistic about the long-term effect of anything Israel does against Hamas; and where do Israelis seem to feel this is going?

APN Resource Page on the Gaza Crisis

Open Zion: APN's Lara Friedman - The Senate On Gaza


In response to the ongoing Gaza-Israel war, Senators Gillibrand (D-NY) and Kirk (R-IL) this afternoon circulated a resolution that they reportedly hope to have the Senate pass by unanimous consent, possibly as early as this evening. The resolution subject:

expressing vigorous support and unwavering commitment to the welfare, security, and survival of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state with secure borders, and recognizing and strongly supporting its right to act in self-defense to protect its citizens against acts of terrorism.

Legislative Round-Up: week ending November 16, 2012

1.  Bills, Resolutions & Letters
2.  Hearings
3. Members on the Record  
4.  From the Press

Congress returned from the elections recess this week, after holding only pro-form sessions since late September (meaning that legislation was introduced during this period, as can be seen in Section 1, below).

Note:  On 11/14/12 Americans for Peace Now issued a statement regarding the escalation of hostilities between Gaza and Israel.   On 11/15/12, APN hosted a briefing call with former senior Mossad official Yossi Alpher (audio here).  In addition, some APN analysis of possible interest to readers:  (1) analysis of what the ongoing Palestinian effort to attain enhanced status at the UN, means under current U.S. law, Round Two at Turtle Bay; and (2) a look at Abbas' much-ignored/dismissed interview with Israel's Channel 2 earlier this month, If Not Now, When? If Not Abbas, Who?

Briefing Call with Yossi Alpher on the Gaza Escalation

Alpher186x140.jpgOn November 15th, 2012, Security Expert Yossi Alpher briefed APN supporters and activists on the escalating hostilities between Israel and Hamas. Listen here

APN Resource Page on the Gaza Crisis

Gillibrand-Kirk resolution on Gaza-Israel conflict

Haaretz's Akiva Eldar: Before the 1967 lines retire, too

Akiva Eldar paints the Green Line186x140.jpg

In a farewell column concluding 35 years at Haaretz, Akiva Eldar urges Israelis to keep the two-state solution alive.On Saturday afternoon light rain greeted the long column of cars crawling through the narrow lanes of the Palestinian village of Jayus in the heart of the northern West Bank. At the head of the column was a battered truck dragging behind it a cart laden with black plastic chairs.

APN Concerned about Israel-Gaza Escalation; Urges Diplomacy


Washington, DC - Americans for Peace Now (APN) today expressed serious concern about the rapidly escalating conflict in the Gaza Strip and southern Israel. APN urges the Obama Administration to urgently engage with Israel, regional parties, and the international community to bring about an immediate halt to the hostilities.

APN Resource Page on the Gaza Crisis

Open Zion: APN's Lara Friedman - Round Two At Turtle Bay

obama-mazen-mtg186x140.jpgFor the second consecutive year, the Palestinians are seeking enhanced status at the U.N. It feels like a re-run of 2011, but there are significant legal and political differences that should not be overlooked.

L'hitraot (not goodbye) to Akiva Eldar

Akiva Eldar of Haaretz, one of Israel's leading political columnists, retired today and dedicated his last column to Israel's Peace Now movement and to other organizations and individuals who work to advance peace for Israel.

Alpher186x140.jpgAlpher discusses how Israelis and Arabs received the Obama victory last week and how the Obama victory will affect the administration's treatment of the Iran-nuclear and Israeli-Palestinian issues and how the Obama victory will affect the administration's treatment of the Iran-nuclear and Israeli-Palestinian issues.

(8 November 2012) Observer State Status-Circulation Draft (official)

mahmoud-abbas_tired186x140.jpgSuppose Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told an interviewer that he'll never recognize Israel or accept any agreement that doesn't give the Palestinians every inch of historic Palestine, including all of Jerusalem.  He insists on full Palestinian right of return - including his own right of return to his native Safed, which since 1948 has been part of Israel -- and maintains that it is the Palestinians' right to use all means, including violence, to achieve their goals.


Washington, DC - Americans for Peace Now (APN) joins its Israeli sister organization, Shalom Achshav (Peace Now) in condemning a new Israeli government initiative to construct almost 1,300 homes for Israelis in East Jerusalem and in the West Bank settlement of Ariel.

APN Congratulates President Obama on his Reelection


Washington, DC - Americans for Peace Now (APN) today sent the following letter to President Barack Obama, congratulating him on his reelection:

bibi-settlements186x140.jpgToday's announcement that the Israeli government if moving full steam ahead with the construction of nearly 1300 new settlement units should surprise nobody.  The announcement paves the way for construction in Pisgat Zeev and Ramot (settlement neighborhoods of East Jerusalem), as well as in the huge and extremely controversial settlement of Ariel - a settlement located smack-dab in the middle of the northern West Bank, in a location that makes its inclusion as part of Israel under any realistic borders scenario pretty much impossible.

abbas has no partner186x140.jpg

Peace Now activists demonstrated yesterday in Tel Aviv at the Likud's headquarters against the failure of Benjamin Netanyahu's government to endorse Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' peace overture.

F-16_israel_aid_186x140.jpgThe reaction from parts of the American Jewish community to a letter to Congress from a group of Christian leaders is deeply disturbing.

Why did this letter elicit such outrage? Was it the suggestion that U.S. funding shouldn't support policies that undermine the prospects for peace? There's nothing inherently anti-Israel about this suggestion -- and in the context of the full letter, it is clearly an expression of these leaders' frustration in the face of Israeli government policies that undermine a future two-state solution.
abu_mazen186x140.jpgAlpher talks about Mahmoud Abbas' surprising remarks to Israel TV channel 2 regarding the right of return, borders and violence, the smaller and newer lists worth following in the upcoming Israeli elections and the "phantom" parties that may or may not coalesce.
plan-east_jslm186x140.jpgThe Israeli Land Administration announced last week the allocation of 180 new housing units in East Jerusalem for families of people from the Israeli security forces (the army and police). The decision was made in accordance with the Israeli Government's decision from 20.5.12 to allocate units for security people in Jerusalem in "places with special characteristics that can justify such allocations, according to the ILA considerations".