By Farah Stockman
They said it couldn't be done. But he did it. Monday night, John Kerry got Palestinian and Israeli negotiators to agree to eat a meal together for the first time in years. They say talks can't make peace. But who knows without trying? One thing we know for sure is that peace doesn't make itself.
July 2013 Archives
By Farah Stockman
APN's Ori Nir was a panelist on Public Radio International's To The Point with Warren Olney on Wednesday, July 31, discussing the newly restarted Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.
In October 2011 the Israeli government, with a huge majority including most of the Likud's ministers, voted in favor of releasing more than 1027 Palestinian prisoners, 280 of them having been convicted for murder and assisting in the murder of Israeli citizens, in return for the release of the kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit. The released prisoners were received as kings, and the Hamas movement used the opportunity to the utmost in order to show how violent resistance is the best way to make Israel bow down.
On a visit to London, APN's Lara Friedman was interviewed by Bicom, the Britain-Israel Communications and Research Center, about the resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
click here to listen
Last time it was the House; now it's the Senate.
Earlier this month, thousands of APN activists responded to our call to contact their elected members of the House of Representatives and urge them to sign onto a letter supporting reinvigorated U.S. diplomacy with Iran. The result was an historic letter to President Obama, signed by a bipartisan group of 131 members of Congress. Now we are reaching out to you, APN's activists, once again. This time, we need you to contact your senators and urge them to sign the letter being circulated by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) - the full text of the letter is available here.
Americans for Peace Now (APN) welcomes the appointment of Ambassador Martin Indyk to be Secretary Kerry's special envoy to Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and welcomes the Israeli and Palestinian negotiating teams to Washington.
Deal With Resolving 1967 Before You Get to 1948
Let's set aside for a moment all the familiar reasons why renewed peace talks won't work.
This week, Alpher discusses Netanyahu's motives for agreeing to release terrorists from Israeli jails as an entry ticket to two-state solution negotiations in Washington, why Netanyahu agreed to release terrorist murderers rather than accept what appear to be alternative Palestinian preconditions: the 1967 lines or a settlement freeze, what the first substantial area of disagreement will be about, how significant is it that the European Union "balanced" its directives regarding settlements by declaring the Hezbollah military wing a terrorist organization, whether Washington is justified in refusing to view the army takeover as a coup that requires cutting off aid and Israel's election of two chief rabbis.
Americans for Peace Now welcomes the ruling of the US Federal Appeals court rejecting efforts by Congress to legislate U.S. policy with respect to Jerusalem. The Court affirmed in its ruling that, as APN has long argued, this sensitive foreign policy issue constitutionally falls under the president's foreign policy prerogative.
Iran's election of Hassan Rouhani, a former nuclear negotiator who promised greater nuclear transparency and to pursue "peace and reconciliation" with the outside world, presents the best opportunity for serious progress on diplomatic negotiations with Iran in over eight years.
With Israeli-Palestinian peace diplomacy stuck for so many years, we who dedicate our lives to peace for Israel and her neighbors have been feeling a little like the East Coast cicadas that hibernate underground, and wait for more than a decade to see daylight.
The EU decision is limited to the settlements, but if construction in the occupied territories continues, a boycott of Israel at large is only a matter of time
By Yariv Oppenheimer
Ian Black, the Middle East Editor of the Guardian, was APN's guest on a briefing call on Monday, July 22. He spoke about the resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, from the European perspective, and focused on the European Union's new policy regarding Israeli West Bank settlements.
This week, Alpher discusses whether last week's events were a major turning point in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, if what we are seeing are indeed renewed peace talks, what changed in the Israeli-Palestinian reality to push the leaders to drop some of their conditions, accept others, and agree for their negotiators to meet, why these negotiations are different from all previous negotiating attempts between Netanyahu and Abbas, and why the EU decision, if its economic impact is limited, is significant.
Americans for Peace Now (APN) today commended the 131 members of the House of Representatives who, in a remarkable show of bipartisan cooperation, came together to urge President Obama to pursue reinvigorated U.S. efforts to secure a negotiated nuclear agreement with Iran. APN particularly commended Representatives Dent (R-PA) and Price (D-NC) for their leadership in initiating this important letter and for bringing so many of their colleagues on board. APN was proud to support the Dent-Price letter. We thank our nationwide network of activists who engaged energetically to ensure that members of Congress knew that their constituents wanted them to sign on.
Secretary of State
July 19, 2013
SECRETARY KERRY: Good evening, everybody, thank you very much for your patience. I apologize for the delay. I'm just going to make a statement, and I'm not going to take any questions at this point in time.
On behalf of President Obama, I am pleased to announce that we have reached an agreement that establishes a basis for resuming direct final status negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israelis. This is a significant and welcome step forward.
The agreement is still in the process of being formalized, so we are absolutely not going to talk about any of the elements now. Any speculation or reports you may read in the media or elsewhere or here in the press are conjecture. They are not based on fact because the people who know the facts are not talking about them. The parties have agreed that I will be the only one making further comments about this.
Secretary of State John Kerry Announces the Resumption of Israeli-Palestinian Peace Negotiations.
Israeli and Palestinian negotiators are set to resume peace talks after years of a diplomatic lull.
Urges Leaders to Negotiate in Earnest; Calls for Stakeholders' Support
Washington, DC - With a great deal of hope, Americans for Peace Now (APN) enthusiastically welcomes the forthcoming resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. APN applauds Secretary of State John Kerry for his tenacious efforts to achieve this diplomatic breakthrough. APN calls on the leaders of Israel and the Palestinians to negotiate in earnest and expeditiously toward the goal of achieving a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The European Union on July 19th published in its Official Journal the new guidelines on the ineligibility of Israeli entities that have activities in the Occupied Territories for EU grants.
The full text of the guidelines is available here (scroll down to page 9).
APN has welcomed the new guidelines.
Please join us for a briefing call on Monday July 22nd at 12:00 noon with The Guardian's Middle East editor Ian Black to discuss the EU's policy and other issues.
To participate, call 951-797-1058 and enter access code: 147414
Americans for Peace Now and the American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP) have recently offered two events fostering open dialogue and constructive conversation about Israeli-Palestinian relations featuring our respective interns.
Recently we asked you to contact your member of Congress and ask him/her to sign the Dent-Price letter - a letter urging President Obama to seize the opportunity presented by the recent election in Iran to try to re-energize U.S.-Iran diplomacy.
All of us thirst for evidence that our pro-Israel, pro-peace agenda is having traction - and this week we've gotten it in spades. No, there hasn't been a breakthrough (yet) in efforts to re-launch peace talks. But two major developments this week have put settlements and the occupation center stage - compelling Israelis to pay attention to the damage the Greater Israel enterprise is inflicting on them and the state of Israel.
Americans for Peace Now (APN) today welcomed the EU's decision to differentiate between Israel and the occupied territories in its foreign relations, and condemned anticipated new Israeli settlement approvals that came to light today.
Former Shin Bet chief calls on Netanyahu to "overcome fears"; fears Mideast conflict is taking a back seat in Israeli public interest.
By Yuval Diskin
This week, Alpher discusses why the IDF has announced a radical downsizing, why American officials leaked to the media that it was Israel that destroyed a Syrian arms depot near Latakia last week, and a comparison of the 2011 and 2013 army takeovers in Egypt to that carried out by Nasser in 1952.
People are still debating whether the recent ejection of the elected government in Egypt meets the definition of a "coup." This debate has arisen because U.S. law requires a suspension of aid to a country whose democratically-elected government has been ousted following military intervention -- a condition that seems to clearly apply in this case.
Unlike Yom Kippur, the fast of which is intended to elevate us, the fast of Tisha B'Av (the 9th of Av), which is observed beginning the evening of July 15th this year, recognizes the lowest of levels to which humans can descend.
For me and my colleagues at Shalom Achshav, one of the most inspiring and energizing times of the year is the week in which Americans for Peace Now (APN) brings a group of friends and supporters to see Israel through the eyes of Israeli peace activists and to see up-close what we at Israel's Peace Now movement do to help secure a future of peace, democracy, and freedom for our country and our neighbors.
1. Bills, Resolutions & Letters
2. Congress Responds (with Some Confusion) to Egypt
3. House GOP Love-in with Settler Leader?
5. Members on the Record
6. From the Press/Blogs
On July 11, 2013, APN hosted its founder, Professor Mark Rosenblum of Queens College for a briefing call on the situation in the Middle East and prospects for progress toward Israeli-Palestinian peace.
Click here to play.
July 10, 2013, Tel Aviv: Israel used to be a nation of political parties marked by hard-and-fast ideologies--but not so much today. Even the right's toxic combination of religious zealotry and hard-edged cynicism has more to do with a mindset than with a clear set of beliefs.
The life of a party these days barely lasts past an election cycle or past the successor to a charismatic leader. Parties that appear to be the next big thing (like the centrist Kadima a short time ago) disappear before the next cycle. It is a profound shift: although the new parties are ostensibly created around an idea, in fact they are dependent for their voter base upon often a sole personality.
Click here to read more.
Americans for Peace Now and the America Task Force on Palestine
invite you to attend
Conversations on Conflicts: The Israeli-Palestinian Dispute on Campus
The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars
Ori Nir (Spokesperson, APN)
Ghaith al-Omari (Executive Director, ATFP)
The Washington Center, with Americans for Peace Now (APN) and the American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP) will host a roundtable discussion on the question: "Can we create safe space on campus for discussion of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?" Along with expert speakers from APN and ATFP, the unique roundtable format will include current and former student leaders. Active participation by attendees will be encouraged throughout. The goal is for students to learn strategies and tactics for creating room at their universities for an honest, balanced dialogue about the conflict.
Thursday, July 18
6:30 - 8:30 PM
The Washington Center
1005 3rd Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002
Dinner will be provided.
RSVPs to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Several times in the past, we have asked you to contact your member of Congress to tell them to give diplomacy a real chance with Iran. We are doing so again, today. The recent election of Hassan Rouhani as the new president of Iran presents a potentially historic opening for new, productive U.S. diplomacy with Iran. This is an opportunity which the U.S. cannot afford to miss.
Tell your member of Congress to support diplomacy.
Americans for Peace Now (APN) wishes a full recovery to Theresa Heinz-Kerry and sends its support to Secretary of State John Kerry and his family at this difficult time. Our hearts go out to the Kerry family.
This week Alpher responds to the question of what he thinks is likely to happen next in Egypt, and discusses what ramifications of last week's military takeover in Egypt that can already be identified are relevant for Israel, how he would characterize the damage done by the army takeover in Egypt to the cause of democratization in the Arab world, what are the army's options, and his take as an ex-intelligence official on the Snowden revelations
By Rabbi Alana Suskin
About them, the words of Jeremiah ring as true today as they did when they were spoken--"You entered and defiled My land."
Following up on Secretary of State Kerry's visit to Israel and Palestine, the Israeli Peace Now movement has launched a campaign to tell Secretary Kerry that Israelis want peace.
Yesterday, Secretary of State John Kerry wound up his fifth trip to Israel/Palestine. The following are some observations about the visit and the overall Kerry peace effort.
This week, Alpher discusses who is to blame for the failure, thus far, of Secretary of State John Kerry's Middle East peace mission, how the Israeli public will address this breakthrough should Kerry succeed in compelling Netanyahu and Abbas to enter negotiations, how significant Netanyahu's apparent growing isolation within his own Likud party is, and whether, one year after a Muslim Brotherhood candidate was elected to the presidency of Egypt, the country is undergoing another revolution.
On June 28, 2013, APN hosted Professor Shibley Telhami of the University of Maryland and the Brookings Institute's Saban Center for a briefing call on Arab public opinion and on how the Israeli-Palestinian conflict plays in the Arab public's worldview.
Click here to play