Washington, DC - Washington, DC - Americans for Peace Now (APN) welcomes news that Secretary of State John Kerry will in the coming days present Israeli and Palestinian leaders with an outline for a peace deal. APN urges Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to seriously engage with Kerry's initiative, in order to achieve a breakthrough for peace.
December 2013 Archives
Americans for Peace Now (APN) welcomes news that Secretary of State John Kerry will in the coming days present Israeli and Palestinian leaders with an outline for a peace deal.
For years, Israel and the American Jewish community have been sounding the alarm over Iran's nuclear program. This alarm is wholly justified, given the Iranian regime's record in the nuclear arena, the views and behavior of many of its officials over the years, and its support of international terrorism.
This week, Alpher discusses what Kerry is doing differently from his many predecessors who have tried and failed to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, how bad the escalating Palestinian violence is, whether there is escalating Israeli opposition to a deal brokered by Kerry, the interaction between Israeli prisoner release and the new settlement construction and the third release of pre-Oslo Palestinian terrorists and whether Pollard fits in somewhere, and whether he has any predictions for the Middle East in 2014.
I recently joined APN's board as I feel strongly that this is a pivotal moment for the peace movement in Israel and for Israel's future. As we usher in 2014, we are halfway through the time allotted for this round of peace negotiations. Soon we will know if President Obama and Secretary Kerry were successful in getting Israeli and Palestinian negotiators to agree on the outlines for a future peace deal.
We at APN know a thing or two about Christmas. We know it is the holiday that celebrates peace, and as you know, "peace" is our middle name. On this Christmas day, Americans for Peace Now embraces our Christian supporters and sends them our warm wishes for a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, a year of peace and light.
This week, Alpher gives an interim assessment of ramifications for the region on the three year anniversary since the outbreak of the Arab revolutions and where this leaves the United States and Israel, discusses whether Sunday's terrorist bus-bombing in Israel is part of a new escalation, and comments on the latest Snowden revelations regarding American eavesdropping on senior Israeli leaders' cell phones and emails.
APN today issued the following statement on the introduction of new Iran sanctions legislation in the Senate on Thursday:
"We condemn in the strongest terms the introduction of new Iran sanctions legislation in the Senate (S. 1881) by Senators Menendez (D-NJ), Kirk (R-IL) and a 25 of their colleagues. We urge Senate leaders to refuse to move this ill-timed and highly problematic legislation forward. We likewise call on Senators from both parties to refuse to cosponsor it, and Senators who have already done so to recognize their error and retract their sponsorship.
We knew the fight to keep Iran-focused diplomacy alive wasn't over - and we were right. Yesterday, Senators Menendez (D-NJ), Kirk (R-IL) and a group of 25 colleagues introduced a new and highly problematic Iran sanctions bill in the Senate - S. 1881, ironically named the "Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2013." This bill, introduced just before the Senate breaks for the year, will be the focal point of anti-diplomacy efforts for the coming period.
Peace Now has produced a position paper on a controversial bill proposed by Knesset members Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi) and Robert Ilatov (Yisrael Beiteinu) on December 15th. The bill passed a vote of the Ministerial Committee on Legislative Affairs, with the support of ministers from Shaked's party and from Likud-Beiteinu. The bill would require any organization that receives funding from a foreign country to pay 45% tax of the funding received, if the organization or members of its board of directors call for the Prosecution of IDF soldiers, boycotting of Israel or its citizens, or if the organization denies the existence of the State of Israel, incite racism or supports the armed struggle of an enemy country or of a terror organization.
Last Friday, Peace Now hosted its annual Conference of the Israeli Progressive Peace Camp. The evening before the conference, my team and I were very concerned. The forecast predicted the worst storm in a century, and we were afraid not many people would brave the weather and attend. However, by 8:30 the next morning, hundreds of people had already arrived, surpassing even our most optimistic estimates. The large auditorium quickly filled, and we had to argue with the ushers to get more people inside the room. Despite the weather, we happily welcomed over 700 people and 70 speakers who had awakened early to travel through snow, rain and cold, to take their place with the peace camp.
Americans for Peace Now opposes boycotts of Israel and of Israeli institutions, such as the American Studies Association's decision to boycott Israeli universities.
We believe such campaigns are misguided and counterproductive. They target the average, innocent Israeli citizen -- who may well support an end to the occupation and a two-state solution -- rather than objectionable Israeli government policies.
The ASA's boycott of Israeli universities underscores the merits of our position. Israeli universities are the ultimate Israeli environment in which dissent and critical thinking flourishes. Boycotting them only damages efforts to encourage internal Israeli opposition to objectionable Israeli government policies.
Campaigns such as this have caused many Israelis and supporters of Israel -- people whose voices are vitally needed to oppose the policies that such campaigns target -- to feel compelled to defend Israel, regardless of the policies in question.
APN has joined its Israeli sister organization, Israel's peace movement Shalom Achshav (Peace Now) in its call for boycotting products made in Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
APN believes that for their actions to be both effective and morally defensible, pro-peace activists must make clear, emphatically and unambiguously, that their target is the occupation and its manifestations - such as Israeli settlements in the West Bank - and not Israel proper or innocent Israeli civilians.
To read APN's policy on boycotts, divestment and sanctions, click here.
APN recommends reading Peter Beinart's recent article on this issue.
The stakes are high. While many persist in comparing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to a schoolyard brawl, Israelis and Palestinians are struggling with matters of life and death. The question of the possibility of peace holds existential ramifications.
The broad strokes of a negotiated settlement between Israel and the Palestinians have been well known for decades - two states, Israel and Palestine, side by side, broadly based on the pre-1967 lines with agreed-upon land swaps. Israel's security needs will be addressed and anchored in a treaty and safeguarded by a powerful IDF.
Israel's Peace Now movement convened on Friday the third annual conference of Israel's peace camp. More than 700 people braved the weather - the worst winter storm in decades - to participate, and more than 100 spoke.
This week, Alpher discusses conflicting American statements regarding the objective of the current Israeli-Palestinian talks, how the relatively optimistic American approach jibes with repeated negative assessments by involved Israelis and Palestinians, whether last weekend's mega-storm that passed over the Middle East had any effect on Israeli-Palestinian cooperation, and what's behind the effort of the Israeli far right in once again trying to pass legislation that would restrict activities of foreign-funded NGOs.
Over the past weeks and months, APN challenged you, over and over, to take action on the issue of Iran. In each case, APN activists took up the challenge, generating thousands of calls and emails to members of the House and Senate. These interventions came at exactly the right time and conveyed the same underlying message: Americans who care about Israel want Congress to give diplomacy with Iran a chance.
Ameicans for Peace Now (APN) today issued the following statement: "As Congress goes into its winter recess, we commend those members of Congress who stood firm and rejected efforts, both in the House and Senate, to pursue legislative initiatives that would undermine the interim agreement with Iran and threaten the chances of reaching a permanent agreement with Iran - an agreement that offers the best chance to resolve U.S. and international concerns about Iran's nuclear program and nuclear ambitions.
Israeli-Palestinian relations - whether they take the form of intifada, peace process or merely the "status quo" - have never developed in a vacuum. Not only have interested third parties such as the U.S., European Union and Norway been involved, but so have immediate neighbours like Egypt and Jordan. The Arab League has also been involved, usually with Saudi urging, in initiatives like the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002 and the earlier 1982 Fahd plan.
More at the at the Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Center
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry gave a passionately pro-Israel speech this past weekend at the Saban Forum in Washington. On matters concerning Israel's security, its international legitimacy and its demographic future, he showed himself to be a true friend. There are people in Israel -- there were people at the Willard Hotel, where Kerry gave the speech, in fact -- who did not consider this speech pro-Israel, but they are deluding themselves.
On Wednesday the 4 December the Geneva Initiative held a conference "10 Years to the Geneva Initiative: Leading the Way to Peace". Here is the text of Yuval Diskin, former Head of the ISA's speech, which received very wide media coverage
Good evening and Happy Festival of the lights,
During this important event marking ten years to the Geneva Initiative, I would like to focus on three issues.
The first: Why the "two states for two peoples" option may fade and disappear in the near future.
Second: Why it is vital to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the near future on the basis of the two states for two people option.
Third: What needs to be done to succeed in this difficult mission.
There was pushing and shoving, physical confrontations, and cruel epithets directed at people like Yael Dayan, then a member of the Israeli Knesset and daughter of iconic Israeli leader Moshe Dayan. Also verbally abused were author Irving Howe, feminist leader Betty Friedan, and actor-activist Richard Dreyfus. The Los Angeles Times called it "a near riot."
Only weeks ago we welcomed the achievement in Geneva of an historic agreement with Iran. This interim agreement opens the door for a final agreement that resolves U.S. and international concerns about Iran's nuclear program and ambitions. Such an agreement holds the promise of a more secure and stable Middle East, as well as positive impacts outside the region.
Tell your Representative and Senators: support the Obama Administration's ongoing diplomacy with Iran.
What survey results show
In July of 2013, the government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority agreed to begin a nine- month period of talks, under U.S. sponsorship, to see if agreement could be achieved on a basic framework for a final settlement of the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
The Israeli right's eulogies for the South African freedom fighter ranged from unawareness to hypocrisy. Even if there is not full symmetry between apartheid and the occupation, Israel still stands for everything Mandela fought against
Why aren't the Netanyahus going to Nelson Mandela's funeral? The reason is surely not the high costs of the flight (after all, the budget for the couple's attendance of Thatcher's funeral was found without difficulty) nor a sudden fit of humility. Yet still, the Prime Minister is looking for any excuse to avoid standing next to the world's leaders to pay last respects to the man who fought and defeated the apartheid regime - and he knows why.
We Israelis often complain that 'there is no one to talk to.' But for many young Palestinians, Israelis are a lost cause - and anti-normalization means there is less interaction than ever to prove this wrong.
By Ori Nir
I recently met with a group of about a dozen young reporters and photojournalists from the West Bank. I asked them whether they had any contacts with Israeli journalists and was shocked to hear they did not. I told them that when I covered Palestinian affairs for Haaretz in the 1980s and '90s, Palestinian journalists were my primary sources - and my good friends. Back then, journalists on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian divide sought contact with each other, first and foremost because they thought their readers needed and wanted to know about their neighbors.
This week, Alpher discusses the seemingly significant high-level developments and statements regarding both the Israel-Arab peace process and Iran, against the backdrop of Israeli-American relations, how does the American security plan or "thoughts" challenge Netanyahu's security concept regarding the Jordan Valley, what is the significance of Obama's mention of a framework agreement as a negotiating outcome, what is the significance of Netanyahu's linkage of Iran and the two-state solution at the Saban Forum, and thoughts on Nelson Mandela's support for the Palestinians and consistent criticism of Israel.
Secretary of State John Kerry confirmed today that General John Allen, The Obama administration's special security envoy to the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, briefed Israeli and Palestinian leaders on the perception of the US regarding security arrangement on the way to achieving a two-state solution as well as the security regime that would characterize a future Palestinian state.
Speaking to reporters at Israel's Ben Gurion airport, before leaving the region back to the US, Kerry said that Allen's briefing was based on an analysis produced by the US security team that General Allen heads.
Americans for Peace Now (APN) mourns the death of Nelson Mandela, an iconic leader and an inspiration for peace-seekers worldwide.
APN's President and CEO Debra DeLee said: "Nelson Mandela demonstrated that peace and reconciliation are possible even in the most intractable conflicts, even when hope for resolution seems distant. Mandela has shown that with enough resolve and courage, bold leaders can do what is the unthinkable.
Peace Now to hold its 3rd "Conference of the Left"
Friday, December 13, Tel Aviv
Hundreds of activists and politicians will gather to discuss and strategize ways to promote peace.
A highlight from last year was the amazing speech of APN Board Member Mandy Patinkin, visiting Israel to film HBO's Homeland. Watch excerpts .
Briefing Call - Monday, December 9th, 11:30 am Eastern Time with Akiva Eldar
Dial-in Number: 951-797-1058; Participant Access Code: 147414#
Akiva will discuss the current state of Israeli-Palestinian relations, the peace process, Israeli politics, Israeli-American relations and the aftermath of the interim agreement to freeze Iran's nuclear program.
"Israel and Palestine: What's Next?"
with Akiva Eldar, Senior political columnist, Al-Monitor's Israel Pulse
Live in Washington, D.C. - Friday, Dec. 6, 2013, 3:00 PM - 4:30 PM
Sponsored by Americans for Peace Now, The Foundation for Middle East Peace, Middle East Institute, and Churches for Middle East Peace
SEIU Building, Conference Room #1406, 1800 Mass. Ave, NW
To RSVP, email email@example.com or call (202) 835-3650
An article in today's Haaretz reports on recent data released by Israel's Ministry of Defense regarding some of the actions taken under the current Minister of Defense, Moshe Yaalon, to promote settlements. The data covers only the first four months of Yaalon's tenure in office (mid-March through mid-July 2013). As we observed when the new Israeli coalition was announced, "the Minister of Defense...is effectively the reigning sovereign in the West Bank...In the new coalition, that position will be held by Moshe Ya'alon (Likud-Beiteinu), who has been a strong ally of the settlers."
This week, Alpher discusses whether Salafist Islamist terrorists in the West Bank is another sign of escalation toward a third intifada, if Netanyahu is inciting Congress and American Jewish leaders against Obama in the wake of the Geneva agreement with Iran, and what's behind the sharp protests by Druze and Bedouin--minorities who generally serve in the IDF.