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Blog: November 2010 Archives

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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?

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.


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.