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We are planting for the future.

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There is a story in the Talmud of a man who was walking along a road, and came upon an elderly man planting a carob tree. Seeing how old the gardener was, he asked him, "How long does this tree take to bear fruit?" The old man said, "70 years." The first man asked the gardener if he expected to live that long, and the man replied, "What I am planting, I am planting for my children, just as others planted for me."

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We are planting for the future.

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There is a story in the Talmud of a man who was walking along a road, and came upon an elderly man planting a carob tree. Seeing how old the gardener was, he asked him, "How long does this tree take to bear fruit?" The old man said, "70 years." The first man asked the gardener if he expected to live that long, and the man replied, "What I am planting, I am planting for my children, just as others planted for me."

"Price Tag" Escalation Timeline: Jan 1, 2011 - present

The following is a timeline of major "Price Tag" attacks (as reported by Israeli sources).  It documents a clear escalation in attacks, and the increasing spread of attacks inside the Green Line.  Italics indicate so-called "triggers" - events or developments that appear to be linked to subsequent attacks - although as has been noted in the Israeli press, "According to the Shin Bet, the right-wing extremists no longer appear to need a 'trigger' to take action, while the targets of the violence are also widening..." We will update this regularly.

Responding to news that the Obama Administration and its international partners had reached an agreement with Iran to implement the Joint Plan of Action signed in November 2013, Americans for Peace Now (APN) is calling on Congress to support President Obama's diplomatic effort and is urging fellow American Jewish organizations to stop their campaign in support of new Iran sanctions.

Ariel Sharon (1928 - 2014)

ariel-sharon320x265.jpgAriel Sharon was a man of complexities and contradictions, a controversial persona. And he was a man of actions, dramatic actions. Some of these actions greatly contributed to the security and wellbeing of the state of Israel. Such was his bold decision to cross the Suez Canal in October 1973, when Israel was facing a real danger of defeat by the Egyptian army. 

But most of Sharon's bold actions led to disasters. Such was his bloody military adventure in Lebanon in 1982, which led to terrible carnage, including a massacre in two Palestinian refugee camps, Sabra and Shatilla, for which Sharon was found to have been indirectly responsible. Or his provocative show of force at the entrance to Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount in 2000, a move that ignited the Second Intifada. 

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This week, Alpher discusses how the Israeli and Palestinian leaderships are positioning themselves in anticipation of being presented with some sort of framework agreement by US Secretary of State John Kerry, the story of Ariel Sharon's meeting with Alpher in 1994 to discuss his use of the settlements to "divide and rule" the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, what he thinks of the Palestinian allegation that Israel could do far more to prevent settler attacks, and whether there is a broad strategic significance to the internecine fighting in Sunni areas of both northern Syria and western Iraq.

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This is the tenth in a series of reviews of books on Middle Eastern affairs. Dr. Gail Weigl, an APN volunteer and a professor of art history, reviewed David Ehrlich's new collection of short stories.

David Ehrlich, Who Will Die Last: Stories of Life in Israel, edited by Ken Frieden (Syracuse University Press, 2013). 147 pages. $19.95

Sardonic, witty, poignant, resigned, this extraordinary collection of short stories is a welcome addition to the canon of Israeli literature in translation.

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APN's President and CEO Debra DeLee said: "Israelis today are saying farewell to a bold leader who toward the end of his political career was transformed from a staunch hawk who initiated war and provocative belligerent actions to a leader who recognized that Israel's strategic interests lie in an agreement with the Palestinians.

APN Legislative Round-Up: Week Ending Jan. 10, 2014

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Israel-Palestine pundits often seem to compete over who will be more skeptical, if not dismissive, of new diplomatic initiatives. Given past peace-making failures, they know that predictions of failure are their best bets.

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Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer got it wrong when they laid blame for the Iraq War on the "Israel Lobby" (in their book, The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy). However, a war with Iran could be a different story. As I warned back in March 2012, a much clearer line can be drawn between the efforts of U.S. Jewish groups and hawkish Iran policies. "For more than a decade," I wrote, "the same forces that Walt and Mearsheimer erroneously blamed for America's Iraq debacle have openly led efforts to convince Washington and the American people that war with Iran is necessary and inevitable."

Be Hopeful! The Anti-Peace Squad is Freaking Out

Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is known for the quip "If you can't solve a problem, enlarge it." Opponents of Israeli-Palestinian peace have their own spin on that quip, best summed up as, "If you don't want to solve a problem, pile on more problems." As a result, a valuable metric for gauging how seriously things are going in Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts - or, at least, how worried anti-peace folks are getting that things are going seriously - has long been the extent to which opponents of peace are ginning up discredited, specious, or disingenuous arguments. And a look at current headlines indicates that opponents of peace are taking the Kerry peace effort very seriously, indeed.

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Israel's Peace Now (Shalom Achshav) movement today sent a letter to the Israeli government, demanding that it enforce the law and remove Esh Kodesh, a West Bank settlement that was established in violation of Israeli law, whose residents have repeatedly attacked neighboring Palestinians.

Yariv Oppenheimer: The Truth Behind the Jordan Valley

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Security for Settlers, Not the State of Israel

Analysis by Peace Now's Director General, Yariv Oppenheimer

Required Reading: Dov Weisglass on the Jordan Valley

Last week, Dov Weisglass - former top advisor to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon - wrote in Yedioth Ahronoth (Hebrew edition) about the Israeli security needs and the Jordan Valley. His article, translated by Israel News Today (INT), is required reading for anyone following this issue and how it is being exploited today in efforts to block progress toward an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement.

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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.

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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.

It's Not Right vs. Left, It's Right vs. Wrong

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Aviva Meyer

I'm writing to you because you have been supportive of APN in the past. So, first, I'd like to say thank you for your past support.

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.

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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.

Statement: APN Condemns New Iran Sanctions Bill in Senate

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.   

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