Issue Memo

AIPAC's analysis of current issues, policy and legislation.

  • Issues Memos

    Key Principles of the Peace Process (PDF)

    October 13, 2010

    The United States and Israel have long shared the goal of establishing peace between Israel and all of its Arab neighbors, including the Palestinians. For decades, the United States has engaged in diplomatic efforts to facilitate negotiations between Israelis and Arabs. Throughout these efforts, successful American diplomacy has been founded on several core principles. These remain key to improving the likelihood for future success in Israeli-Arab talks.

  • Issues Memos

    Iran Increasingly Isolated but Remains Defiant (PDF)

    September 16, 2010

    Recently stepped-up sanctions are shaking the Iranian economy with accompanying signs of fissures in the Iranian government and society. Nonetheless, Tehran continues to advance its nuclear program in defiance of the international community. The latest International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report raises serious concerns about Iran's increased ability to enrich uranium and the agency's declining ability to monitor Tehran's activities. The United States and the international community must further press Iran to change course before it achieves nuclear weapons capability.

  • Issues Memos

    U.S. Sticking to Key Principles Critical to Talks' Success (PDF)

    September 16, 2010

    By promoting the resumption of direct negotiations, America has helped create an historic opportunity for Israelis and Palestinians to resolve their differences. The United States can enhance prospects for a successful outcome by adhering to key principles that have guided previous U.S.-led negotiations. These principles include: facilitating negotiations and eschewing efforts to impose a solution; encouraging the parties to persist in direct talks even in the face of near-term setbacks; insisting on broad Arab support for the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the talks; maintaining American commitments to Israel's security; and dealing with disagreements that may arise privately.

  • Issues Memos

    Direct Talks — Not Preconditions — Can Lead to Peace (PDF)

    September 16, 2010

    During the past 18 months, Israel has offered numerous goodwill gestures to woo Palestinians back to direct peace talks: calling for a Palestinian state, reducing barriers to movement in the West Bank, and implementing a West Bank housing construction moratorium. Unfortunately, Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas refused to resume direct talks until it became clear that this would lead to no further Israeli concessions. He is now threatening to quit the nascent talks when the moratorium expires at the end of September and said he will make no concessions in the talks. Such behavior threatens the prospects for peace, which can only be achieved through serious, direct talks between two sides willing to make the necessary compromises — steps Israel has repeatedly shown it is prepared to undertake.

  • Issues Memos

    Palestinians Must Match Israel's Dedication to Peace (PDF)

    August 31, 2010

    Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas’ decision to resume direct negotiations with Israel is a welcome development since such talks are the only viable path to achieving peace. But Abbas must do more than come to the table. Israeli-Palestinian talks can only succeed now if the PA, with strong support of the Arab states, matches Israel’s commitment to conducting peace talks without preconditions or excuses, demonstrates a willingness to make the necessary compromises at the negotiating table, and ceases incitement against Israel. For more than six decades, Israel has repeatedly demonstrated its willingness to make heartrending sacrifices—altering borders, relinquishing territory and uprooting entire communities—in the pursuit of peace.

  • Issues Memos

    LAF Provocation Demands Tough International Response (PDF)

    August 04, 2010

    The Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) yesterday opened fire on Israeli soldiers performing routine maintenance on Israeli territory. This follows increasing LAF cooperation with the U.S.-designated terrorist group Hizballah, which now has amassed up to 60,000 rockets and missiles, vastly improved its weapons capabilities, and stepped up its threats against Israel. The United States and the international community must strongly support Israel in defending itself and firmly press the government of Lebanon to take concrete measures to repair the deteriorating security situation along the Israeli-Lebanese border.

  • Issues Memos

    New U.S. Sanctions Isolating Defiant Iran (PDF)

    July 16, 2010

    Just two weeks after being signed into law, the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Divestment Act (CISADA) — the toughest Iran sanctions legislation to date — is already having a significant impact. Combined with the latest round of U.N. Security Council sanctions, the new U.S. law is convincing many foreign companies to sever ties with the Iranian regime — although some continue to defy the international community and are stepping up business with Iran. President Obama must strictly enforce and implement CISADA in order to dramatically increase the pressure on the Iranian regime and maximize the chance of persuading Iran to suspend its nuclear program.

  • Issues Memos

    Implementing Unprecedented Sanctions Could Prevent Nuclear Iran (PDF)

    July 08, 2010

    Congress' passage of the most comprehensive and toughest Iran sanctions legislation to date will — if implemented promptly and aggressively — dramatically increase the pressure on the Iranian regime to halt its illicit pursuit of nuclear weapons. The Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act, passed by the Senate 99 to 0 and by the House 408-8-1, aims to stifle Iran's energy sector, restrict Tehran's ability to conduct international financial transactions, and hamper its ability to obtain components for its nuclear and missile programs. Quick implementation and strong enforcement by the president — who signed the bill into law on July 1 — and his administration hold the last best hope of persuading Iran to suspend its quest for nuclear weapons through political, economic, and diplomatic means.

  • Issues Memos

    U.S., Israel Repeat Calls for Direct Talks with Reluctant PA (PDF)

    July 08, 2010

    The July 6 White House meeting between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reflects a continuing effort by the two allies to restart serious direct Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. During the meeting, both the president and the prime minister affirmed the need for the two sides to move quickly from indirect "proximity" talks to direct talks. In an effort to pave the way for such talks, Israel has already taken a series of bold steps to condition the environment for peace. Unfortunately, the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Arab states continue to insist on unreasonable preconditions that block progress.

  • Issues Memos

    Hamas' History of Terror (PDF)

    June 29, 2010

    When Israel intercepted the recent flotilla headed toward Gaza, many of its passengers openly expressed support for Hamas, the Iranian-backed terrorist group ruling Gaza that explicitly seeks Israel's destruction and is blocking international organizations from visiting an Israeli soldier it has held captive for four years. Designated by the United States as a terrorist organization in 1997, Hamas has killed more than 500 innocent civilians, including two dozen Americans. Hamas can be a legitimate partner for negotiations only when it meets three conditions articulated by the international community: it must accept Israel's right to exist, reject violence, and endorse previous Israeli-Palestinian peace agreements.

  • Issues Memos

    Israel Eases Gaza Blockade Despite Hamas Threat (PDF)

    June 21, 2010

    Despite the continued risks posed by Hamas in Gaza, Israel has decided to take additional dramatic measures to facilitate the transfer of civilian goods into Gaza. Most significantly, yesterday's Cabinet decision — a continuation of Israel's efforts to facilitate humanitarian assistance that was welcomed by the United States and Quartet — will create a list banning weapons and sensitive dual-use items while allowing all other items to be transferred. Israel has a legitimate right to prevent Hamas' military build-up, as the terrorist group continues to call for the Jewish state's destruction and has relentlessly targeted innocent Israeli civilians.

  • Issues Memos

    Israel Acts in Self-Defense to Limit Hamas Gaza Threat (PDF)

    June 14, 2010

    Since Hamas brutally seized Gaza from the Palestinian Authority in 2007, Israel has tried to prevent weapons from being smuggled into the area while facilitating humanitarian aid. As Vice President Biden recently said, "I think Israel has an absolute right to deal with its security interest. ...The truth of the matter is, Israel has a right to know — they're at war with Hamas... whether or not arms are being smuggled in." Rather than working with Israel to provide humanitarian aid, the recent flotilla sought to break Israel's legal blockade and provoke a confrontation. Israel is working with the United States and others to further expand the delivery of aid into Gaza as it investigates the background and lessons from the flotilla incident.

  • Issues Memos

    Israel Acts in Self-Defense to Limit Hamas Gaza Threat (PDF)

    June 14, 2010

    Since Hamas brutally seized Gaza from the Palestinian Authority in 2007, Israel has tried to prevent weapons from being smuggled into the area while facilitating humanitarian aid. As Vice President Biden recently said, "I think Israel has an absolute right to deal with its security interest. ...The truth of the matter is, Israel has a right to know — they're at war with Hamas... whether or not arms are being smuggled in." Rather than working with Israel to provide humanitarian aid, the recent flotilla sought to break Israel's legal blockade and provoke a confrontation. Israel is working with the United States and others to further expand the delivery of aid into Gaza as it investigates the background and lessons from the flotilla incident.

  • Issues Memos

    U.N. Security Council Toughens, Expands Iran Sanctions (PDF)

    June 09, 2010

    The U.N. Security Council today imposed significant new sanctions on Iran for its defiance of the world body's five previous resolutions demanding a halt to its illicit nuclear program. The international community must immediately act to fully implement the decision of the Security Council as Iran has stockpiled enough low enriched uranium that — if further processed — could produce two nuclear weapons. At the same time, the United States — which pressed hard for the U.N. action — and our allies, such as the EU, must immediately reinforce the U.N. measure with tougher national and multilateral sanctions.

  • Issues Memos

    Flawed NPT Call Ignores Iranian Threat, Singles Out Israel (PDF)

    June 02, 2010

    The faulty final document coming out of the United Nations' recently completed month-long Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) review conference failed to address the key nuclear proliferation threat facing the Middle East and the world: Iran. The document does not include any mention of Iranian or Syrian violations of their treaty obligations, but instead singles out Israel and calls on the United Nations to convene a conference in 2012 on the establishment of a Middle East zone free of weapons of mass destruction. Without the necessary precondition of true regional peace, the United States should prevent such a gathering, which will predictably turn into yet another international forum to bash Israel.