J Street Daily News Roundup 10/29/13

October 29th, 2013

J Street works to promote an open, honest and rigorous conversation about Israel. The opinions reflected in articles posted in the News Roundup do not necessarily reflect J Street's positions, and their posting does not constitute an endorsement from J Street.

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J Street in the News

Israeli, Palestinian groups partner, Georgetown Hoya

Students for Justice in Palestine and the Georgetown Israel Alliance, two groups usually at odds, are coming together with J Street U Georgetown to co-sponsor a film screening November 6 about issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The screening of “The Other Son,” a fictional film about a Palestinian and an Israeli who are switched at birth, marks the first time the GIA and SJP have collaborated.

Top News and Analysis

Obama, Netanyahu discuss Iran, Middle East talks by phone, Reuters

President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke by phone on Monday and discussed recent developments on Iran, Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, and other regional issues, the White House said on Monday.

Palestinian prisoners prepare for release from Israeli jails, Haaretz

The 26 Palestinian prisoners slated to be released from Israeli prisons on Tuesday evening have undergone a series of medical exams and have met with representatives of the Red Cross, Israel Radio reported on Tuesday.

Netanyahu: Prisoner release one of ‘toughest’ decisions as PM, Times of Israel

Netanyahu told a Likud-Beiteinu faction meeting Monday that “the decision to release prisoners is one of the toughest decisions that I’ve taken as prime minister… I am certain that all the prime ministers who made this decision before me agonized over it as well, due to the injustice of villains being released before they serve the full term of their sentences. My heart is with the bereaved families, and it pains me. This decision is a necessity given the reality in which we live.”

At a HaBayit HaYehudi faction meeting Monday, party head Bennett decried the verbal attacks on the party for opposing the impending release. Meanwhile, at a HaT’nuah’s faction meeting, members criticized the HaBayit HaYehudi, which has sought to place the blame for the release in the lap of HaT’nuah’s party chair, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, who is leading Israel’s negotiations with the Palestinians.

Bereaved families gather to protest prisoner release, Times of Israel

As many as 3,000 demonstrators gathered Monday night outside the Ofer prison near Ramallah to protest the prisoner release. Among the demonstrators were family members of the victims of terror attacks perpetrated by some of those slated for release on Tuesday. Demonstrators carried the victims’ pictures, and many of them shouted, “Jewish blood is not cheap.”

Abbas said to soften stance on interim peace agreement, Times of Israel

President Abbas has reportedly softened his objection to an interim peace agreement, an option he was known to vehemently resist previously. Abbas is no longer completely opposed to such a deal, which would create a framework for two states but likely postpone the resolution of the toughest issues such as final borders, shared sovereignty over Jerusalem and the fate of Palestinian refugees, according to a Tuesday Israel Radio report, which gave no further details.


Abbas vows to continue efforts to release all Palestinian prisoners, Jerusalem Post

Abbas vowed on Monday to pursue his efforts to secure the release of more Palestinians from Israeli prisons. “We won’t have comfort until they are all released,” he said.

Bennett tells Post: I didn’t make a deal with PM to continue settlement construction, Jerusalem Post

Netanyahu did not offer the HaBayit HaYehudi the options of either a settlement construction freeze or a prisoner release, Economics Minister Naftali Bennett said, denying accusations made by other parties in recent weeks.

EU weighs Israeli proposals to resolve settlement guidelines dispute, Jerusalem Post

The European Union is weighing Israeli proposals for compromise language with regard to its guidelines against West Bank settlements that would allow the two entities to continue to sign cooperative agreements.

Jewish support for U.S. Iran strike drops, AJC survey shows, JTA

According to the annual American Jewish Committee poll, fewer American Jews support a US strike on Iran should diplomacy not end its suspected nuclear weapons program.

Opinion and Analysis

Despite Hebron's Importance, Israel Will Have to Give It Up, Open Zion

Samuel Lebens writes, “I have had powerful religious experiences standing at the graveside of Abraham and Sarah, but I would rather have a thriving, prosperous State of Israel with no control over this holy cemetery than generations of bloodshed and war in order to hold onto it.”

Releasing Palestinian prisoners is Netanyahu's double defense, Haaretz

Amos Harel examines the politics of the prisoner release.

Bennett Spins Again On Palestinian Prisoner Release, Al-Monitor

“Bennett cannot continue to have his cake and eat it for much longer,” says Mazal Mualem. “As soon as it becomes evident that there is progress in the talks with the Palestinians, he will have to choose between keeping his seat and holding true to his ideology.”

Who’s afraid of Palestine, Al-Monitor

Akiva Eldar discusses a new study conducted by Israeli and Jordanian researchers at the Netanya College’s S. Daniel Abraham Center for Strategic Dialogue.

New Guidebook Tells Reporters How Not to Write About Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Open Zion

Alice Su reviews “Use With Care: A Reporter’s Glossary of Loaded Language in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.”

Should Israel Cut Hamas Some Slack Despite Terror Tunnel Discovery?, Forward

JJ Goldberg suggests that Israel “doesn’t want to see the Hamas regime in Gaza weakened any further at this point… Were it toppled, Israeli strategists believe, whatever comes next would be far worse. For now, the military sees tunneling as a harmless diversion.”