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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 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
President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke by phone and discussed recent developments on Iran, Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, and other regional issues, the White House said .
The 26 Palestinian prisoners slated to be released from Israeli prisons evening have undergone a series of medical exams and have met with representatives of the Red Cross, Israel Radio reported .
Netanyahu: Prisoner release one of ‘toughest’ decisions as PM, Times of Israel
Netanyahu told a Likud-Beiteinu faction meeting 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 , 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 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 . 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 Israel Radio report, which gave no further details.
Abbas vowed 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.
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.
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.
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
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.”
Amos Harel examines the politics of the prisoner release.
“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.
Alice Su reviews “Use With Care: A Reporter’s Glossary of Loaded Language in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.”
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.”