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J Street in the News
Panel explores public opinion on Israel-Palestine negotiations, Daily Pennsylvanian
J Street U Penn hosted its annual Political Action Week panel, co-sponsored by the International Affairs Association and Dorm Room Diplomacy. This year’s panel, entitled “Polls and Peace: Israeli and Palestinian Public Opinion and the Ongoing Peace Talks,” featured Ramallah-based pollster Khalil Shikaki and Dahlia Scheindlin — a leading analyst of Israeli public opinion — and was moderated by political science professor Guy Grossman.
“Given that the sharing of Jerusalem is among the most important and central issues on the negotiating table, anything that deliberately changes Jerusalem’s status-quo until an agreement can be achieved is ill-advised,” wrote J Street Rabbinic Cabinet Co-Chair Rabbi John Rosove. “Those Israelis, aided and abetted by the settler movement and Israel’s right wing, that insist that Jerusalem cannot and should not be shared, are doing everything possible to create facts on the ground that will condemn negotiations to failure and assure continuing violence and war.”
Top News and Analysis
Senior Palestinian officials said that the Palestinian envoys to the peace talks with Israel will either be replaced in the coming days or be joined by new negotiators. The next meeting between the two sides has not be scheduled, and it is possible the Palestinians will take advantage of the current crisis to get answers or guarantees from the Americans before deciding to return to the bargaining table.
Kerry and Biden Ask for Room to Reach a Nuclear Deal With Iran, The New York Times
Secretary of State Kerry and Vice President Biden pressed senators to give the Obama administration breathing room to reach an accord with Iran to freeze its nuclear programs, warning that a new round of sanctions could mean war instead of diplomacy. But they faced extreme skepticism from lawmakers in both parties who worry the administration is prepared to give the Iranian government too much for too little.
Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Middle East Colin Kahl told the House Foreign Affairs Committee today that the deal proposed to Iran by the P5+1 countries in Geneva last weekend would “double Iran’s breakout time.” “That means it would take Iran twice as long” to produce enough highly enriched uranium for a nuclear bomb. “That is meaningful. The deal puts firm restrictions on Iran building fuel assemblies for the Arak fuel reactor.” It would “increase the inspections regime. [It] serves US and Israeli interests.”
Chief Israeli peace negotiator and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni slammed senior coalition partner HaBayit HaYehudi on the background of what she dubbed their "attempt to prevent us from reaching a diplomatic solution," saying "a radical minority has taken over our lives and it is motivated by very narrow interests."
Netanyahu vows to build 'thousands more homes' in settlements, Jerusalem Post
A day after forcing the Housing Ministry to “reconsider” preliminary work toward building 24,000 housing units beyond the Green Line, Prime Minister Netanyahu said that building in settlements would continue, but had to be done wisely.
Uri Ariel denies PM rebuked him over settlement tenders, Times of Israel
Housing Minister Uri Ariel denied that he was reprimanded by Netanyahu. He also said that the housing project was in its early stages and might still come to fruition.
The boom in settlement housing prices is outstripping rises within Israel’s internationally recognized borders, where prices have increased 8.1 percent since 2011, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics. Many settlers say they doubt both the likelihood of a peace deal that could force them out and authorities’ ability to evict them to make way for a future Palestinian state. While the government halted its longtime policy of offering mortgage breaks to settlers, it continues to offer smaller-scale housing incentives designed to attract people to live in the West Bank.
Israeli settlers set fire to a Palestinian house , leaving behind a message saying they were avenging the death of an Israeli soldier killed by a Palestinian the previous day, residents said. Several Palestinian children were treated for smoke inhalation and the house in the village of Sinjil in the occupied West Bank, was extensively damaged.
Thousands attend funeral of soldier killed by Palestinian youth, Times of Israel
Thousands of people attended the funeral of Eden Atias,18, in Nazareth Ilit’s military cemetery night, hours after the IDF soldier was stabbed to death while he was sleeping on a bus by a Palestinian youth.
Netanyahu said that the attack is a result of "continuous incitement" by the Palestinian Authority.
Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon urged Netanyahu to suspend the future planned releases of Palestinian prisoners. A fellow Likud deputy minister, Tzipi Hotovely, called for a suspension of negotiations with the Palestinian Authority. Opposition politicians, by contrast, said the crime should not be used as a pretext to halt talks with the Palestinians on an accord that serves Israel’s interests.
Soldiers come under mortar fire from Gaza, Times of Israel
Palestinians fired two mortar shells at IDF soldiers who were patrolling along the border with the Gaza Strip morning. There were no reports of injuries to the soldiers or damage caused in the attack.
The State Department rejected Israel's assessment that the deal offered to Iran by the world powers in Geneva could be worth up to $40 billion to Tehran.
Kerry’s ‘emotional appeal’ against sanctions flops, Times of Israel
Republicans said they were unconvinced by Kerry’s closed-door presentation to the Senate Banking Committee. “It was an emotional appeal,” Senator Bob Corker said. “I have to tell you I was very disappointed in the presentation.”
Most Israelis distrust US on Iran, poll finds, Times of Israel
According to a poll of Israelis conducted by the Rafi Smith Institute, 55 percents said that the US cannot be relied upon to safeguard Israel’s security during the Iranian talks.
Opinion and Analysis
Amos Harel examines the recent increase in Palestinian violence against Israelis.
Netanyahu government 'Israelizes' east Jerusalem, Al-Monitor
Akiva Eldar warns that Israeli housing policies in Jerusalem are further complicating efforts to achieve a two-state solution.
Bradley Burston says that settlers are sending the message to Netanyahu that “we'd sell your mother if it meant tens of thousands of homes in 23 settlements for a suggested list price of NIS 50 million.”
How Netanyahu Plays the Settlement Game, Open Zion
Michael Omer-Man says, “The only thing [Netanyahu] objected to, actually, was the timing of the [housing] announcement.”