J Street Daily News Roundup 11/19/13

November 19th, 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

Purposeful Discourse, The Dartmouth

“We must push our own leaders to ensure that Israeli and Palestinian leaders have US support for the hard but necessary choices ahead,” wrote J Street U Dartmouth Co-Chair Zachary Kamin. “It is counterproductive to peace to simply write off the political players [like former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert] involved in negotiations because of their past misdeeds.”

What American Jews Can Learn From ‘Dove’s Cry’, Open Zion

In her discussion of the film “Dove’s Cry,” Sigal Samuel noted that “at this year’s J Street conference, Member of Knesset Ruth Calderon said repeatedly that Jewish Israelis should get serious about studying Arabic.”

Dershowitz to J Street: Ditch the distortions, focus on Israel's survival, Haaretz

Alan Dershowitz responded to J Street Director of Government Affairs Dylan Williams.

Top News and Analysis

Al-Qaeda-linked group claims deadly Beirut blasts, Associated Press

An al-Qaida-linked group has claimed responsibility for twin suicide bombings that struck outside the Iranian Embassy in Beirut, killing 23 people, including an Iranian diplomat.

Delay likely in Senate Iran vote, Politico

A Senate vote on further Iran sanctions is unlikely to happen this week, senators and aides said Monday.

Kerry postpones trip to Israel ahead of Geneva Iran talks, JTA

Secretary of State John Kerry postponed a trip scheduled for this week to Israel.

Kerry hopes to visit Israel “in the coming weeks,” US State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki said.

Peace talks could resume this week, PA official says, Times of Israel

A Palestinian sources said that peace talks could resume without delay and President Abbas was seeking replacements to man his negotiating delegation over the coming two weeks.

Hollande: Jerusalem should be capital of Israel and Palestine, Haaretz

Prime Minister Netanyahu invited Abbas Monday to address the Israeli parliament, and said he would be willing to visit Ramallah. Speaking at a special plenary session in honor of French President Francois Hollande's visit to Israel, Netanyahu called on Abbas to "end the stalemate" between Israel and the Palestinians. Hollande, who addressed the Knesset after Netanyahu, said Jerusalem should become a shared capital and called on Israel to stop building settlements in the West Bank, which he said were “hampering the creation of a Palestinian state.”

David Makovsky joins Indyk’s Middle East peace team, Al-Monitor

Veteran Middle East scholar David Makovsky has joined the team of US Middle East peace envoy Martin Indyk as a strategist and senior advisor.


Palestinian breaks through checkpoint near Jerusalem, injuring 2 security guards, Jerusalem Post

A Palestinian vehicle broke through a security checkpoint north of Jerusalem on Tuesday, escaping a civilian security guard's gunfire and continuing toward the capital, police said.

Obama to update Senate leaders on Iran talks on Tuesday, Reuters

President Barack Obama will meet with Senate leaders from both parties on Tuesday ahead of international talks this week on Iran's nuclear program.

Iranian lawmakers demand government stick to nuclear program, Reuters

Iranian parliamentarians gathered signatures on Tuesday to demand that the government carry on enriching uranium to levels of 20 percent, a move that could complicate nuclear talks between Iran and world powers in Geneva this week.

New panel aims to settle Israeli, Palestinian business disputes, Reuters

Israeli and Palestinian businessmen, who sometimes have to exchange suitcases of cash for goods at military checkpoints, will soon be able to settle any commercial disputes on neutral ground. An Israeli former peace negotiator, Oren Shachor, and Palestinian tycoon Munib al-Masri have founded the Jerusalem Arbitration Center, in an rare example of cooperation aimed at bypassing the political pitfalls of decades of conflict.

Palestinians cast first-ever vote in UN General Assembly, Reuters

A routine UN General Assembly vote held special significance for the Palestinian delegation on Monday as it cast a ballot for the first time, an act the Palestinian envoy said brought his nation a step closer to full UN membership.

High Court gives Israel six months to evacuate illegal West Bank outposts, Haaretz

The High Court of Justice on Monday gave the state six months to evacuate houses built on private Palestinian land in three illegal West Bank outposts. Court President Asher Grunis and Justice Miriam Naor leveled unprecedented criticism against the state, writing that it was no longer possible to rely on the state’s commitments on such matters.

In New York, Bennett hammers home Jerusalem’s message on a nuclear Iran, Haaretz

At Manhattan's 92nd Street Y on Sunday, Economics Minister Bennett laid out his vision for what the future of Israel and Palestine should look like. The West Bank would be divided and in Palestinian-controlled areas, “they govern themselves. But we do need to retain security control,” Bennett said. Palestinian areas are “demilitarized and they can’t have an army. When we know of a terrorist we go in and pick him out.” There would still be 70,000 Palestinians in Israeli-controlled areas of the West Bank, Bennett said. “We give them full Israeli citizenship.” When asked how he reconciles his perspective with that of Netanyahu, who supports the idea of a two state solution, Bennett said, “I vehemently oppose founding a Palestinian state.”

Settlement leader at conference in NY: US supports Arabs, not Israel, Jerusalem Post

The American government should do some serious “soul searching” for siding with the Palestinians against the State of Israel, Samaria Regional Council head Gershon Mesika charged on Sunday at a New York conference in support of West Bank settlements.

Meridor compares Likud policies to apartheid, Times of Israel

Dan Meridor, former deputy prime minister and long-standing Likud member, compared Likud’s present policies to those of apartheid South Africa, during an interview at Harvard University.

Suspected ‘price tag’ vandalism near Nablus, Times of Israel

Vandals spray-painted a house and set two Palestinian vehicles ablaze in a suspected price tag attack Monday night in Far’ata village southwest of Nablus.

Opinion and Analysis

Naftali Bennett's Security Strategy is Frozen in the 1970s, Open Zion

General Nati Sharoni makes the case that “a permanent status agreement with the Palestinians, measured in terms of security, will provide more than an adequate substitute for controlling the Jordan Valley.”

Why Rockets of Gaza Went Quiet — and Lessons Israel Can Learn, Forward

“Territory isn’t all it’s cracked up to be,” says JJ Goldberg. “Israel didn’t end the hell of Sderot’s bombardment by moving it further away from Gaza and putting more settlements in between. It ended the bombing by giving Hamas compelling reasons to stop.”

Interesting move, Time

Joe Klein posits that Makovsky’s appointment “may mean that we’re getting closer to the final status nitty-gritty in the Israel-Palestine peace talks.”

Simple math in the Middle East, Providence Journal

Ruth Ben-Artzi suggests that “Israel has been exploiting the Iranian nuclear threat to avert a political settlement with the Palestinians. With this threat removed (or postponed), the focus of US and global Middle East diplomacy will shift back to the Israeli-Palestinian talks, and pressure on Israel to evacuate illegal settlements and grant Palestinians sovereignty will mount.”

Israel’s policy of erasure, Los Angeles Times

According to Saree Makdisi, “The settlement program is only one component of a broad complex of Israeli policies that has come to define the rhythm and tempo of life for Palestinians, not only in the occupied territories but inside Israel itself. These policies express Israel's longstanding wish to erase the Palestinian presence on land it considers its own.”

Confidence man, Foreign Policy

Aaron David Miller examines the possibility that Kerry could be inducted into “the secretary of state hall of fame.”

US, Israel need to agree on an Iran deal, Washington Post

The Washington Post editorial board argues, “Rather than argue in public, US and Israeli officials should be working to forge a consensus on the terms of an acceptable final settlement with Iran.”