J Street Daily News Roundup 1/16/14

January 16th, 2014

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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Top News and Analysis

Netanyahu meets with King Abdullah in Jordan, Times of Israel

Prime Minister Netanyahu and King Abdullah II of Jordan met in Amman to discuss details of the peace process. Netanyahu has reportedly been seeking to define a fourth bloc of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, in the vicinity of Beit El, that Israel would retain in any future agreement with the Palestinians.

Peres praises US support for Israel following Ya'alon row, Haaretz

President Peres lauded America's support for Israel on Wednesday, in what appeared to be a subtle rebuke to Defense Minister Ya'alon for his remarks about Secretary of State Kerry the previous day. "We should be thankful that they support us militarily and diplomatically," Peres said. "Without the American veto, we would have no standing at the United Nations."

Obama urges Senate Dems to put off Iran sanctions, Associated Press

President Obama implored Democratic senators Wednesday to put off new sanctions against Iran that he warned could derail delicate nuclear talks. Two senators who attended the meeting said Democrats present seemed receptive to Obama's appeal - even some hawkish Democrats who have vocally advocated for moving ahead with new sanctions. That sentiment reflected a growing sense on Capitol Hill that lawmakers will likely take a wait-and-see approach before putting new sanctions into effect.

Back off on new Iran sanctions, Chicago Sun-Times

Calling the sanctions bill “not helpful at all,” the Chicago Sun-Times editorial board writes, “Now is the time to clear the field and let the diplomats do their work.”

US Senate sanctions bill is all about torpedoing a nuclear deal with Iran, Haaretz

Peter Beinart argues that the notion that the sanctions bill would aid diplomacy isn’t “just wrong. It’s absurd.”


Netanyahu on Palestinian 'right of return': There is no room for maneuver, Jerusalem Post

Netanyahu has made clear there is “no room to maneuver” on the Palestinian claim of a right of return for Palestinian refugees. “It is a nonstarter, it is not going to happen,” one official said.

UN says pace of Israeli settler attacks up four-fold, Associated Press

The annual rate of Israeli settler attacks against Palestinians has almost quadrupled in eight years, UN figures show, buttressing claims that Israeli security forces have largely failed to stem the so-called "price tag" campaign in which thugs cut down trees, deface mosques and beat Palestinian farmers.

West Bank rabbis say price tag attacks contravene Torah and ethical behavior, Jerusalem Post

A large group of rabbis, including some from the right wing of the national- religious movement, have signed a petition declaring “price-tag” attacks to be forbidden by Jewish law and unethical.

Shin Bet foils Palestinian plan to kidnap Israeli, Times of Israel

The Shin Bet security service, in a joint operation with the Israel Prison Service, thwarted efforts by Palestinian prisoners held in Israel to coordinate the kidnapping of Israelis in the West Bank last month.

Israel shoots down Gaza rockets, responds with air strikes, Reuters

Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted five rockets fired at the city of Ashkelon from the Gaza Strip on Thursday, and the military responded with a series of air strikes on the Hamas-controlled territory.

Opinion and Analysis

John Kerry's bicycle diplomacy in the Middle East, Los Angeles Times

Doyle McManus writes that when it comes to Kerry’s Middle East diplomacy, “a little forward movement is better than none at all.”

BDS bullying is not a path to peace, Haaretz

According to Elka Looks, the JCRC believes that “promoting peace in the public sphere and speaking out against those who threaten it are two sides of the same pro-peace coin.”

Israel needs borders, not therapy, Haaretz

Brent Sasley suggests that Israel and the Palestinians “agree to a trade-off: Some implicit acknowledgment of Israel’s Jewish character in return for Israel’s acceptance of partial responsibility for the nakba. Neither recognition will prevent violence from breaking out, but if addressing both sides’ abstract, psychological needs is what it takes to finalize a deal, let it be done so the conflict can end.”

A necessary compromise, The Dartmouth

J Street U board member Steven Povich urges in a letter, “As college students, we must explore all narratives of the conflict to fully comprehend the difficult compromises necessary for Israeli-Palestinian peace.”

On Israel, diversity and media: Eric Alterman addresses his recent disputes, Salon

Charles Davis interviews Eric Alterman.

Sharon: Hardliner Who Ended Otherwise (Sort of), Partners for Progressive Israel

Thomas Mitchell and Ralph Seliger discuss the legacy of former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

Is Israel a Jewish state?, Bumpspot

Jeff Pozmantier says, “Of course, Israel is a Jewish state. Words mean something. Especially when we know they can help Israel delay having to make difficult negotiating decisions.”