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J Street in the News
Former Israeli security chief sees need for Palestinian deal, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
At an event sponsored by J Street in Milwaukee, former Shin Bet Director Carmi Gillon stressed, “For the one who is pro-Israeli, who wants to see Israel's success, [they] should be focused on what this occupation does to the Israeli society.”
Friendly Screening Sours, Georgetown Hoya
Students for Justice in Palestine withdrew its co-sponsorship of a film screening with the Georgetown Israel Alliance and J Street U, an event that was supposed to herald an unprecedented collaboration between the historically contentious organizations. The SJP board made the last-minute decision to officially disassociate the organization from the event, after determining that it did not align with their national organization’s platform, which opposes normalization — treating Israelis and Palestinians as equals instead of the oppressor and oppressed, respectively — of the Israel-Palestine conflict.
Writing that a J Street leadership mission to Israel and Palestinian territory taught him not to see Palestinians as “the other,” Stanley Wulf urged, “We must let our elected representatives know that supporting the current peace talks is what the overwhelming majority of American Jews want, and what Israel needs. While it is up to the Israelis and Palestinians to make the tough decisions necessary for peace, it is our sacred responsibility to provide unwavering support.”
Let’s keep news and opinion separate, Washington Jewish Week
J Street Vice President of Communications Alan Elsner criticized Washington Jewish Week for confusing news and opinion sections.
Top News and Analysis
Secretary of State Kerry and fellow big power foreign ministers headed to Geneva to help clinch an interim nuclear deal with Iran and ease a decade-old standoff, with Israel warning they were making an epic mistake. Diplomats said a breakthrough at this week's negotiations remained uncertain and would in any case mark only the first step in a long, complex process towards a permanent resolution of Iran's dispute with the West over its nuclear ambitions. But they said the imminent arrival of Kerry, British Foreign Secretary William Hague and French and German foreign ministers Laurent Fabius and Guido Westerwelle hinted that the five permanent U.N. Security Council members and Germany may be closer to an agreement with Iran than ever before.
Prime Minister Netanyahu warned Kerry and European counterparts that Iran would be getting "the deal of the century" if they carried out proposals to grant Tehran limited, temporary relief from sanctions in exchange for a partial suspension of, and pledge not to expand, its enrichment of uranium for nuclear fuel. "Israel utterly rejects it and what I am saying is shared by many in the region, whether or not they express that publicly," Netanyahu said.
Kerry launched an unusually pointed public attack on Israeli policies in the West Bank , calling settlements “illegitimate” and warning that if current peace talks fail, Israel could face a third intifada and growing international isolation. “How, if you say you’re working for peace and you want peace, and a Palestine that is a whole Palestine that belongs to the people who live there, how can you say we’re planning to build in a place that will eventually be Palestine?,” Kerry asked. “It sends a message that perhaps you’re not really serious. If you announce planning, I believe it is disruptive to the process. But, the good side of it is, during the time we are negotiating, the planning will not translate into building and construction. And the prime minister has said he will not affect the peace map with the construction that takes place.”
Palestinians threw a firebomb at a car driving near the West Bank settlement of Tekoa, southeast of Bethlehem early morning. The moving vehicle caught fire and the mother and daughter, who were in the car at the time of the attack, were lightly wounded. They were taken to a nearby hospital by Magen David Adom medical personnel. The incident occurred after two Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces in the West Bank.
The Senate Banking Committee will move ahead with a package of tough new sanctions on Iran after the negotiating session over its nuclear program ends in Geneva , the committee's chairman said .
Tzipi Livni: ‘Kerry cares about Israel’, Times of Israel
Justice Minister and chief Israeli negotiator Tzipi Livni came to Kerry’s defense, promising that he is a man who “cares about the State of Israel.” She said, “He believes that a final agreement between Israel and the Palestinians is critical for the security of Israel and in general. He invests a lot of time, effort and heart in this matter. And he speaks from the heart. He’s not saying these things to attack Israel… He’s saying: ‘Friends, when you’ve got an Intifada and terror on your hands, there are those who say OK, there’s terror, and we will not talk to terrorists.’ And I think he’s saying that the quiet is temporary and it’s important for Israel, for the State of Israel and its citizens, to [negotiate a final agreement].”
In a combative speech issued as world powers surge toward a preliminary deal with Iran and peace talks with the Palestinians flounder, Defense Minister Ya’alon brushed aside all talk of a third Palestinian uprising and warned against the dangers of concessionary diplomacy over Iran’s nuclear program. “There are some who say this conflict is only territorial,” he said, “that it began in ’67 and will end along the ’67 lines, but I haven’t heard any Palestinian leadership, including [President Abbas], say that it is willing to consider any territorial concession as an end to the conflict and a culmination of claims, and to recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people.”
Energy and Water Minister Silvan Shalom threatened to cut off Israel’s electric supply to the Palestinian Authority if it did not pay its massive debts.
Dr. Abdullah Bashir, the chairman of the medical committee set up to investigate the circumstances of Yasser Arafat's death, said that the Swiss and Russian reports did establish that Arafat's death was not due to natural causes but the late PA president was in fact murdered. However, Bashir emphasized, neither the Russian nor the Swiss team could determine with any degree of certainty which drug was used to poison him, although a large quantity of polonium residue was found in the remains of Arafat’s body. Palestinian official Tawfik Tirawi, who heads the investigative committee said, “We consider Israel the first, fundamental and only suspect in Yasser Arafat's assassination.”
US, Israel lose UNESCO voting right in dispute, Associated Press
American influence in culture, science and education around the world took a high-profile blow after the US automatically lost voting rights at UNESCO, after missing a crucial deadline to repay its debt to the world's cultural agency. The US hasn't paid its dues to the Paris-based UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in protest over the decision by world governments to make Palestine a UNESCO member in 2011. Israel suspended its dues at the same time and also lost voting rights .
A coalition of 30 Israeli feminist groups released "A Comprehensive Action Plan for the Application of United Security Council (UNSCR) Resolution 1325" at a public conference in Jaffa . They called on the government to include women from all sectors of Israeli society in peace-negotiation teams and other decision- and policy-making bodies.
Opinion and Analysis
Kerry Takes Personal Approach to Mideast Peace, The New York Times
Mark Landler spotlights Kerry’s intense shuttle diplomacy.
Matt Lerner emphasizes, “Man-made obstacles to peace, like the 5,000 new Jewish housing units that will soon be erected east of the Green Line, are not the product of an Israel that stands united against the Palestinians. They are the consequences of a political system that, up to now, has favored the country's least progressive elements. There is hope yet.”
Ilene Prusher discusses the “two competing camps of Israelis dealing with the Palestinians… There is the conflict resolution team, which includes Livni and a bunch other people who still believe, sometimes hoping against hope, that it is possible to reach a historic agreement. And then there is the conflict management team, people who make a career of coping with the conflict but never take seriously the possibility of ending it. Only time will tell which team Netanyahu is really on.”
David Landau notes that “the two-state solution is not enshrined in a binding UN resolution, much less the detailed means of achieving it. If it were, Israel's policies and actions (settlement-building, for instance) would be measurable, finally, in terms of its international obligations. And the Palestinian preparations for statehood, too, would also have to answer to international criteria.”
Frustrated Kerry’s peace critique a heavy slap in Netanyahu’s face, Times of Israel
Raphael Ahren explores Kerry’s rhetoric on his latest trip to Israel.