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J Street in the News
In his examination of an unprecedented address by President Peres to Arab leaders in Abu Dhabi, J Street Communications Assistant Aaron Zucker said that if US-led Israeli-
Palestinian negotiations “are successful, the cooperation between Israel and Arab states that today occurs in secret could soon become the new normal. And a speech from the Israeli president would only be the tip of the iceberg.”
“In late November, J Street, a key Jewish political organization in the US, voiced its support for the international agreement with Iran after Tehran and six world powers clinched the deal to curb the Iranian nuclear program in exchange for limited sanctions relief.”
Top News and Analysis
Days after leaving, Kerry to return to Jerusalem, Times of Israel
Secretary of State Kerry will visit Israel for the second time in as many weeks. He will meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas to discuss the ongoing two-state peace negotiations.
A Rare Middle East Agreement, on Water, The New York Times
In a rare display of regional cooperation, representatives of Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority signed an agreement in Washington, DC to build a Red Sea-Dead Sea water project that is meant to benefit all three parties.
Iran, P5+1 meet on implementing nuclear accord, Al-Monitor
Technical talks between Iran and six world powers on implementing a Iran nuclear accord got underway in Vienna , as top US officials vigorously argued that the six month deal will strengthen international security by halting the expansion of Iran’s nuclear program while negotiations towards a comprehensive deal take place.
Sanctions Hawks Losing the Plot, American Prospect
Matt Duss writes, “The American public supports the Iran deal. Why won’t Congress?”
Presence isn't the same as security, Haaretz
Regarding the US security bridging proposal, the Haaretz editorial board urges, “Israel cannot – and has no right to – reject this enormous American effort out of hand, without holding a thorough, in-depth discussion that treats the proposal as a worthy opportunity rather than a nuisance.”
The security plan that John Kerry presented to Abbas last week reportedly calls for Israel to maintain a military presence in the Jordan Valley for a period of 10 years. Kerry met in Washington with the chief Israeli and Palestinian negotiators, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Saeb Erekat, respectively, and the U.S. envoy to the peace process, Martin Indyk. At the meeting Kerry was briefed on the progress in the negotiations.
Netanyahu told Likud lawmakers that Israel and the Palestinians were not near a permanent agreement and that he could not appraise future developments. Netanyahu also criticized Finance Minister Yair Lapid's call to coordinate the structure of the coalition with advancing the peace process, saying: "It's not the coalition that will dictate progress in the agreement with the Palestinians, but our life experience." The prime minister added that any deal reached with the Palestinians would be brought to Israel's citizens for a referendum.
Palestinian officials said that Kerry is seeking to link an upcoming release of Palestinian prisoners by Israel to a framework agreement he hopes to reach in peace talks between the two sides.
US Senators Prepare Legislation to Pressure Iran, The New York Times
The Democratic chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Robert Menendez, and Republican Senator Mark Kirk are preparing legislation to impose new sanctions on Iran in six months if an interim deal on the Islamic Republic's nuclear program goes nowhere, penalties that Iran's foreign minister has said would kill the agreement.
Israel's parliament has moved to ensure African migrants who enter the country illegally can be held without charge, despite a Supreme Court ruling that had struck down a previous detention law.
Opinion and Analysis
Netanyahu's diplomatic vacuum, Al-Monitor
Mazal Mualem contends that Netanyahu’s political relevance depends on his commitment to negotiations with the Palestinians.
Ali Gharib says, “If Israeli-Palestinian peace is indeed vital to Israelis and Palestinians, Netanyahu ought to be pursuing it no matter what goes on in Iran; perhaps he ought to be pursuing it especially because of what's going on there.”
According to Shlomi Eldar, Israel and the Palestinians, “which have been arguing for the last four months, are not meant to reach a final agreement but only to sketch a framework agreement: understandings on issues in which there is no agreement. The document that they will draft will constitute the basis for in-depth negotiations that will naturally require painful decisions.”
Akiva Eldar reports that “the young leadership of YaLa, the movement which opens its doors to young men and women from the Middle East and North Africa, is seeking to enlist [the] vision of Mandela to prove that Kerry isn’t wrong.”