J Street Daily News Roundup 12/6/13

December 6th, 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.

Questions, comments, or suggestions? Please email newsroundup@jstreet.org

J Street in the News

Accord is good first step to stop nuclear program, Tennessean

J Street Nashville Co-Chairs Ruth and Bill Smith wrote, “These first-step understandings struck with the six powers known as the P5+1 are not intended to be the permanent resolution. There are many details still to be addressed, and the next six months will be a critical test. The good news is that the United States and Israel share the same ultimate goal. Congress should not take any harmful steps and, instead, allow diplomacy a chance to work.”

Exploring Israel through Tucsonans’ eyes, Arizona Jewish Post

Oshrat Barel mentioned an interview with J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami, in which she “learned how his organization became proactive. As a result of this meeting I started thinking about whether there is only one way to support the land that we love and cherish and never want to lose again… for me, there is no right answer.”

Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: This Is Not How It Ends, Open Zion

Arguing that an Israeli-Palestinian peace accord will only be the beginning of peacemaking in the region, Scott Field discussed US Middle East Peace Envoy Martin Indyk’s address at the J Street conference.

Top News and Analysis

Kerry: We are closer to peace than we have been in years, Times of Israel

Before leaving Israel on Friday, Secretary of State Kerry said that both Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas are committed to continuing peace talks, despite grumblings over a lack of visible progress. “I believe we are closer than we have been in years to bringing about the peace and prosperity that all the people in this region yearn for,” he said. Kerry quoted recently deceased South African leader Nelson Mandela’s remark that “it is always impossible until it is done,” saying that the Middle East needed to take that idea to heart.

Netanyahu, world leaders pay tribute to Mandela, Haaretz

As government leaders throughout the world paid tribute to Nelson Mandela, Netanyahu said, “Mandela was one of the outstanding figures of our time… He was the father of his nation, a man of vision, a fighter for freedom who avoided violence… He will be remembered as the father of the new South Africa and a moral leader of the highest order." President Obama said that he was “one of the countless millions who drew inspiration from Nelson Mandela's life… And so long as I live, I will do what I can to learn from him."

Palestinians reject US security proposal for Israel peace accord, official says, Haaretz

The head of the Palestinian negotiating team, Saeb Erekat, denied a report that the Palestinian Authority had rejected an American proposal for security arrangements under a possible future peace accord with Israel. "The talks between us and the Americans continue," he said.  

P5+1 turns focus to implementing Iran nuclear deal, Al-Monitor

Western diplomats expressed confidence about Iran sticking to the terms of an interim nuclear accord signed in Geneva last month as they met to discuss implementing the agreement and the process going forward for negotiating an end state deal. The diplomatic consultations come ahead of a technical meeting between diplomats from Iran and six world powers in Vienna next week that will focus on implementing the November 24th accord.

Obama and Netanyahu to speak at Washington forum, Times of Israel

Netanyahu and Obama are both set to speak this weekend at the annual Saban Forum at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC.

Fear of failure spurs John Kerry's peace mission to Jerusalem, Haaretz

According to Barak Ravid, Secretary of State “Kerry, and even more so his delegate Indyk, are beginning to realize that direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians will not lead to a breakthrough without external intervention. They too are concerned that the ticking time bomb will be activated and that a third intifada will erupt. Indyk is devoting all his efforts these days to an American bridging proposal that will be presented in January.”


Jewish Groups Had Complex Relationship with Nelson Mandela, Forward

American Jewish groups issued warm remembrances of Mandela as news of his death at the age of 95 spread. But those same organizations have had a complicated relationship with the former South African president — a relationship that often soured over Mandela’s sympathy for the Palestinian cause.

First planned Palestinian city a symbol of pride, Associated Press

A state-of-the art Palestinian city with residential towers, a mall and a convention center is rapidly going up on once desolate West Bank hills and turning into a symbol of national pride. A giant Palestinian flag flies from the highest point of Rawabi, signaling to Israeli settlers living nearby that the first new Palestinian city being built since Israel captured the West Bank in 1967 isn't just about real estate.

Palestinians ask to forgive $150m electricity bill, Haaretz

The Palestinian Authority has asked Israel to cancel half of its 1.1 billion shekel debt to the state-owned Israel Electric Corporation. Israeli government sources said that officials were angered by the proposal, which they described as “insulting” and not even a starting position for negotiations.

Hagel to Reassure Gulf Allies on Iran Deal, The New York Times

Defense Secretary Hagel faces a tough challenge as he looks to reassure nervous allies in the Gulf that the US will continue its strong military support to the region, even as world powers move forward on the nuclear pact with Iran. Hagel, who arrived in Bahrain Thursday, is slated to speak to a gathering of Gulf leaders later this week at a security conference. US officials said that he will stress America's commitment to the region, including sales of military weapons and ongoing efforts to improve the region's ability to defend itself.

New Emotion, Hope, Sweeps Across Iran in Aftermath of Temporary Nuclear Pact, The New York Times

Increasingly isolated in recent years as the sanctions noose tightened, Iran’s window to the world has opened a tiny bit as the nuclear agreement promises to ease some sanctions on petrochemical exports and spare parts for Iranian cars and airplanes, as well as releasing $7 billion in funds frozen from oil sales. While the most debilitating sanctions remain in effect, including those on oil sales and banking transactions, Iran has been swept in recent weeks with an unaccustomed emotion — hope. It has spread among private investors, companies and state-run factories that have begun to plan for a future in which all measures against the country will be lifted.

Sir Paul McCartney: Israelis and Palestinians deserve peace, Jerusalem Post

Sir Paul McCartney pledged to support a Middle East peace initiative because "Israelis and Palestinians deserve peace," he said. McCartney announced that all donations made to the organization, OneVoice, will be doubled beginning December 5th.

Opinion and Analysis

Geneva-Iran, Geneva-Syria: Why not a Geneva conference for Palestine?, Haaretz

Former Palestinian negotiator Muhammad Shtayyeh suggests, “If the multilateral framework of the Geneva talks worked elsewhere, why not for Palestine?”

1967: A starting point to peace, Haaretz

Shaul Arieli argues that “the Six Day War was a watershed in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It brought major points of contention to the surface, but also generated potential for resolution.”

Think Palestinian schools preach violence? Visit this one, Haaretz

Ilene Prusher reports on the Jerusalem School of Beit Hanina.

Blame America First—And Only, Open Zion

Ali Gharib says that “Complaints that the U.S. didn't coordinate its Iran diplomacy closely enough with the Israelis or address Israel's concerns may well hold water. But, as the above catalogue of Israeli overreactions shows, repairing recent rifts between the two nations will take more than corrective measures from just one side.”