J Street Daily News Roundup 12/9/13

December 9th, 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

Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement is urgent, Sacramento Bee

J Street Sacramento Chair Brian Landsberg argued that “all Americans should care about resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and support Secretary of State John Kerry’s efforts to promote an agreement.”

Will Benjamin Netanyahu and Mahmoud Abbas Become Nobel Peace Prize Winners?, Jewish Journal

Relating Nelson Mandela’s struggle to the choices now facing Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas, J Street Rabbinic Cabinet Co-Chair Rabbi John Rosove wrote, “I would love nothing more than for Bibi and Abu Mazen to become the next Nobel Peace Prize Winners, along with Secretary of State John Kerry. May they do what must be done and then may we celebrate them for having done so.”

The Fracturing of American Jewry, Forward

According to Theodore Sasson, “It is quite clear that these left-leaning organizations [like J Street] are no longer obscure challengers to the Jewish establishment… The failure of the big establishment groups to stop the interim agreement with Iran — an agreement that Israel deemed dangerous — may be the first solid evidence of this new reality.”

National academic organization to consider boycotting Israeli universities, Haaretz

“J Street U Berkeley co-chair Elon Rov said a boycott may hurt the relationship between Israel and America. ‘This is not going to make anyone more likely to engage in peace,” Rov said. ‘As an American and as a Jew, I’m also frustrated and angry with the status quo and at the Israeli occupation of the West Bank … However, I think a boycott is counterproductive.’”

Top News and Analysis

US security proposal includes Israeli military presence in Jordan Valley, Haaretz

Senior Israeli officials said that the American proposal for security arrangements under a future peace accord between Israel and the Palestinians includes an Israeli military presence deployed along the Jordan River for several years after the establishment of a Palestinian state, to be reduced in accordance with the security situation. The border crossings into Jordan would be under joint Israeli-Palestinian control, possibly with an American presence.

The Palestinians did not completely reject the proposal and expressed willingness to continue to discuss it. Nonetheless, they claimed that a large part of its components constitute the continuation of the occupation and will even extend it for many years. Netanyahu was satisfied with many parts of the plan, but also presented a number of reservations - and even expressed skepticism as to the Palestinian willingness to accept the proposal.

After security plan, ‘Kerry to present US blueprint for deal on all core issues’, Times of Israel

Having this week unveiled an American plan for security arrangements between Israel and the Palestinians under a permanent peace deal, Secretary of State Kerry reportedly also intends to set out American proposals in the near future to resolve the other core issues — Jerusalem, the borders of a Palestinian state, and the Palestinian refugees.

Obama: Israeli-Palestinian deal possible, will be implemented in stages, Haaretz

President Obama said on Saturday that a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians is possible, and would have to be implemented in stages. Both sides will have to "stretch out of their comfort zones," Obama said at the annual Saban Forum in Washington, DC, adding that "we know what the outlines of a potential agreement will look like."

Kerry: New US security proposal tackles every potential threat, Times of Israel

Kerry said at the Saban Forum, “Israel has to be strong to make peace, and peace will also make Israel stronger… We are convinced that the greatest security will actually come from a two-state solution that brings Israel lasting peace, shared prosperity throughout the region, good relations among neighbors, peace of mind for the people of Israel and for Palestinians alike. None of this is possible without addressing Israel’s legitimate security concerns, and ensuring that as a result of peace, Israelis feel more secure, and are more secure, not less,” he said. The secretary implored, “If you care about Israel, its future, if you care about Palestinians, we need to believe that peace is possible and we need to act on that belief.”

Netanyahu: A nuclear Iran will preclude Israeli-Palestinian peace, Haaretz

Netanyahu said that "peace with the Palestinians is vital,” adding shortly thereafter: "The core of the conflict is not about borders and settlements, but about the refusal to accept Israel [as Jewish state]." "I am ready for a historic compromise," the prime minister said. "Achieving a genuine and enduring peace is an important goal of Israel and of its government." He warned that “these efforts will come to naught if Iran achieves a nuclear bomb.”

Lapid vows not to let peace talks be thwarted, Times of Israel

Finance Minister Yair Lapid insisted that he would not let naysayers within the coalition derail the peace effort. Lapid warned that the failure of the talks posed a threat to Israel’s economic stability and said he would go as far as advocating remaking the coalition to keep the negotiations moving forward, a jab at his onetime ally, Economics Minister Naftali Bennett. “I’m determined to do everything within my power to ensure that this government stays the course — even if developments in the peace negotiations necessitate a coalition realignment of one kind or another,” he said.

Peres says willing to meet Iranian counterpart Rohani, Haaretz

President Peres said Sunday he was willing to meet with Iranian President Hassan Rohani. “I have no enemies,” Peres said. “We don't see Iran as an enemy. 'Enemies' are not a personal matter; they are a matter of policy. There were days we didn't want to meet with Arafat, but when he changed his policy we said 'Why not?'. We are for peace, and I believe that in the end the objective is to turn enemies into friends.”

Netanyahu at a political turning point as coalition tensions intensify, Haaretz

Barak Ravid reports that “negotiations with the Palestinians are pushing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu toward a significant political decision-making moment.”

Iran and the nuclear agreement: Trust but verify, Al-Monitor

Daniel Kurtzer, Thomas Pickering and Seyed Hossein Mousavian stress that “the interim agreement [with Iran] — and its faithful implementation —is a significant opportunity which should not be missed or it will constitute a failure of unimaginable proportions.”

Iran: An opportunity we must pursue, Charlotte Observer

“There is no guarantee that the interim deal will lead to a final one,” says Representative David Price. “Iran may cheat, delay or walk away from the negotiating table. If that happens, we will be in a far stronger position to pursue an alternative course of action, with the international community behind us. But if the negotiations succeed, it will be a diplomatic triumph on the scale of the Reagan-Gorbachev treaties, averting a deadly threat to global security without another costly war in the Middle East.”


Israel, Jordan, Palestinians to finally build Red-Dead pipeline, Times of Israel

Israel, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority were scheduled on Monday to gather at the World Bank in Washington to ink an agreement to build a long-anticipated pipeline from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea, part of an initiative that would produce millions of cubic meters of drinking water for the parched region and slake the critically dwindling Dead Sea.

UK government warns British citizens against doing business in Israeli settlements, Haaretz

The British government issued new recommendations to its business community last week, warning citizens against doing business with individuals or entities in Israeli settlements.

Source: Peace talks to extend beyond allocated nine months, Ynet

A source involved in peace talks said negotiations will extend beyond the nine-month time-frame originally set out by the US.

PLO: Palestinians won't accept current proposals from Israel, Jerusalem Post

The PLO Executive Committee announced Sunday that that there could be no deal with Israel that excludes the Jordan Valley, and Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state.

Peri: ‘We have a partner, but not an easy one’, Times of Israel

Science and Technology Minister Yaakov Peri insisted on Sunday that Israel had a peace partner in the Palestinian Authority, challenging a series of statements over the weekend from cabinet ministers expressing pessimism over the talks. Citing the diplomatic “atmosphere, and American optimism, and the fact that the Americans have presented a plan for security arrangements — which Israel has yet to respond to positively, but is definitely in the right direction,” Peri said he was “hopeful” and “very optimistic” that a peace agreement will be achieved that fulfills Israel’s “vital, existential interest” of a two-state solution.

Ya'alon: We have no partner for two-state solution, Jerusalem Post

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said that Israel has no viable peace partner in the Palestinians, who he said have yet to recognize Israel as a Jewish nation-state or signal their willingness to end the conflict.

Security establishment drafts new defense doctrine for threats to home front, Jerusalem Post

The Israeli security establishment has drawn up a new defense doctrine, calling for enhanced deterrence and diplomacy, to better enable Israel to deal with threats to the civilian sector.

Report: Inspectors begin Iran plant visit, Associated Press

UN nuclear watchdog have reportedly begun their visit to a heavy water production plant that Iran agreed to open to inspection last month.

Jordan elected to take Saudi seat on UN Security Council, Reuters

The 193-member UN General Assembly elected Jordan to the UN Security Council on Friday to replace Saudi Arabia.

Former Likud political rock star to form new party, Times of Israel

Former Likud minister Moshe Kahlon, once one of the party’s most popular up-and-coming politicians, will reportedly assemble his own political party for the 2017 elections that includes former Mossad director Meir Dagan, economist Professor Manuel Trajtenberg and General Yoav Galant.

Opinion and Analysis

Obama and Kerry spark speculation by outlining Israeli-Palestinian deal, Haaretz

After Obama and Kerry’s Saban addresses, Chemi Shalev suggests that there could be “a lot more going on in the Israeli-Palestinian talks then everyone’s been led to believe.”

Olmert against Netanyahu: Israel’s divide on Iran, New Yorker

Bernard Avishai says that “Global Israel—business, academic, and professional leaders who fear, not implausibly, that the occupation will leave them globally isolated, not unlike the Tehran bazaar… believe that picking a fight with Obama and the P5-plus-1 is a bigger strategic danger to Israel than an Iranian nuclear program.”

Palestinian resistance shouldn't mean shutting out Israelis, Haaretz

Ori Nir writes, “Palestinians, Israelis and those across the ocean who care about Middle East peace – we must demand that our leaders take advantage of the current opportunity for Israeli-Palestinian peace. The leaders should act, but we have a heavy responsibility not to let them – or ourselves – be resigned to the anomaly of the status quo.”