J Street Daily News Roundup 1/6/14

January 6th, 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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J Street in the News

In boycotting the boycotters, Hillel is shooting itself in the foot, Haaretz

“Hillel’s tactic is no better than that of the ASA,” wrote J Street U communications co-chair Benjy Cannon. “It serves to exclude the very voices it should engage.”

Action is needed on a two-state solution, New Hampshire Jewish Reporter (page 20)

Emma Rouse recalled her participation in the New Hampshire delegation to the 2013 J Street national conference, stressing, “our support can help make peace possible.”

Top News and Analysis

Kerry heads for home empty-handed but undeterred, Times of Israel

Secretary of State Kerry concluded a four-day trip to the Middle East on Monday, having secured Arab backing for his Israeli-Palestinian framework agreement. Kerry flew to Jordan on Sunday, and to Saudi Arabia, where he said that King Abdullah “was not just encouraging, but supported our efforts in the hopes that we can be successful in the days ahead.” Before departing on Monday, Kerry met with Quartet Special Envoy Tony Blair and Israeli Opposition Leader Isaac Herzog.

Netanyahu's outburst, Kerry's optimism: How fear yields progress at crunch time, Haaretz

Barak Ravid reports that over the next four weeks, “Kerry wants to climb with [Prime Minister] Netanyahu and [President] Abbas to the top of the hill and show them the view on the other side.”

Kerry’s efforts, Jerusalem Post

“Kerry’s indefatigable efforts deserve to be praised and supported,” writes the Jerusalem Post editorial board. “He is working for an agreement that, if attained, would serve Israelis’ cardinal interests – ensuring that the State of Israel remains both Jewish and democratic, and paving the way to peaceful relations not only with the Palestinians, but with all its Arab neighbors.”

Let’s be honest on Iran, National Interest

Paul Pillar argues that “an honest debate will barely get off the ground unless we discard the nonsense about how something like the Kirk-Menendez [sanctions] bill supposedly aids negotiations [with Iran].”


Lieberman: Kerry's offer is best Israel will get, Haaretz

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Sunday that Israel must accept Kerry’s proposal for a framework agreement with the Palestinians since “any other proposal from the international community won’t be as good.” But Lieberman also said that his party, Yisrael Beiteinu, would not support any agreement that did not include transferring Israeli Arab towns in Wadi Ara and the Triangle region to Palestinian sovereignty.

Spat erupts in cabinet over future of peace talks amid Palestinian incitement, Haaretz

An argument erupted Sunday between Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon during a cabinet meeting on the subject of Palestinian Authority incitement against Israel. Livni and Ya’alon reportedly argued over the future of the peace process with the Palestinians. Ya’alon argued that as long as the Palestinians refuse to make changes to school textbooks, it will be impossible to make peace, while Livni claimed that incitement should push Israel to separate from the Palestinians completely.

Israeli ministers reject bills promoting two-state solution, Jerusalem Post

Ministers rejected two bills meant to promote a two-state solution by preventing the government from annexing land and building in settlements. One bill, submitted by Labor MK Merav Michaeli, would require the approval of 80 MKs to build beyond the Green Line. Another initiative proposed by Labor MK Hilik Bar would forbit any unilateral annexation of West Bank territory outside of a two-state deal.

Peace possible despite difficulties, Peres tells senators, Times of Israel

In a meeting with Republican Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham and John Barrasso, President Peres said, “Kerry is investing significant time and effort and I believe that peace is possible despite the difficulties.” McCain told Peres that he and his colleagues have “room for guarded optimism” about the peace talks after having met with Netanyahu, Abbas and Kerry.

Former Top House Dem Blasts GOP Senators For Interfering With Kerry’s MidEast Diplomacy, Think Progress

Former Democratic Congresswoman and Ranking Member of the House Intelligence Committee Jane Harman accused McCain and Graham of interfering in Kerry’s efforts.

Herzog questions whether Netanyahu has a spine, Jerusalem Post

At the the Labor party’s annual convention in Tel Aviv, Herzog said, “I told the prime minister we will support him if he leads a diplomatic process and that he has a mandate to make a deal that will bring about agreed-upon borders… Bibi has no shortage of hands in the Knesset. The question is whether he has a spine.”

Former Mossad chief: Jordan Valley not a vital Israeli security asset, Haaretz

Former Mossad director Meir Dagan said that Israel does not need to control the Jordan Valley for security reasons and accused those who have made that argument of “manipulation.”

Strategic Corridor in West Bank Remains a Stumbling Block in Mideast Talks, The New York Times

For the residents of the Jordan Valley, diplomatic jockeying is secondary to the hard realities facing two intertwined, adversarial communities. While settlers worry they will lose their homes, the Palestinians, who view the fertile valley as the breadbasket of a future state, are concerned that Israel will continue to control nearly all the water and land.

Thousands of African migrants march on Tel Aviv embassies, Haaretz

Thousands of African migrants in Israel began marching from Levinsky park in south Tel Aviv to the embassies of the United States and other countries Monday morning, continuing the protest that began Sunday. They are demanding foreign governments exert pressure on Israel to recognize them as refugees, stop arresting them and free those imprisoned.

Pope to travel to Holy Land in May amid peace push, Associated Press

Pope Francis told thousands gathered in the rain for his weekly Sunday blessing that he would visit Amman, Bethlehem and Jerusalem on May 24-26.

Palestinians to be first buyers of Israeli natural gas, Times of Israel

The first buyer of natural gas from Israel’s largest gas field will be the Palestine Power Generation Company, which will purchase some $1.2 billion-worth of gas over 20 years, one of the major partners in the field announced on Sunday.

Opinion and Analysis

The ticking Mideast clock, The New York Times

The New York Times editorial board urges, “The framework must not become yet another interim agreement that leaves Palestinians with empty promises. To succeed, it will need to be embraced and defended by Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Abbas, who must acknowledge that neither society will be secure until both can learn to compromise and live as states, side by side.”

What the Mideast peace process needs, Washington Post

Yonatan Touval recommends that Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state in exchange for an Israeli recognition of Palestinian suffering.

The Jewish state question, Bloomberg

The Bloomberg editorial board suggests that a two-state peace treaty should simply lay out an end of conflict and claims, while the character of the two states “will be defined not in a treaty but by their citizens and their laws.”

Implications of Shavit's book, "My Promised Land", Partners for Progressive Israel

Paul Scham says that Ari Shavit’s “My Promised Land” is “important as a political and cultural event because it marks the first large-scale recognition -- implicit or explicit -- by many of the most important American Jewish pundits that there was a Nakba, and that part of any peace will necessitate Israel coming to peace with its past treatment of Palestinians, as well as with those who are alive today.”

Israel’s Greatest Security Threat? Sometimes It’s Israel, Bumpspot

Jeff Pozmantier writes, “The fault for the current Israeli-Palestinian dystopia is not one-sided nor is it critical to apportion blame. What victory is there in aspiring to win a blame battle? The progressive pro-Israel point is that Israel is made strategically stronger with a peace deal and that the absence of peace weakens Israel.”