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J Street in the News
A misguided boycott, Wesleying
“There will never be peace between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River without an acknowledgment by both sides of the others right to exist,” wrote J Street U Wesleyan board member Jacob Seltzer. “The [ASA] boycott achieves little and has the potential for great harm.”
Top News and Analysis
Secretary of State Kerry, who left Israel after a long weekend of shuttle diplomacy, is set to return as early as next week in his relentless bid to broker a “framework” agreement for Israeli-Palestinian peace. According to one report, Prime Minister Netanyahu told his Likud Knesset faction that “there is no American framework document yet,” and that even if it could be agreed, it would not be binding on the sides. He also assured Likud MKs that he had not given in to American pressure for more flexible positions regarding the fate of Jerusalem and the Jordan Valley, and said he was only too aware of the consequences of dismantling settlements in the absence of a viable peace accord, the report said.
Israel published plans to build 272 homes in the West Bank settlements of Ofra and Karnei Shomron, which must still pass several stages of authorization before construction can begin.
The US may be exploring the possibility of altering language in the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative to include recognition of Israel as a Jewish State should the country reach a peace deal with the Palestinians. It would also include the stipulation that Israel’s Arab citizens not be affected by recognition of Israel as a Jewish state.
According to The Israel Democracy Institute's December Peace Index poll, over two-thirds of Israelis believe the US is committed to reaching a signed peace agreement between the Palestinians and Israel that ensures Israel’s security.
After meeting with Kerry, Opposition Leader Isaac Herzog said, the secretary of state “seems more determined than any other mediator, and I expressed my appreciation of his important role… This is an historical moment when a decision will have to be taken. I believe we have no option other than separating from the Palestinians and the establishment of two states. Any other route will lead to a binational state that would be the end of the Zionist vision and the independence of the Palestinian state.”
Defense Minister Ya’alon said wide gaps remain in peace talks with the Palestinians after Kerry's latest visit and he cast doubt over the chances of reaching a final accord by an April target. Dan Shapiro, the US ambassador to Israel, said that Kerry would return soon to continue his talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders.
MK to push bill letting Knesset nix talks on Jerusalem, refugees, Times of Israel
Likud MK Miri Regev plans to sponsor a bill that would forbid the prime minister from negotiating with the Palestinians on the issues of Jerusalem and Palestinian refugees without prior consent from the Knesset. The bill, which will likely face stiff opposition and have little chance of passing, would be the latest in a series of right-wing proposals seeking to limit the cabinet’s authority in managing peace talks and offering concessions.
Lieberman criticized for shift on peace process, Jerusalem Post
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman faced criticism from colleagues in his Likud Beiteinu faction Monday for his surprisingly dovish statements to ambassadors .
David Wilder, the spokesman for Hebron’s Jewish community, has written an article published by various right-wing Jewish outlets arguing that Ariel Sharon, Yitzhak Rabin and Menachem Begin all met unhappy ends because they surrendered land. And he warns Netanyahu that he is liable to suffer a similar fate if he gives up land to the Palestinians.
PA unhappy with Jerusalem’s status in peace framework, Times of Israel
A Palestinian official said the Palestinians have reservations about some of Kerry’s ideas for the outlines of a peace deal with Israel, particularly on the future of Jerusalem.
In a surprise move, Hamas announced a series of measures to pave the way for reconciliation with its rival Fatah.
Opinion and Analysis
Israel's new eastern front, Al-Monitor
Akiva Eldar examines the debate over the Jordan Valley.
Ameinu CEO Gideon Aronoff said that Ameinu opposes the Senate sanctions bill “and will urge all Members of Congress to refrain from taking action on this proposal unless the diplomatic process fails. Ameinu believes this approach is in the best interest of the United States, the Jewish community and Israel, and should be supported by all who seek to reduce threats of violence in the Middle East.”
Urgent plea to Palestinians: Take an imperfect deal, Partners for Progressive Israel
Ralph Seliger says, “On most issues there's a need for both sides to be as flexible as possible… I don't blame [the Palestinians] for their impatience, but I do blame them for shortsighted historical memory.”
Edward Goldstein writes in a letter that “Abbas deserves encouragement, not criticism.”