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Israeli Extremists Gear Up to Oppose Kerry Peace Initiative, Huffington Post
J Street Vice President of Communications Alan Elsner warned that anti-peace incitement is starting to build among Israeli hardliners.
Top News and Analysis
Negotiations between Iran and six world powers on implementing a landmark November deal to freeze parts of Tehran's nuclear program in exchange for easing some sanctions have run into problems over advanced centrifuge research, diplomats said. Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman will be in Geneva today to discuss the issue with her European Union counterpart, Helga Schmid, and Iran's negotiator, Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi.
Kerry to update Arab League on Israel-Palestinian talks, Times of Israel
, Secretary of State Kerry will travel to Paris and then to Kuwait to meet with representatives of the Arab League’s Arab Peace Initiative committee to discuss the ongoing peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.
Barak Ravid reports that Prime Minister Netanyahu now spends most of his time agonizing over Kerry’s developing framework agreement, seeking a way to accept it without destroying his coalition. “In the coming weeks,” says Ravid, President Obama “will become personally involved in Kerry’s effort. He will have to approve the framework agreement before Kerry can officially present it, and he won’t accept a weak, superficial document. Obama wants a meaty, substantive proposal.”
Daniel Seidemann argues, “The myth of ‘undivided Jerusalem’ is collapsing under the weight of its own fictions. Should the Kerry initiative – the last, best hope for the two-state solution – end in failure, Jerusalem will degenerate into the epicentre of a festering conflict, the arena of recurrent rounds of convulsive violence. But should, against all odds, these talks end in agreement, a new Jerusalem, rooted in its genuine political and urban realities, will emerge: a politically divided, bi-national city, the respective capitals of Israel and Palestine – which is the sine qua non of any permanent status agreement.”
Israel Targets Gaza Militants After Mortar Attack, Associated Press
The Israeli military said it has attacked targets in the Gaza Strip after militants in the territory fired mortars into Israel. The military said the air force hit "terrorists in Gaza as they were preparing to launch rockets toward Israel" . The Gaza Health Ministry said two men were wounded when a drone fired at their motorcycle.
Abbas, Abdullah agree to coordinate unified response to Kerry, Jerusalem Post
In Amman, President Abbas and Jordanian King Abdullah decided to coordinate Palestinian and Jordanian positions regarding Kerry’s framework.
Israeli officials said that Netanyahu would not agree to even “a symbolic acceptance of the so-call right of return.”
Poll finds rise in Israeli Arabs who want to be Palestinian, Times of Israel
A new poll found that an unprecedented number of Israeli Arabs would prefer to be part of Palestine rather than Israel.
Knesset rejects 'Two-State Solution Bill', Jerusalem Post
In a preliminary vote, the Knesset rejected Labor’s “two-state solution bill,” which would prohibit the government from unilaterally annexing land.
Papal visit to include ‘political dimension’, Times of Israel
Pope Francis’s first visit to the Middle East in May will include a “political dimension,” the Latin patriarch of Jerusalem said , in the wake of the Vatican’s announcement of the papal visit earlier this week.
The Fatah reconciliation team has made a proposal to Hamas regarding a national unity government, stipulating that Abbas will set dates for new presidential and legislative elections. Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh requested time to discuss the proposal with other Hamas officials.
Opinion and Analysis
Carlo Strenger says that “Israel’s liberals have no choice but to give [Netanyahu] the backing he needs if he really wants to take the steps that could save Israel as the democratic homeland of the Jews by genuinely cooperating with Kerry’s drive toward peace.”
According to Peter Beinart, “When it comes to combating the incitement that leads Palestinians to hate, Netanyahu need not wait for Abbas. He can start with himself.”
“No single definition can, under these conditions, demarcate for the community what it means to be pro-Israel,” writes Brent Sasley. “The national Hillel will have to recognize and adapt to this reality.”
Ben Caspit fears that “the next intifada will ignite when a certain gang of ‘price tag’ vigilantes enters the wrong village, at the wrong time.”