J Street Daily News Roundup 2/12/14

February 12th, 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.

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

J Street in the News

Fix Israel-Palestine conversation through focus on peace, Daily Northwestern

Northwestern J Street U co-founder Josh Boxerman wrote, “On a national scale, as part of the 2 Campaign , J Street U is organizing students to mobilize a great constituency for peace. By tackling the core issues directly, we raise awareness and build momentum for two states. By standing up and being counted, we become a potent voice for compromise. And by coming together as a Northwestern community to support the negotiations, we can have a tangible and immediate impact on the lives of millions of Israelis and Palestinians — right now.”

Finding New ADL Chief: Hard. Replacing Foxman: Impossible, Forward

JJ Goldberg noted that Abe Foxman “stood up at critical moments in inner councils for the likes of Peace Now and J Street—not for their views, but for their right to hold them and still be part of the community—at moments when it mattered.”

Top News and Analysis

Bill on peace deal referendum edges closer to becoming Basic Law, Haaretz

A Knesset committee approved Wednesday the government-backed "referendum bill" for its second and third reading. The bill would enhance the status of existing legislation - which provides for a referendum over any future Israeli decision to cede sovereign territory in a peace deal - to a basic law.

Fatah-Hamas reconciliation almost final, reports say, Times of Israel

Fatah and Hamas have reportedly made significant progress in reconciliation talks held in Gaza and are now on the verge of implementing previously signed agreements. A Palestinian official said that Hamas has agreed to the immediate formation of a “national consensus” government headed by Abbas, followed by legislative and presidential elections in six months.

Obama says US will deal harshly with violators of Iran sanctions, Reuters

President Obama issued a sharp warning on Tuesday to companies eyeing business deals with Iran, saying the United States would come down like a "ton of bricks" on those that violated sanctions against Tehran.

Israel’s big question, The New York Times

Thomas Friedman says that Secretary of State “Kerry and President Obama are trying to build Israelis a secure off-ramp from the highway they’re hurtling down in the West Bank that only ends in some really bad places for Israel and the Jewish people.”

Let's Bet on Peace in Middle East — for Sake of Israel, JTA

“This opportunity may not come again in our lifetimes, and the cost of failure will be unfathomably high, for both Israelis and Palestinians,” writes Rabbi Sharon Brous. “Let’s help John Kerry succeed – let’s help Israelis and Palestinians succeed – by amplifying the voices of hope and possibility. Let them hear our cry and our call in Washington, Jerusalem and Ramallah: We stand with you in the fight for peace.”


Israeli artists to John Kerry: We support your peace efforts, Haaretz

An Arab-Jewish group representing well-known Israeli cultural figures like author David Grossman and actress Gila Almagor has sent a letter of support to Kerry, urging him to continue his efforts to bring peace to the region.

Erekat: Netanyahu needs to prepare Israeli people for peace deal terms, Ynet

Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said that Prime Minister Netanyahu must prepare the Israeli people for the terms of a peace deal with the Palestinians, which he said the prime minister has still not done.

Naftali Bennett walks out of European Parliament chief's speech, Haaretz

HaBayit HaYehudi MKs on Wednesday walked out of a speech in the Knesset by European Parliament President Martin Schulz, when he spoke, in German, about Palestinian freedom of movement and access to water.

EU envoy: Relations with Israel depend on outcome of peace talks, Jerusalem Post

The EU Ambassador said that the future of Israel-European ties depends on the outcome of peace talks.

Lifting Gaza blockade 'out of the question,' senior Israeli officials say, Haaretz

Israel will not lift the blockade currently imposed on the Gaza Strip, senior officials at the Prime Minister Office said on Wednesday, a day after Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan demanded that lifting the siege be a condition for signing a reconciliation agreement between Israel and Turkey.

AIPAC in Disarray After Iran Sanctions Setback, JTA

Though AIPAC has reportedly not yet chosen a legislative initiative for its upcoming national conference, sources said the group is now considering a nonbinding resolution addressing its concerns about the nuclear talks underway between the major world powers and Iran.