J Street Daily News Roundup 2/18/2014

February 18th, 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

King urges US Jewish organisations to back Washington’s peace process, Jordan Times

Jordanian King Abdullah met with representatives of several leading American Jewish organisations, including J Street, and discussed ways to support the US-brokered peace efforts.

J Street launches Valentine's campaign to push Mideast peace, Haaretz

J Street launched a Valentine's Day campaign for supporters of a two-state solution between Israelis and Palestinians.

Announcing J Street Triangle events, Daily Tarheel

J Street Southern Regional Director Scott Brockman wrote that J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami is due to speak at Duke University on March 3.

For Real Peace the Palestinians Must Acknowledge that Judaism is More than a Religion, Jewish Journal

According to J Street Rabbinic Cabinet Co-Chair Rabbi John Rosove, “Israel does not need an outside nation to grant her legitimacy… Yet, for the sake of long-term security and peace, Palestine must acknowledge at some point that Israel is the legitimate nation-state of the Jewish people.”

American Jews Must Support, Not Hinder, Kerry's Efforts, Huffington Post

Alon Ben-Meir critiqued J Street’s strategy of Congressional outreach.

John Kerry 'Deal' Looks Rigged Against Palestinians, Forward

Larry Derfner suggested that J Street may be supporting a US peace initiative that could lean too heavily toward Israeli positions.

Top News and Analysis

Kerry to meet Abbas in Paris to discuss framework deal, Haaretz

Secretary of State Kerry will meet with President Abbas in Paris on Wednesday, in an effort to convince the Palestinian president to respond positively to the framework agreement Kerry is drafting.

Work with Kerry, senators tell Netanyahu, JTA

In Israel, Senator Tim Kaine, chairman of the Senate subcommittee on the Middle East, urged Prime Minister Netanyahu to cooperate with Kerry in advancing Middle East peace

Abbas, Talking to Israeli Students About Peace, Finds a Receptive Audience, The New York Times

Addressing 300 Israeli students in Ramallah, Abbas said that there was no alternative to making peace and promised that he did not want to "drown Israel with millions of refugees to change its nature."

Iran, powers begin talks on final nuclear deal, dampen optimism, Reuters

Six world powers and Iran began talks in Vienna in pursuit of a final settlement on Tehran's disputed nuclear program in the coming months despite caveats from both sides that a breakthrough deal may prove impossible.

Iran seen honoring nuclear deal but stockpile may grow, Reuters

A monthly update by the International Atomic Energy Agency is reportedly expected to show this week that Iran is complying with last year's landmark nuclear agreement, but Iran's stockpile of lower-grade refined uranium has increased in recent months.


For Israeli students in Ramallah, Abbas was a rock star, Times of Israel

The visit to Abbas’ presidential compound delighted Israeli students, even those who came home with more questions than answers.

Shapiro: Netanyahu, Abbas in stronger position than past leaders to reach agreement, Jerusalem Post

Speaking to the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro said that “Netanyahu and Abbas are in a stronger position than past leaders to execute a two state solution."

US said ready to compile list of Palestinian refugees to return in deal, Times of Israel

The US reportedly offered to compile a list of Palestinian refugees interested in settling in Israel, under the assumption that a small number would be approved to do so by the Israeli government.

Lapid: The world is losing patience, sympathy with Israel, Jerusalem Post

Finance Minister Yair Lapid warned that failure to reach a peace deal with the Palestinians will devastate the economy and harm Israel’s relationship with the US.

Mike Huckabee in Israel: Palestinians have 'no intention of a peaceful resolution', Haaretz

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee said during a visit to Israel Monday that the Obama administration’s efforts to reach an Israelis-Palestinian breakthrough agreement were bound to fail because the Palestinians don’t want peace.

John Kerry isn’t an anti-Semite, Bennett says, Times of Israel

Economics Minister Naftali Bennett said, “Kerry is no anti-Semite. Whoever suggested that is flatly wrong… We might sometimes disagree but America is our biggest friend; it’s our strategic friend. It’s not only an ally, it’s a big friend. However, definitely, we can agree to not agree.”

Palestinian chief negotiator: If talks fail, PA will collapse, Ynet

Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat warned that “if Kerry's negotiations fail, the [Palestinian Authority] will collapse. Netanyahu will have to take over [the West Bank] and this is going to be very ugly."

Chief West Bank Prosecutor says IDF may end long-standing night arrests of Palestinians, Jerusalem Post

The IDF's head West Bank Prosecutor officially announced that the IDF will initiate a pilot program which may end its long-standing policy of night arrests of certain Palestinians.

Israeli plan would add 35 isolated West Bank settlements to new 'national priorities map', Haaretz

The Israeli government approved new criteria for granting government assistance to communities, adjusting the regulations in a way that government officials said would add 35 isolated West Bank settlements to the list of favored communities, or “national priorities map.”

Hamas will endorse two-state deal, Fatah leaders assert, Times of Israel

Even as a top Hamas official warned Monday against Palestinian acceptance of an American framework peace agreement, West Bank leaders were asserting that the Islamist rulers of the Gaza Strip would in fact back a peace deal with Israel based on “national principles.

Hamas asks Netanyahu to show restraint in Gaza, Haaretz

Hamas’ prime minister relayed a secret message to Netanyahu two weeks ago asking him to restrain Israeli military operations against Gaza.

Opinion and Analysis

Calm diplomacy best approach for Mideast peace, Bergen County Record

Rabbis Richard Hammerman and Elliott Tepperman argue that “while we can’t predict the outcome of our diplomatic efforts with Iran, we can be certain of our obligation to try.”

Netanyahu fires opening shot against Iran nuclear talks, Haaretz

Barak Ravid says that Netanyahu’s hard-hitting speech to American Jewish leaders showed no signs of any willingness to compromise on the Iranian nuclear issue.

Israeli Right Turning on Security Chiefs: 'Treason', Forward

JJ Goldberg writes, “There seems be a growing realization on the pro-Israel right — in some corners of it, at least — that its notions of Israel’s security needs don’t have much support among Israel’s security professionals. What the right calls standing firm on Israel’s bottom line, the generals call sabotaging the peace process. What the generals call basic Israeli security doctrine, the right calls left-wing, pro-Palestinian propaganda.”

When boycotts backfire, Forward

“It takes no special clairvoyant powers to predict that should the talks fail, and Israeli settlement activity continue, BDS will grow in strength and authority,” contends the Forward editorial board. “Even an unfair tactic could be effective. That threat is one more reason why Israeli and Palestinian leaders must succeed. Unlike the Olympics, there may not be another chance to reach for the gold four years later.”

Water concerns, Jerusalem Post

“Helping Palestinians to solve their water issues is not only the right thing to do, it would provide considerable political gains,” writes the Jerusalem Post editorial board.