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J Street in the News
J Street condemned the ongoing rocket bombardment of Israel from the Gaza Strip--the largest attack on Israel in over a year. It stressed its support for Israel's right to defend the security of its citizens and its legitimate right to self defense.
In a debate with Jewish Voice for Peace, J Street Mid-Atlantic Regional Director Rebecca Kirzner said, “The two-state solution is the only answer. The BDS movement is agnostic on the issue of a two-state solution, and for me that’s a nonstarter… The reality on the ground is that this is a conflict between two competing narratives, two competing nationalist narratives, two populations who have claims on the same piece of land and two populations who want their own states.”
According to Peter Beinart, “J Street should declare its support for the Clinton parameters and the (partial) understandings reached by [former Prime Minister] Olmert and [President] Abbas. The next time a newspaper reports that [Secretary of State] Kerry is caving to [Prime Minister] Netanyahu and insisting that Abbas make concessions that go beyond what he was asked to accept in past negotiations, J Street should raise a stink. In so doing, it would show the White House, and its own members, that being a liberal Zionist does not mean slavishly supporting whatever diplomatic proposal an American administration gins up.”
Top News and Analysis
Gaza-Israel Escalation Threatens Cease-Fire, The New York Times
Rocket fire from the Gaza Strip continued into southern Israel morning, a day after the most intense cross-border exchange in more than a year left a 16-month-old cease-fire and the fragile Middle East peace talks in jeopardy. An hourlong barrage of more than 60 rockets rained down on Israeli communities near Gaza starting at about , prompting Israeli airstrikes that hit what the military described as 29 “terror sites” in the Palestinian coastal enclave.
Knesset passes referendum law for land concessions, Times of Israel
A new law approved by the Knesset says that any plan to cede land in Israel, East Jerusalem, or the Golan Heights, as part of a future peace agreement, must be put to a public referendum. The law does not cover the West Bank, where a decision on territorial concessions, precedent suggests, would remain the prerogative of the cabinet.
With just five days to go before a White House meeting between President Obama and Abbas, Kerry admitted that mutual trust between Israel and the Palestinians was at an all-time low. “There are gaps,” he said, “some of them very significant. I believe progress has been made in some areas – we hope we can get some kind of understanding about the way forward.”
Lift the Mideast Roadblocks, The New York Times
Ephraim Sneh argues that “concurrence on [the core issues of the conflict] can be reached if both sides are sincerely committed to a two-state solution, and if both leaderships and the mediator have the courage to tell the truth to one another, to themselves and — most important — to their constituencies.”
The J editorial board says, “The blame game does not move us closer to a solution. We who passionately love Israel urge the parties to press on, forgo absolute deadlines and keep working until peace is achieved. It is not impossible. It is just very, very difficult.”
Ministers hold emergency meeting to address rocket fire, Times of Israel
Netanyahu and his ministers held an emergency cabinet meeting early afternoon at the Kirya military base in Tel Aviv to discuss the situation in the south.
Science Minister Yaacov Peri warned that Israel may block further prisoner releases if the Palestinian leadership refuses to extend negotiations by another year.
Cameron to meet with Abbas to discuss peace talks, Times of Israel
Prime Minister David Cameron will travel to Bethlehem to meet with Abbas on the second and final day of his visit to Israel.
Two days after an incident in which Israel killed a Jordanian judge on the Israeli side of the Allenby Bridge crossing, an atmosphere of rage and anger has grown in Jordan, despite Israel’s official apology and expression of regret. The Jordanian parliament held two emergency sessions regarding the incident, giving the government a five-day extension to carry out its decisions, mainly to recall the Jordanian ambassador and to release Jordanian prisoners. Jordanian government sources said it will not take any steps until it receives a copy of the report on the investigation by the joint committee set up between the two countries.
Opinion and Analysis
Islamic Jihad tries to drag Hamas, and Israel, into escalation, Times of Israel
Avi Issacharoff notes that “a round of fighting on the eve of Purim… is not a simple measure for the citizens of Israel. A strike that misses its target, an escalation, and the prospect of an IDF ground operation might loom — a scenario both Hamas and Israel would prefer to avoid. Islamic Jihad, on the other hand, would welcome such a development.”
Mazal Mualem says, “While ultra-Orthodox support for [Labor leader Isaac] Herzog is, at this stage, little more than a curiosity… the deep-rooted political changes underway among the ultra-Orthodox could certainly lead to an earthquake in Israeli politics while the next elections approach.”
Palestinian refugees in Syria, Jerusalem Post
Gershon Baskin asks, “With [Palestinians] dying every day [in Syria] and living through unimaginable suffering, why not offer them a new life today? Why wait for ? Bring them home to Palestine now!”
Purim Massacre, 1994: How It Changed History, Partners for Progressive Israel
Ralph Seliger remembers the Purim massacre of 1994.
Two-state solution, Boston Herald
Edward Goldstein writes in a letter that “There is nothing ‘one-sided’ about seeking an agreement that preserves those essential qualities of the Israeli state for which thousands have fought and died… Obama is right to press Israel on the issue.”