J Street Daily News Roundup 3/14/2014

March 14th, 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.

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J Street in the News

US Iranian lobby: Tide has turned against sanctions, Times of Israel

“In late February, NIAC was among 40 organizations that sent a letter to Congress urging it to uphold the preliminary agreement between the P5+1 states and Iran and to support negotiations toward a comprehensive agreement on Tehran’s nuclear program.

The letter, which was cosigned by a number of leftist Jewish groups — including Americans for Peace Now, J Street and Ameinu — called on Congress to ensure Iranian compliance with the preliminary deal signed in November in Geneva while also avoiding new sanctions, which it said would violate the terms of that agreement.”

Debate over Israeli boycott comes to Mac, Mac Weekly

“Over 80 Macalester community members attended a panel on the American Studies Association boycott of Israeli academic institutions last Tuesday… Members of J Street U and Mac Students United for Palestinian Equal Rights organized the panel to discuss the ASA boycott of Israeli academic institutions as part of a broader Palestinian civil society movement to boycott, divest and sanction Israeli institutions and businesses.”

Top News and Analysis

Gaza truce firms up after two-day flare-up, AFP

A truce declared by Gaza groups appeared to be largely holding on Friday with the IDF reporting a single rocket fired after two days of violence.

Kerry: 'Mistake' to use Jewish state recognition as deal breaker, Haaretz

Secretary of State Kerry told the House Committee on Foreign Affairs on Thursday that it is problematic for people to continue raising the issue of whether Palestinians would agree to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. "I think it's a mistake for some people to be, you know, raising it again and again as the critical decider of their attitude towards the possibility of a state and peace, and we've obviously made that clear," he said. Kerry added that the issue was resolved in 1947, referring to UN Resolution 181 that divided Palestine into two states, one for Jews and one for Arabs, and reminded of former PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat's recognition of Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state in 1988.

Israelis: Peace with Arab world more important than recognition as Jewish state, Haaretz

According to two polls carried out over the past two months on behalf of the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace, 69% of the Israeli public says it is more important “that the entire Arab world sign peace agreements and maintain normal relations with Israel,” compared to 21% who say that it is more important that “Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state.”


Gaza fighting unlikely to derail peace talks, officials say, Times of Israel

The recent escalation in violence between Israel and Gaza will likely not derail or even hamper Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, current and former Israeli officials said Thursday.

Make unpopular moves for peace, Cameron urges from Bethlehem, Times of Israel

Prime Minister David Cameron called on Israeli and Palestinian leaders to pursue peace talks and end their conflict, if necessary by carrying out “unpopular” measures.

Abbas: US has presented no framework for Middle East peace, AFP

President Abbas said that the US had yet to present a framework for a Middle East peace deal, days before he is set to meet President Obama at the White House.

Ministers cast doubt on looming prisoner release, Times of Israel

Ministers said Thursday that Israel would have difficulty approving a scheduled release of Palestinian prisoners if the Palestinian leadership refuses to extend peace talks beyond an April deadline.

EU envoy to Israel: You shouldn’t have released prisoners, Times of Israel

While praising Prime Minister Netanyahu for being bold in his peace efforts and for seeking to prepare the Israeli public for compromise, the European Union’s ambassador to Israel said the prime minister had made the wrong decision in agreeing to release long-term Palestinian prisoners as part of negotiations, instead of agreeing to negotiate on the basis of pre-1967 lines or accepting a settlement freeze.

Abbas accuses political foe of murder, hints at connection to Arafat death, Reuters

Abbas has accused one of his main rivals, Mohammed Dahlan, of involvement in six murders, hinting that he might also be behind the death of Arafat.

Opinion and Analysis

Path to accord: Israelis and Palestinians have a new roadmap, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

According to the Post-Gazette editorial board, “The Israeli-Palestinian talks are still the most important item on America’s diplomatic agenda. Mr. Obama and Mr. Kerry must continue to keep their shoulders to the wheel to bring them to a successful close, in spite of distractions such as Ukraine.”

How many times must the Palestinians recognize Israel?, Haaretz

Hussein Ibish says, “Netanyahu’s new 'Jewish state' mantra negates the fact that Palestinians recognized Israel more than twenty years ago. They’re still waiting for Israel to recognize Palestine.”

Israel's real leader and navigator: Naftali Bennett, Haaretz

The Haaretz editorial board notes that Economics Minister Naftali Bennett “can look back with satisfaction. But Israelis have cause for deep concern. He is steering the state to further entrenching the occupation, losing the chance for peace and grave international isolation.”