J Street Daily News Roundup 3/17/2014

March 17th, 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

When will AIPAC start cheering for peace?, JWeekly

J Street U Georgetown Co-President Elijah Jatovsky urged, “Actively demonstrating support for [Secretary of State] Kerry’s initiative is choosing life over perpetual struggle. This is what it means to defend the country we love. This is what it means to be pro-Israel.”

The Invisible Arab Citizens of the State of Israel, Jewish Journal

J Street Rabbinic Cabinet Co-Chair Rabbi John Rosove argues that “if Israel is to live up to its own civil covenant with its citizens, then corrective action must be taken to move Israeli Arabs from second-class to first-class citizenship.”

Top News and Analysis

Obama to press Abbas on framework deal in White House meeting, Haaretz

President Abbas is scheduled to visit the White House today for a critical meeting with President Obama. According to senior US officials, President Obama is expected to press Abbas to accept the American framework agreement as a basis for continuing the peace talks beyond the current April 29 deadline. Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat has been in Washington for several days to prepare the meeting with Obama. On Sunday, Abbas and Kerry held a lengthy meeting. Following the meeting with Obama, the Palestinian president and Kerry are planned to meet again.

Iran's Zarif expects 'tougher' round of nuclear talks with world powers, Reuters

Iran's foreign minister said on Sunday he expects a more difficult round of nuclear talks with six world powers as the two sides try to iron out details such as Iran's Arak heavy water reactor and levels of uranium enrichment. The two sides are to meet again in Vienna on Tuesday to try to build on an interim agreement reached late last year in Geneva by reaching a final settlement of the decade-old dispute over the Islamic Republic's atomic activities by late July.

Obama desperately seeking a Plan B, Haaretz

“If the Americans are still dreaming of some kind of progress,” writes Barak Ravid, “they will have to make clear to both leaders, particularly to Abbas, what the ramifications of such failure would have on their relations with the United States.”


‘Abbas is a true partner for peace,’ says Peres, Ynet

President Peres said, “We must continue working with the Palestinian Authority and Abu Mazen. He is a good partner and I am glad our government is negotiating with him. Disagreements are a normal thing and that is why there are negotiations – to solve disputes.”

Livni attacks Ya’alon: Grumbling is easy, Times of Israel

Justice Minister Tzipi Livni chastised Defense Minister Ya’alon on Sunday evening over comments he’d made the previous day dismissing the viability of peace talks, saying “grumbling and despairing is easy…our responsibility is to change reality.”

Kerry’s Jewish state remarks continue to draw criticism, Times of Israel

Likud officials criticized Kerry’s remarks in which he said that the insistence on Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state is a mistake, adding that the issue should not be a critical factor in whether the current round of Israel-Palestinian peace negotiations succeed or fail.

Jordan: Not in our interest to cut ties with Israel, Times of Israel

Some 2,000 protesters demonstrated in front of the Israeli Embassy in Jordan on Friday over the killing of a Jordanian judge earlier in the week. Jordanian Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour said that it was not in the national interest to cut ties with Israel. He also said such a step could hurt Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations and US aid to Jordan.

Netanyahu to refocus efforts on boosting support within Likud, Jerusalem Post

Prime Minister Netanyahu reportedly intends to return with full force to work on strengthening his support inside the institutions of his Likud Party after years of neglect.

Blurred lines: Palestinians to ask UN to swap Green Line for red one, Haaretz

The Palestinian Authority will ask the United Nations to change the color of the demarcation line that represents Israel’s pre-1967 borders, replacing the Green Line with a red one.

Following settlers' demand, IDF removes Palestinian flag from Hebron roof, Haaretz

Israeli soldiers turned up for the second time on Saturday at a home in Hebron to order the removal of a Palestinian flag, even though the Israel Defense Forces said last week there is no policy against displaying flags.

Israel Reaches Out to the Diaspora, The New York Times

Over the past two weeks, Jewish leaders outside Israel  quietly gathered in seminar groups to grapple with a thorny question: how to ensure that Israel is both a Jewish and a democratic state.

Iran pursuing banned items for nuclear, missile work, Reuters

A US official said that Iran has pursued a longstanding effort to buy banned components for its nuclear and missile programs in recent months.

Opinion and Analysis

To Make Peace Between Israelis and Palestinians, Stop the Finger Pointing, Huffington Post

Adam Cohen says that “it is no longer enough for Netanyahu and Abbas to say that they want peace. For peace to move forward, they need to acknowledge that both sides are equally invested in the two-state solution if their constituencies are going to accept sacrifice and recognize the legitimacy of their neighbor's claims.”

Kerry is right about Netanyahu's unnecessary Jewish state demand, Haaretz

The Haaretz editorial board makes the case that “negotiations and attaining a peace agreement that will, in the short-term, prevent regional violence and isolation of Israel, and in the long-term avoid a binational state with a Palestinian majority, are essential interests of the State of Israel. Netanyahu should not be allowed to abandon them with unnecessary excuses.”

Israel, Abbas face 5 realities on peace, CNN.com

According to Aaron David Miller, Abbas may not be able to deliver his side of a peace agreement with Israel, but the peace talks are not yet headed for a breakdown.

If a Palestinian Did This, He'd Be Dead, Forward

Emily Hauser contends that “if one of Hebron’s 170,000 Palestinians had tried to steal one of the many, many Israeli flags belonging to any of the 500-some-odd settlers whose presence dictates every single detail  of Hebronian life — that Palestinian would have been shot.”

Concessions must be made, on both sides, Boston Globe

J Street Boston Social Media Chair Tucker Lieberman writes in a letter that “both the Israelis and the Palestinians will have to make painful concessions… But what is the alternative to working for peace?”

The Absolute Relevance of 1948, Partners for Progressive Israel

Paul Scham argues, “It is not the legitimacy of Israel that is at stake but, rather, the ability of American and Israeli Jews to accept these perspectives and move forward, past 1948.”