J Street Daily News Roundup 3/19/14

March 19th, 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


Bipartisan letter backs diplomacy, eschews imposing unworkable demands on Iran, J Street

J Street applauded the 395 Members of Congress who sent President Obama a letter expressing strong bipartisan support for diplomacy with Iran. J Street Director of Government Affairs Dylan Williams said, “This letter shows just how far Congress has come in recent months in their approach to dealing with Iran's nuclear program… Far from backing calls for military action, new sanctions or onerous conditions for a final deal, Congress has instead chosen to throw its weight behind diplomacy.”



Congress gives Obama administration a window for Iran talks, Al-Monitor

Julian Pecquet reported that “the Obama administration has gained space to negotiate a nuclear deal with Iran as Congress struggles to unify around a single set of demands for a final agreement.” Williams said that “at the end of the day, we don't see [Tuesday’s Senate letter expressing a hard line on Iran] as having a significant impact" on ongoing diplomatic talks. “It really is kind of the Plan C of those who were seeking to impose additional terms for diplomacy on Iran.”



Vast majorities in House, Senate stake claims to Iran talks outcome, JTA

“The liberal Jewish groups Americans for Peace Now and J Street backed the Cantor-Hoyer letter in the House and the Levin letter in the Senate. Americans for Peace Now opposed the Menendez-Graham letter in the Senate, and J Street had no position on it.”



First Time Ever: J Street Joins YU Panel, Yeshiva University Observer

J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami spoke at a well-attended panel at Yeshiva University.


Top News and Analysis


In blistering attack, U.S. official accuses Ya'alon of 'undermining' relations with Washington, Haaretz

The Obama administration launched a blistering attack on Defense Minister Ya'alon on Tuesday, accusing him of “undermining” the security ties between Israel and the United States. “We were shocked by Moshe Ya'alon’s comments, which seriously call into question his commitment to Israel’s relationship with the United States,” a senior administration official said.



Palestinians publish list of prisoners for release, Times of Israel

The Palestinian Authority published early Wednesday a list of 30 prisoners whom they expect to be released at the end of the month as part of an Israeli effort to bolster peace talks. Justice Minister and chief negotiator Tzipi Livni denied late Tuesday that the fourth release was in doubt. Earlier in the day, she appeared to indicate that the last group of prisoners would only be released if there was progress in negotiations.



West Sees Unity on Iran Despite Crisis in Ukraine, The New York Times

Talks on a permanent nuclear agreement with Iran resumed in Vienna on Tuesday, heavily shadowed by the Ukraine crisis between the West and Russia. But European and American officials said their differences with the Kremlin had no effect on the unified position they all take with Iran.



Netanyahu orders IDF to prepare for possible strike on Iran during 2014, Haaretz

Prime Minister Netanyahu and Ya’alon have ordered the army to continue preparing for a possible military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, despite the talks between Iran and the West.


News


Netanyahu to Likud: Don't distract world from Palestinian reluctance, Haaretz

At a Likud faction meeting, Netanyahu said Israel has to demonstrate a positive attitude on the peace process, so the international community understands that the Palestinians are responsible for the deadlocked peace talks.



Erekat: Abbas showed Obama ‘very ugly’ settlement map, Times of Israel

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said that Monday’s White House meeting between Obama and President Abbas was “difficult” yet “candid.” Erekat said Obama was presented with a “very ugly map” depicting Israeli settlement construction throughout the West Bank since peace talks began last year.



Jerusalem approves 184 housing units beyond Green Line, Haaretz

The Jerusalem Local Planning Committee on Wednesday approved building permits for 184 housing units beyond the Green Line. The committee gave its permission to proceed with building 144 housing units in the neighborhood of Har Homa C, and another 40 in Pisgat Ze'ev. With the permits in hand, ground work on the housing projects can now begin.



UN: Renewed violence shows Israeli-Palestinian talks vital, Associated Press

The UN political chief said a surge of Israeli-Palestinian violence last week brought the Middle East to the brink of a new crisis and underscored the importance of forging ahead with flagging US-led peace talks



A Divide Among Palestinians on a Two-State Solution, The New York Times

Abbas’ son Tareq, a businessman who has long shied away from politics and spotlights, is part of a swelling cadre of prominent Palestinians advocating the creation of a single state stretching from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea in which Jews and Arabs would all be citizens with equal rights.



Syria says Israeli air strike near Golan Heights killed one, Reuters

Israeli air strikes on Wednesday against Syrian military sites near the Golan Heights reportedly killed one person and wounded seven others.


Opinion and Analysis


Ask the Israeli people if they want peace, Haaretz

Aaron Magid says that a national referendum on peace “could be an essential tool to reduce chances for an internal conflict, bolster democratic transparency after the 2005 Gaza withdrawal, and strengthen the legitimacy of a contentious peace agreement.”



Discard the false visions of a binational state, Haaretz

Salman Masalha argues, “In the absence of partition the conflict will not be solved. We won’t reach a situation of ‘one person, one vote,’ but rather a continuation of the occupation.”



A Language of Conflict, and Peace, The New York Times

Jodi Rudoren examines “conflict code... words whose plain English meanings are politicized, distorted or undermined in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian struggle, which is much more a clash of narratives than a tussle over territory.”



'Omar' vs. 'Bethlehem', Partners for Progressive Israel

Ralph Seliger discusses "Bethlehem" and “Omar,” “both powerful films with remarkably similar themes and endings.”