J Street Daily News Roundup 3/25/14

March 25th, 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

Mideast peace is about people, not land, Tennessean

J Street Vice President of Communications Alan Elsner wrote, “The majority of Israelis and Palestinians have known for a long time that this is about their lives and the lives of their children and about the chance to build a better future. Let's hope their leaders are paying attention and will choose people over dirt, dust and soil.”

Dear Jay Michaelson: We Can’t Afford To Leave Hillel, New Voices

J Street U Columbia member Amram Altzman said that “despite my disagreement and disappointment with Hillel International’s policies, these  policies could never lead me to leave the organization entirely.”

Top News and Analysis

Palestinians may turn to UN if Israel doesn't free last prisoners, Haaretz

Five days before Israel is scheduled to release its fourth batch of security prisoners, Palestinian observers say they expect the Palestinian Authority to turn to the United Nations if Israel fails to adhere to the timetable. A team working on behalf of Secretary of State Kerry has visited Ramallah over the past two days, meeting with their Palestinian counterparts ahead of President Abbas’ trip to the Arab League summit in Kuwait. Abbas is expected to use the visit in the Persian Gulf to meet with the Saudi King Abdullah, who will meet Thursday with President Obama.

Israelis, Palestinians endorse Arab peace plan, Associated Press

A newly formed group of Israeli and Palestinian politicians--known as the Prague Forum--urged the Arab League to renew a comprehensive peace offer to Israel, saying such a gesture would give a much-needed boost to US-backed peace talks.


MKs call on Netanyahu to freeze settlement construction instead of releasing prisoners, Ynet

Opposition Knesset Members issued a letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu on Monday calling him to halt the fourth round of Palestinian prisoner release expected at the end of March, to be replaced by a freeze of settlement construction.

EU ready to pay Palestinians who renounce right of return, Times of Israel

The European Union is willing to provide financial compensation for Palestinian refugees and their descendants who renounce their “right of return” in a final peace deal with Israel, the EU’s ambassador to Israel indicated Monday, in what appears to be the first time a senior EU official publicly endorsed such an offer.

Israeli and Palestinian business leaders join forces, Jerusalem Post

As part of the group Break the Impasse, some 200 Israeli and 150 Palestinian business and civil society leaders have been in long-term dialogue to support political leaders in their aim to reach a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Israeli government doc: Population exchange legal under international law, Haaretz

Foreign Minister Lieberman has reportedly received a classified legal opinion that paves the way for making Arab areas of Israel part of a future Palestinian state. The document’s authors concluded that the move would comply with international law on condition that it were done with the consent of the Palestinians, did not leave anyone without citizenship and included a mechanism for providing compensation, similar to the one used with Jewish settlers during Israel’s 2005 disengagement from the Gaza Strip.

Most land Israel sold for new homes in 2014 in West Bank or East Jerusalem, Haaretz

According to the Israel Lands Authority, 55% of new homes in 2014 are in the West Bank or East Jerusalem.

UN rights chief hits Israel over settlements, Reuters

The United Nations' top human rights official said, “Israeli settlement-related activities and settler violence are at the core of many of the violations of human rights in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.”

Why some Israeli settlers are willing to live in a Palestinian state, Christian Science Monitor

A small minority of Israeli settlers say their ties to the biblical land of Israel trump their need to live inside modern Israel’s borders. They say that even if Israel agrees to disband West Bank settlements under a future peace agreement, they would prefer to remain on land handed over to the Palestinians.

Hamas would accept peace with Israel, West Bank leader says, Times of Israel

A top Hamas official in the West Bank said his hard-line group would accept a peace deal between the Palestinian Authority and Israel should it win approval in a national referendum.

Opinion and Analysis

Two-staters, unite behind Kerry, Haaretz

Ori Nir urges, “If you support the two-state solution you must do what you can to support this effort, which the Obama administration has justifiably been depicting as possibly a last ditch attempt.”

Netanyahu's Fake Jerusalem Stalls Peace, Forward

“Since 1997, American diplomacy in the Middle East has been shaped by Netanyahu’s settlement policies,” says Emily Hauser. “As we approach the Secretary of State’s April deadline for a framework deal, I hope he’s taking note of the pattern that Har Homa, in particular, reveals.”

A rabbi, a Palestinian and the seed of peace, Haaretz

Rabbi Yehoshua Looks recalls how he was changed by a meeting with Palestinians in Bethlehem.

Peace before it’s too late, JWeekly

J Street San Francisco Media Chair Michael Cooper writes in a letter that two recent pieces in the J “underscore the imperative of American Jewry joining what John Kerry has called ‘the great constituency for peace.’ And if not now, when?”