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J Street in the News
J Street U said it rejects the zero-sum perspective of “Israel Apartheid Week” and will continue to fight to hold political and communal leaders accountable to reaching a just two-state solution to see both Jews and Palestinians attain self-determination, dignity, and sovereignty.
J Street Director of Government Affairs Dylan Williams noted that recent Congressional letters on Iran “started in mid-December as an effort to impose sanctions and conditions as a matter of law through a bill… That effort failed. Then it transformed into an effort to get a resolution, a bipartisan resolution, laying down parameters and final conditions for a deal. That effort failed. Then there was an effort to get a letter which laid down parameters and conditions, including zero [uranium] enrichment. That effort failed. So then you have a letter that will only be called bipartisan if it is genuinely supportive of the administration’s efforts and does not impose any onerous conditions on the negotiators.”
Top News and Analysis
Secretary of State Kerry and President Abbas met late night in what was seen as a critical bid to push the Palestinian leader to continue peace negotiations with Israel. According to American diplomats in Jordan, Kerry has secured assurances from Prime Minister Netanyahu that Israel will release Palestinian prisoners as previously scheduled — — if Abbas agrees by then to extend the time limit for the talks. Palestinian officials said that the talks between the sides are likely to continue in the next few days in a bid to reach an agreement on three key issues – an Israeli agreement to suspend construction in the settlements, carrying out the release of the 26 prisoners, and arranging the additional release of high-profile prisoners such as Marwan Barghouti and Ahmed Sadat. The 26 prisoners are expected to be released over the next two weeks, during which the sides would draft an agreed outline for continuing the talks.
Twenty-three Democratic senators signed a letter to President Obama on the Iran nuclear talks that was cast in less strident terms than a separate letter sent last week. The letter is a word for word replica of a bipartisan letter sent last week by an overwhelming number of members of the House of Representatives.
Turkey, Israel said ready to reopen missions as deal nears, Times of Israel
Turkey and Israel are reportedly set to reopen embassies in each others’ capitals, ending four years of strained ties between the countries.
The Transportation Ministry is planning major infrastructure projects in the West Bank with construction set to start in the next few years. The various transportation projects are expected to cost more than $57 million, though that figure does not include a number of projects that have yet to be budgeted for.
MKs said that the Israeli government is ignoring Jewish refugees from Arab countries in negotiations with the Palestinians.
Opinion and Analysis
Peace Process: Do or Die or What?, Times of Israel
Rabbi Joshua Levine Grater urges Netanyahu and Abbas, “Make hard decisions, compromise, realize neither of you will get everything you want. Prepare your peoples for a new reality. That is leadership. The world is ready to follow you, the United States of America is ready to help, and those that oppose can be swept along with the tide of peace, for there is nothing stronger than peace.”
Citing a new Israeli study, Avihai Snir and Eli Friedman contend that peace would be incredibly lucrative for the security and economies of both sides.
“It is a stain of dishonor that no members of the foreign service have seen fit to stand up and challenge policies that they know better than anyone are leading Israel to international leprosy and domestic disaster,” writes David Landau.
Michael Kaplan argues that “addressing the claims of Jewish refugees, who by all means deserve recognition and compensation, is not an urgent humanitarian issue in the way that resolving the Palestinian refugee crisis is.”
Peter Joseph notes, “Netanyahu’s relative silence on [Defense Minister] Ya’alon’s comments is concerning, but so, too, is that of the American Jewish community.”
Netanyahu and Danon battle for future of Likud, Al-Monitor
Examining the rift between Netanyahu and his right-wing rivals, Mazal Mualem interviews Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon.
The BDS Movement's Disingenuous Universalism, Partners for Progressive Israel
Guy Frankel says that “despite the embrace by some who truly have Israel's best interests at heart, I regret to say that the BDS movement… is in fact anti-Semitic, perhaps not in its intent, but certainly in effect, for the seemingly simple reason that it denies Jews what it claims for the Palestinian people: self-determination.”