J Street Daily News Roundup 4/2/14

April 2nd, 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

Amid sound and fury, the latest on the Kerry initiative, J Street

J Street said, “As events continue to unfold in this high-stakes poker game, our message remains clear: this conflict can only be resolved through negotiations resulting in two states for two peoples. Kerry’s peace initiative offers a way forward. If Israelis and Palestinians are to ever know true peace and security, their leaders must not allow this moment to pass them by.”

Cold War Spy Scandal Revived by Middle East Talks, Bloomberg

“For much of the American Jewish community, the Pollard case is an unwelcome dilemma that triggers mostly silence. In a sign of the matter’s sensitivity, lobbying groups such as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and J Street declined to comment on whether Pollard should be released.”

Yossi Beilin’s pro-Israel and pro-peace plan for Mideast, Minnpost

“Yossi Beilin, a long-time stalwart among Israeli peaceniks, is touring the United States to promote an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal and J Street, the burgeoning organization of American Jews who want to be pro-Israel and pro-peace… Beilin hailed J Street and its “pro-Israel, pro-peace” formula as having the potential to change the American political dynamics around the Mideast conflict. All presidents heretofore have believed that there was only political pain to be found by pressing Israel to make a deal. Thanks to J Street, it’s possible to imagine future presidents believing that there could also be political pain by not pressing both sides to end the conflict.”

Writer Peter Beinart sounds off on Israel-Palestine conflict, Daily Pennsylvanian

Peter Beinart addressed students at the University of Pennsylvania in an event co-sponsored by J Street U Penn.

First Read's Morning Clips, NBC

“Progressive pro-Israel advocacy group J Street is not happy  with Chris Christie after his apology for his “occupied territories” remark.”

Top News and Analysis

Palestinians Defy US and Israel, Leaving Peace Talks in Peril, The New York Times

Defying the United States and Israel, the Palestinian leadership formally submitted applications on Wednesday to join 15 international agencies, leaving the troubled Middle East talks brokered by Secretary of State Kerry on the verge of breakdown. President Abbas’s actions prompted Kerry to cancel a planned return to the region on Wednesday, in which he had expected to complete an agreement extending negotiations through 2015. American officials, while rattled, said the Palestinians appeared to be using leverage against Israel rather than trying to scuttle the negotiations. Abbas, they noted, did not move toward joining the International Criminal Court, a step Israel fears most because the Palestinians could use the court to contest Israel’s presence in the West Bank.

Dempsey: US and Israel agree on Iran threat, USA Today

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey said that Israel and the United States are now in broad agreement about the threat that Iran poses to the region and how to deal with it. “I think they are satisfied that we have the capability to use a military option if the Iranians choose to stray off the diplomatic path," he said.


Ministers threaten retaliation over Abbas’s UN move, Times of Israel

Right-wing ministers warned that Israel could retaliate for the Palestinian Authority’s moves to join UN agencies by annexing territory or with financial sanctions.

Judea and Samaria council tells ministers: Reject settlement freeze, Jerusalem Post

Israeli settlers sent an urgent letter to cabinet ministers urging them to oppose any deal with the Palestinians that includes the release of prisoners and a building or planning freeze in Judea and Samaria.

While Kerry tries to clinch deal, Israel issues 700 tenders beyond Green Line, Haaretz

The Israel Lands Authority on Tuesday published a tender for 708 residential units in Gilo that had been previously published last year.

Pollard would not reject release in political deal, Jerusalem Post

Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard would reportedly not turn down an opportunity to receive US presidential commutation of his life sentence as part of an agreement in which Palestinian and Israeli prisoners are released. Though several right wing ministers said they opposed a deal to release Palestinian prisoners, they were careful not to say that they would quit the government.

US Intel Committee Chiefs Blast Deal for Israeli Spy, Daily Beast

Both the Democratic and Republican heads of the Senate Intelligence Committee said they were opposed to Pollard’s release.

Herzog: Palestinians have no unilateral alternative to talks, Times of Israel

Opposition Leader Isaac Herzog said, “Abbas should understand that there’s no unilateral avenue… He has no alternative in any UN forum. It will bring no solace to his people.”

Opinion and Analysis

Despite Palestinian unilateralism, talks will likely limp on, Times of Israel

‘No, the peace process is not dead,” writes Raphael Ahren.

In renewing UN bid, Abbas sends message to the world - and his people, Haaretz

According to Jack Khoury, “The decision to apply to the UN institutions, whether meant as a threat or as a serious pursuit, signals to the United States, the international community, and the Arab states that Abbas and the Palestinian leadership have reached the point of no return. Either Israel reconsiders its positions and pursues a final arrangement, or the two-state solution falls by the wayside, to be followed by the breakup of the PA.”

Pollard Chatter Means Peace Talks Are Serious, Forward

Brent Sasley wonders “if there is something more going on here. Perhaps it’s not a sign of the breakdown in talks, but a sign of their seriousness.”

Don’t Do It, Mr. Secretary, American Interest

Dan Kurtzer makes the case that Kerry “should not be tempted to demean American diplomacy and tarnish his hard work by throwing a convicted spy into a half-baked deal only to buy time for a peace process that appears to be floundering anyway.”

Bad Move on Jonathan Pollard, The New York Times

The New York Times editorial board contends that releasing Pollard “is a bad idea and would do nothing to advance progress on the core issues of a peace deal.”

Don't Pardon Jonathan Pollard, Forward

The Forward editorial board says, “Nobody seems to think that it’s a wise idea to sew Pollard into the fraying fabric of these negotiations. We agree.”