J Street News Roundup 4/11/2014

April 11th, 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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Top News and Analysis

Bennett threatens to quit coalition if Arab-Israeli prisoners freed, Haaretz

Economics Minister Naftali Bennett threatened to pull his HaBayit HaYehudi party out of the coalition on Thursday, should the cabinet approve a deal to extend peace negotiations with the Palestinians that includes the release of Arab-Israeli prisoners. Bennett's threat followed news of progress in the discussions with the Palestinians and the United States about renewing the crisis-locked peace negotiations. US envoy Martin Indyk met yesterday for nearly three hours with the negotiating teams, and is expected to return to the region next week after consultations in Washington.

Erekat: Reports on progress in talks ‘are false’, Times of Israel

Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat dismissed reports that Israel and the PA were on the verge of a breakthrough that would allow talks to continue beyond their upcoming April 29 deadline. Reports said that a deal would be similar to the one that was discussed last week, including a release of Palestinian prisoners, a freeze of settlement construction in the West Bank and the American release of Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard.

Ron Pundak, architect of Oslo Accords, dies at 59, Haaretz

Ron Pundak, one of the architects of the Oslo Accords and a leader of the Israeli peace camp, passed away in his home on Friday morning after a long battle against cancer.


Arab League head: Peace talks will continue after deadline, Associated Press

The head of the Arab League said the April 29 deadline would be extended and rejected the idea that the talks have failed to make progress.

Swiss say Palestinians can join Geneva Conventions, Associated Press

The Swiss government said that the Palestinians can join the Geneva Conventions governing the rules of war and military occupations. On Thursday, the United Nations said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon accepted Palestinian applications to join 13 other UN conventions.

Israel moves to scale back Palestinian Authority funding, Times of Israel

An Israeli official announced that Israel will significantly cut the tax funds allocated to the Palestinian Authority. The money kept by Israel will be deducted from outstanding Palestinian debts.

State Dept.: Netanyahu’s PA downgrade ‘unfortunate’, JTA

The State Department called Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s decision to reduce contacts with the Palestinian Authority “unfortunate.”

IDF responds to violence at Yitzhar: Deploys Border Police unit to West Bank settlement, Jerusalem Post

The IDF has decided to immediately station a company of border police soldiers at Yitzhar in response to the recent violence targeting security forces at the West Bank settlement.

Opinion and Analysis

Can Kerry Get Netanyahu to Go Big?, Bloomberg

Jeffrey Goldberg argues, “[Secretary of State] Kerry believes that Netanyahu is capable of taking a momentous step. Which is why he is sticking with the peace process, despite all the criticism. Kerry may be wrong about Netanyahu, and he may be wrong about [President] Abbas. But he is not wrong to keep trying.”

The Limits of ‘Special K’, The New York Times

According to Roger Cohen, “Kerry should take a break. Prolonging failure only demonstrates weakness. His commitment deserves better than the shallow maneuvers of weasels. The secretary of state does not wield a “twig,” as McCain suggested, but American clout can only be demonstrated if there is a limit to the accommodation of unserious people.”

Annexation Was Always Naftali Bennett's Plan A, Forward

Emily Hauser notes that “Bennett has never aspired to a two-state peace. Ever.”

In Boston, saying 'No’ to Pamela Geller’s savage hate, Haaretz

Michael Felsen says that Pamela Geller’s anti-Muslim campaign simply feeds bigotry.