J Street News Roundup 4/24/2014

April 24th, 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

Fatah-Hamas Reconciliation Move Highlights Necessity of US Leadership, J Street

J Street said it regards the preliminary agreement on political reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas with caution and urged the United States to press forward with an even more assertive effort to forge a two-state solution. It said that if the deal is implemented, the new Palestinian government must abide by its international commitments, including recognition of Israel and renunciation of violence.

J Street Calls on Secretary Kerry to Make Public US Positions on Core Issues for Israeli-Palestinian Peace, J Street

J Street called on Secretary of State Kerry to put forward publicly an American framework for a two-state solution, and to ask both parties to continue talks on that basis.

JCPA has J Street’s back in Presidents Conference bid, JTA

The Jewish Council for Public Affairs said that it would vote in favor of J Street’s bid to join the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.

Centofanti ’15 and Resnick ’14: J Street U — Pro-Israel, pro-Palestine, no ‘anti’, Brown Daily Herald

J Street U Brown members Shelby Centofanti and Liz Resnick urged, “If Palestinian, Jewish and American leaders can all agree to work toward a two-state solution despite differences of opinion, it is time for students and Hillel to do the same.”

Top News and Analysis

Ministers said to mull new sanctions after Palestinian pact, Times of Israel

Prime Minister Netanyahu held an emergency meeting of his security cabinet Thursday morning as top officials mulled how to respond to yesterday’s reconciliation agreement between Fatah and Hamas. Israeli officials have slammed the pact as proof that Authority President Abbas is uninterested in reaching a peace accord with Israel, while Palestinians have defended the deal as bringing a two-state solution closer. Israel said it canceled a round of peace talks scheduled for Wednesday night, though Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said there was no meeting scheduled and Ramallah would hold a bilateral meeting with US Envoy Martin Indyk on Thursday.

US 'disappointed' by Palestinian reconciliation deal, Haaretz

The State Department called the timing of the reconciliation deal "troubling" and said that it was "disappointed" by the announcement. “It is hard to see how Israel will negotiate with a government that does not recognize its right to exist," State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said. "The Palestinian reconciliation deal raises concerns and could complicate the efforts to extend peace talks… The ball is in the Palestinian court to answer questions about how government announcement affects peace talks.”

Palestinian reconciliation is an opportunity for Israel, Haaretz

Barak Ravid argues that “an Israeli government that really wanted to advance the two-state solution would have been pleased and seen the reconciliation agreement not as a threat, but as an opportunity.”

The Fatah-Hamas Gaza Palestinian Unity Agreement, Council on Foreign Relations

Robert Danin warns that “rather than prompting Israelis to make endgame concessions to reach a deal right now, Abbas’ flirting with Hamas is more likely to provoke Netanyahu to point a finger at Abbas and say that the Palestinians are to blame for thwarting Kerry’s efforts, and that Abbas is really no partner for genuine peace.”


US official says Hamas-PLO government would prompt aid reassessment, Reuters

A senior US official said, “If a new Palestinian government is formed, we will assess it based on its adherence to the stipulations above, its policies and actions, and will determine any implications for our assistance based on US law.”

PA official says Hamas accepted two-state solution, Haaretz

According to Senior Fatah official Jibril Rajoub, the reconciliation agreement between Fatah and Hamas, which was signed in Gaza on Wednesday, is based on a two-state solution and recognizes the State of Israel. He stressed that "when the government is established with [Abbas] at its head, he will express clearly and unequivocally that he accepts the terms of the Quartet and that his government accepts the two-state solution."

Hamas official: Violence against Israel to be discussed in unity talks, Ynet

Hamas Deputy Foreign Minister Ghazi Hamad said, “We will discuss [violent resistance] – among other issues – at the negotiations between Fatah and Hamas.” He added, “As we have said, we want a Palestinian state with the 1967 borders… If [Israel] is willing to accept this, the entire situation will change."

Lapid questions whether Palestinians want state, Times of Israel

In a scathing attack, Finance Minister Yair Lapid said that the unity deal was even worse than the Palestinian threat to dissolve the Palestinian Authority. Lapid said that Israel has made more than one offer in the past to establish a Palestinian state and on each occasion the offer was rejected. “The question that is left is do the Palestinians want their own state, and if so, do they want to set it up alongside the Jewish state? Or have they never abandoned their original vision, a Palestinian state instead of Jewish state?”

Hamas reconciliation last straw for Palestine critics in Congress, Al-Monitor

The reconciliation announcement triggered an instant call for retaliation on Capitol Hill. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen said, “US law is clear on the prohibition of US assistance to a unity Palestinian government that includes Hamas, a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization, and President Obama must not allow one cent of American taxpayer money to help fund this terrorist group."

China welcomes Palestinian unity deal, hopes will help peace, Reuters

China's foreign ministry welcomed the Palestinian unity pact, saying Beijing hoped this would help peace talks with Israel.

Rockets hit southern Israel after IDF strikes Gaza Strip, Haaretz

Two rockets exploded in southern Israel on Wednesday, after Israel launched an air strike in the Gaza Strip earlier in the day, wounding 12.

Opinion and Analysis

Israel's Sustainable Success, The New York Times

Roger Cohen writes, “Moving toward a two-state peace — the best outcome for both nations — cannot be based either on the myth that Israel’s current situation is unsustainable or on the myth that the Palestinian Authority, as currently constituted, represents the Palestinian national movement. It can only emerge when a majority on both sides believes, based on the facts, that painful compromise in the name of a better future is preferable to manageable conflict fed by the wounds of the past.”

For Palestinian unity, the devil is in the implementation, Times of Israel

According to Avi Issacharoff, “The end of the journey to reconciliation remains, on the evening after the agreement was signed and hailed, a long way off.”

Everything you need to know about Israel-Palestine, Vox

Zack Beauchamp delves into the origins of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and what today’s reconciliation agreement might mean going forward.

South Africa's Passover lesson for Israel, Haaretz

In South Africa, Peter Beinart reflects on lessons for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

An Enduring Fiction About Jerusalem, Bloomberg

As the Supreme Court moves to consider the status of Jerusalem, Jeffrey Goldberg asks, “What does it say about us, that we allow the fear of violence to make us deny what is true?”