J Street News Roundup 7/17/2014

July 17th, 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

LIVE UPDATES: Hamas official: Progress made, but cease-fire not yet reached, Haaretz

Some Israeli officials are reportedly saying that a comprehensive ceasefire agreement was reached during deliberations in Egypt and would go into effect at 6 am on Friday morning, though other officials have denied this. A temporary humanitarian ceasefire between Israel and Hamas went into effect at 10 am on Thursday and expired at 3 pm. Three rockets were fired at southern Israel just two hours after the ceasefire went into effect, and another round was launched exactly two minutes after it expired.

Hamas and the Islamic Jihad have fired more than 1,215 rockets and mortar shells into Israel since the hostilities began, reaching the length and breadth of the country. The Israel Defense Forces struck 37 targets overnights in the Gaza Strip. The death toll in Gaza has reached 230, with 1,690 wounded, mostly civilians. In Israel, one civilian volunteer was killed while bringing food to soldiers.

Iran, powers seek to agree terms for extending nuclear talks, Reuters

Iran and six world powers are working to finalize the terms of a likely extension in negotiations over Tehran's nuclear program beyond a July 20 deadline and an announcement may come as early as Friday, Western diplomats said.

Nuclear talks with Iran should be given more time, Washington Post

The Washington Post editorial board urges, “Prolonging the negotiations [with Iran] is better than declaring a breakdown, which could lead to a military conflict at a time when the United States is already juggling multiple crises in the region and beyond.”

Is Netanyahu fighting just Hamas or the two-state solution as well?, Haaretz

“Had Mahmoud Abbas declared that because of this week’s Gaza War he no longer supports the two state solution, American Jewish groups would have screamed with fury,” writes Peter Beinart. “But when [Prime Minister] Netanyahu does the same thing, they say nothing.”


Obama: US using all means to get Israel-Gaza ceasefire, Associated Press

President Obama said Wednesday that the United States will use all its diplomatic resources and relationships to secure a deal on a ceasefire to end violence between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

FM: West Bank status quo can be model for Gaza reoccupation, Times of Israel

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said the status quo in the West Bank could serve as a model for Israel’s reoccupation of Gaza, and urged the government not to rush toward a ceasefire with Hamas, but instead to send ground troops into the Strip to uproot Hamas.

Israel probing deaths of four Palestinian boys shelled on Gaza beach, JTA

Israel’s military said it was investigating the deaths of four Palestinian boys who were killed by an Israeli strike while playing on a Gaza City beach.

IDF opens fire on 13 Palestinians infiltrating Israel via Gaza tunnel, Haaretz

The Israel Defense Forces thwarted a mass infiltration attempt on Thursday, opening fire on 13 Palestinian militants who managed to enter Israel through a tunnel in the southern Gaza Strip.

3 suspects indicted in killing of Muhammad Abu Khdeir, Times of Israel

The Jerusalem District Court indicted three suspects on Thursday for the July 2 abduction and killing of 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir in an alleged revenge attack for the killing of three Israeli teens three weeks earlier.

Palestinian-American Teenager Returns Home After Beating, The New York Times

Tariq Abu Khdeir, the Palestinian-American teenager who relatives say was beaten by the Israeli authorities returned home to Florida late Wednesday.

The Danon effect: Rightists tone down criticism of PM, Haaretz

The dismissal of Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon on Tuesday night had an immediate dampening effect on the right wing’s criticism of Netanyahu and the offensive in the Gaza Strip.

Hamas could win war of public opinion, Haaretz

Israeli Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer asked some 700 American Jews on a conference call this week for their help shifting the messaging on Israel.

Hamas, in rejecting Egyptian truce bid, slams ‘Arab betrayal’, Times of Israel

A Hamas spokesperson said that the Egyptian ceasefire presented on Monday satisfied none of the Palestinian demands, and would have returned the situation on the ground to “the starting point.”

Settlers and Palestinians break their fast together, Times of Israel

At the Etzion bloc intersection, an effort to find a joint dialogue over chicken and mejadra.

Iran believed to start up plant needed for interim nuclear deal, Reuters

Iran is believed to have started operating a long-delayed uranium conversion plant which it needs to fulfil an interim nuclear agreement reached with six world powers last year before it expires on Sunday.

Paris bans pro-Palestinian protest amid tensions, Associated Press

French authorities are forbidding pro-Palestinian protests in some cities after violence marred a recent march against the violence in Gaza, as Jewish-Muslim tensions in France have reached their highest level in years.

Opinion and Analysis

The way to achieve real quiet in Gaza, Haaretz

The Haaretz editorial board contends that “an agreement with a terror organization, even if it endures, will not be a substitute for a serious diplomatic framework. Only this kind of framework will be able to change the threatening reality in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.”

Rockets and bombs make Israelis and Palestinians less willing to compromise, Washington Post

Citing their recent research, Anna Getmansky and Thomas Zeitzoff note that “given the increase in the number of Israelis who are within the range of rockets, and the high number of Palestinian casualties, the recent round of fighting is likely to cause individuals on both sides to harden their attitudes towards each other, making a peaceful resolution of the conflict less likely.”

An exchange, Talking Points Memo

In a thoughtful back-and-forth with a reader, Josh Marshall says, “Remember, Israel is infinitely stronger than her local adversaries. She could easily dictate a peace. But you're fooling yourself if you believe that time is on Israel's side the longer the occupation continues.”

The Hamas challenge and Israel's wasted years, Haaretz

Ari Shavit says that “when the rockets stop falling and the fighter jets stop bombing, we will have to rethink the threats we face.”

Netanyahu betrayed by Likud in wartime, Al-Monitor

According to Mazal Mualem, “Never before has a party head — and a prime minister, no less — become a punching bag in the middle of a military operation, just for the sake of immediate political points.”

Breakout, Shmeakout: The Wrong Way to Assess a Nuclear Deal with Iran, National Interest

Paul Pillar argues, “If the nuclear negotiations fail—or if Congress effectively destroys an agreement by interfering with its implementation—because of details about the number of centrifuges spinning or the number of months required to enrich uranium, this would be a major missed opportunity and an unwisely counterproductive pursuit of the objective of keeping the Iranian program peaceful. It also would be a destructively small-minded approach toward the use of diplomacy to pursue US interests.”