J Street News Roundup 7/18/2014

July 18th, 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

J Street Calls on US Government to Continue Talks with Iran, Cautions Congress on Inspectors vs. Boots on the Ground, J Street Blog

J Street Director of Government Affairs Dylan Williams said that “continuing diplomacy along the lines set forth in the interim agreement would keep Iran’s nuclear program frozen and under daily inspections while negotiators hammer out the details of a deal… It’s far better to give our negotiators the time they need to secure a good deal than to let the interim agreement expire and allow Iran to unfreeze its nuclear program." Williams also warned against any effort by opponents of diplomacy in Congress to exploit the possible extension of talks as an opportunity to frustrate negotiations.

Undermining Hamas Through Moderation, The Hoya

J Street U Georgetown Co-President Elijah Jatovsky wrote, “As Israel rightfully defends itself against Hamas’ terror, it must simultaneously make efforts to bolster moderation among Palestinians and to support calls for renewed diplomacy.”

Top News and Analysis

LIVE UPDATES: Israel launches ground incursion in Gaza Strip, Haaretz

A large contingent of Israeli ground forces entered the Gaza Strip last night for the first time since Operation Protective Edge began 10 days ago. Prime Minister Netanyahu said in a statement that the ground operation’s main goal will be to deal with the threat posed by the tunnels Hamas has dug along the Gaza-Israel border. Eitan Barak, a 20-year-old IDF soldier from Herzliya, was killed hours after the beginning of the invasion. The IDF is investigating whether friendly fire was involved in his death.

The IDF struck over 100 targets in the Strip overnight, among them 20 launchers and nine tunnels. Palestinian sources say 28 Gaza residents have been killed since the incursion began, thus raising the Palestinian death toll to 256. Nearly 2,000 have been wounded, most of them civilians. Over a thousand rockets have been launched at Israel from the Gaza Strip over the past two weeks.

Diplomats work to extend Iran nuclear talks, Al-Monitor

On Thursday, diplomats from Iran and six world powers began to negotiate the terms of an extension for an Iran nuclear deal, as Iranian negotiators expressed frustration that their Western counterparts had not responded more positively to Iran’s proposal to hold enrichment capacity steady for up to seven years.

Keep Negotiating on Iran’s Nukes, The New York Times

The New York Times editorial board warns, “There are risks in any deal. But there are many more if there is no deal, Iran’s program resumes unchecked and an opportunity to work with Iran on other regional challenges slips away.”

Watching Gaza, New Yorker

“What the Obama Administration seems unable to grasp, or finds inconvenient to admit, is that the peace process cannot just be paused,” says Bernard Avishai. “To say that the parties to the conflict must want peace more than Americans is to condemn them to leaders who, in the short run, benefit from conflict, and hand Americans, and everyone else, an insufferable future.”


Netanyahu: Israel may ‘significantly expand’ Gaza operation, Times of Israel

Netanyahu on Friday said Israel was set to “significantly expand” its ground offensive in the Gaza Strip.

Ground operation follows deceptive measures aimed at Hamas, Haaretz

Israel’s inner cabinet decided on expansion of military activities on Tuesday, after Egypt’s cease-fire efforts failed, though news outlets were told a decision would only be made Friday morning.

Israelis Back Gaza Ground War — Despite Risks, Forward

Despite fears of significant injuries and deaths among their soldiers, the Israeli public is strongly supportive of Israel’s ground operation in Gaza, and leaders across most of the political spectrum lined up behind the push.

US: Restrict Gaza operation to precise action against tunnels, Times of Israel

Secretary of State Kerry told Netanyahu that the US strongly supports Israel’s right to defend itself against threats posed by the Gaza tunnels dug into Israel and urged Israel to limit its ground operation to a precision offensive against the tunnels.

Bill Clinton warns Israel on 'isolating itself from world opinion', AFP

Bill Clinton warned, “Over the long run it is not good for Israel to keep isolating itself from world opinion because of the absence of a viable peace process.”

Abbas, Sissi urge immediate Gaza ceasefire, Times of Israel

After meeting in Cairo, President Abbas and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi called for an immediate ceasefire.

Egypt blames Hamas for IDF's ground offensive, Jerusalem Post

The Egyptian foreign minister said that Hamas is at fault for the IDF’s need to enter Gaza in a ground operation.

Israel evacuating diplomats' families from Turkey, following attacks, Haaretz

Israeli diplomatic families in Turkey are being evacuated and Israel’s diplomatic representation in that country reduced to a minimum following violent  demonstrations on Thursday night outside the embassy in Ankara and the consulate in Istanbul.

‘When the sirens sound, we have nowhere to hide’, Times of Israel

For the Bedouins of the Negev, the demand for concrete shelters is not just about protection, it’s about recognition.

Lawmakers: Kerry floats new sanctions on Iran, Al-Monitor

In what would be a major reversal in administration policy, House Democrats claimed that Kerry told them privately that passing new triggered sanctions on Iran might help unlock a nuclear deal.

Hawks Looking to Sanction Iran Face Opposition From US Businesses, Foreign Policy

US lawmakers pushing to ramp up sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program will face opposition from trade groups, which are arguing that the Obama administration's zeal for using financial tools to punish other countries -- most recently Russia -- is hurting American companies.

Opinion and Analysis

How the West Chose War in Gaza, The New York Times

Nathan Thrall contends that “the current escalation in Gaza is a direct result of the choice by Israel and the West to obstruct the implementation of the April 2014 Palestinian reconciliation agreement.”

Peace may never be at hand, Washington Post

“The close and unbreakable bond between Israel and the United States remains a given. But friends try not to let friends do stupid things,” writes Eugene Robinson. “If there are ways in which US advice might shorten this outbreak of violence or delay the next, Obama — and his successors — must speak up.”

Netanyahu misjudges the risks of his Gaza strategy, Financial Times

According to Daniel Levy, “Netanyahu eschews solutions to the broader Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He favours keeping Gaza and the West Bank isolated while tweaking the status quo in ways that reinforce Israeli control.”

The Bizarre Moral Criticism Against Israel, Time

Rabbi Eric Yoffie examines the question of “disproportionate” casualties in Gaza.

Iran’s highly enriched bargaining chip, Foreign Policy

Colin Kahl stresses that “unless Iran agrees to rein in its enrichment program, it will be impossible for the country to reassure the international community of the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear program. And that means it will be impossible to get a deal that resolves the nuclear crisis.”