J Street News Roundup 7/25/2014

July 25th, 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

J Street challenges the Israel lobby from within, CNN

Since its founding in 2008, J Street has sought to break through the noise and challenge the status quo of the pro-Israel establishment. “We're trying to better represent the diversity of views that exist in the Jewish community," said J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami. "That median, that 50-yard line in the American Jewish community, is not what people on the Hill hear from the established voices."

A letter from Tel Aviv, J Street Blog

With her husband volunteering in the IDF operation in Gaza, and Palestinian friends on the other side, Israel Director Yael Patir stressed, “Being an Israeli peace activist obliges me to hear the stories and understand the narratives as they are told on both sides of the conflict.”

All together now, Progressive Radio Network

J Street Vice President of Communications Alan Elsner said that the Gaza crisis shows that the status quo is unsustainable, and that a two-state solution is an existential necessity for Israel.

Death Toll Rising As Conflict In Gaza Continues, RT

Elsner explained that once the current war in Gaza is over, only a political agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority will prevent another flare-up in the future.

Who Bears More Responsibility for the War in Gaza? A Primer, New Republic

John Judis noted, “American Jewish support for Israel’s stance on the occupation has somewhat diminished—witness the rise of J Street—but the slippage of support among liberal Jews has been made up by the rising support of right-wing Christians, many of whom are aligned with the Israeli right.”

When Right and Wrong are not the Answer, Systems Change Consulting

J Street Madison chair Jeff Spitzer-Resnick argued that “peace will only come between Israel and the Palestinians when their people demand it from their leaders and both sides let go of insisting that they are right and the other side is wrong.”

Top News and Analysis

LIVE UPDATES: IDF soldier killed in Gaza in apparent friendly-fire incident, Haaretz

Israel's Operation Protective Edge entered its 18th day on Friday, marking the 8th day of the IDF's ground incursion into the Gaza Strip. Two Palestinians were killed near the Qalandiyah checkpoint in the West Bank and over 200 were wounded, many of them by live IDF fire, when some 10,000 protesters marched from Ramallah toward Jerusalem late on Thursday night. Israeli authorities say live fire was fired at IDF troops from with the crowd.

In Gaza, the Palestinian death toll surpassed the 800 mark, most of them civilians. Israel military fatalities stand at 33 since the operation commenced. Israel asserted Thursday that a hospital it struck the day before was empty of patients and being used for missile attacks, while Palestinians asserted that 15 people were killed when a UNRWA school was hit by artillery fire on Thursday.

Kerry Proposes Weeklong Halt to Fighting in Gaza Strip, The New York Times

Secretary of State Kerry has proposed a two-stage plan to halt the fighting in the Gaza Strip that would first impose a weeklong truce starting Sunday. As soon as the truce took effect, Palestinian and Israeli officials would begin negotiations on the principal economic, political and security concerns about Gaza, with other nations attending. Important details of the plan remained under negotiation early Friday, including an Israeli proposal that its troops be allowed to remain in Gaza during the temporary truce. It was not clear if the final plan would be endorsed by Hamas or by the Israeli cabinet. Kerry reportedly plans to leave Cairo for the United States this afternoon.

2 Palestinians killed outside Jerusalem said to have shot at Israeli troops, Times of Israel

Thousands of Palestinians clashed with Israeli security forces at the Qalandiya checkpoint between Jerusalem and Ramallah late Thursday, and riots broke out at several flashpoints near and inside East Jerusalem.

Spectators to War, West Bank Residents Hail the Hamas Fight Against Israel, The New York Times

Just three months ago, Hamas, financially strapped and diplomatically isolated, agreed to a reconciliation deal with President Abbas after a bitter, seven-year division, on minimal terms that analysts said reflected the Islamic group’s weakness. Now Hamas is being hailed in the West Bank as the champion of armed resistance, while Abbas is being excoriated for having failed to achieve a Palestinian state after 20 years of intermittent and fruitless Israeli-Palestinian talks.


PA President says still hope for ceasefire, Jerusalem Post

In Jordan on Thursday, Abbas said that there was still hope for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas and repeated his call to the two parties to accept the Egyptian-brokered truce proposal.

Backs to the wall, Palestinian leadership comes out fighting, Haaretz

The Palestinian Authority is fed up with the international community’s promises to implement its national aspirations, and has concluded that the Palestinians have no one to rely on but themselves.

Israel and Hamas blame each other for attack on UN shelter, Times of Israel

15 civilians were killed and as many as 200 more were wounded Thursday afternoon in the bombardment of a UN school – an assault that both sides claim might well be the fault of the other.

Hamas conserving its rockets, say Israeli army officials, Haaretz

The IDF believes that Hamas is firing fewer rockets per day because of dwindling stocks and a desire to hold on to its remaining arsenal.

Americans' Reaction to Middle East Situation Similar to Past, Gallup

A new poll found that Americans are divided over whether or not Israel’s operation in Gaza is justified, though those under 49 years old said by significant margins that it was unjustified.

Reuven Rivlin sworn in as Israel’s tenth president, Times of Israel

In a modest ceremony at the Knesset, under the shadow of the ongoing conflict in Gaza, Reuven Rivlin was sworn in as the tenth president of Israel on Thursday. “We are gathered here today with a very clear message to our enemies: You have not overcome us and you will not do so,” said Rivlin. “We are not fighting against the Palestinian people, and we are not at war with Islam; we are fighting against terrorism.”

Leaving presidency, Peres moves on to investment firm for Mideast peace projects, Haaretz

When he leaves office next week, President Peres will become the head of a large company that seeks to invest in projects connected to peace in the Middle East.

US: Iran has addressed 'greatest' nonproliferation concerns, Al-Monitor

The Obama administration is defending its decision to continue nuclear negotiations with Iran by noting major nonproliferation achievements under an interim deal and new steps to roll back Iran’s stockpiles of enriched uranium.

IAEA says needs more money to monitor Iran nuclear deal extension, Reuters

The International Atomic Energy Agency said it needs 1 million euros in extra funding to help pay for its monitoring of a four-month extension of an interim nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers.

Huge Iran al-Quds Day rallies call for ‘Death to Israel’, Times of Israel

Iranians rallied nationwide on Friday in a show of support for Palestinians and against Israel.

Opinion and Analysis

The transformation of Shimon Peres, Foreign Policy

Yossi Beilin examines “how the last of Israel's founding fathers went from ‘Mr. Security’ to become his country's most prominent dove.”

Both Israelis and Palestinians are losers in this conflict, Guardian

Daniel Barenboim says, “We can only overcome this sad state if we finally begin to accept the other side’s suffering and their rights. Only from this understanding can we attempt to build a future together.”

The double folly, Huffington Post

Alon Ben-Meir urges that as part of a ceasefire deal, “Israel must pledge to resume the peace negotiations in earnest and recommit itself to the two-state solution to give all Palestinians the hope that the occupation will eventually come to an end.”

Gaza’s Mounting Death Toll, The New York Times

The New York Times editorial board stresses that “Israel’s interest would be ill-served if Mr. Abbas ends up being marginalized while the hard-liners are empowered. Any cease-fire should be structured to help strengthen Mr. Abbas’s position.”

Israel must be permitted to crush Hamas, Washington Post

According to Michael Oren, “To guarantee peace, this war must be given a chance.”

Israel vs. Hamas is a war between good and evil, Haaretz

S. Daniel Abraham makes the case that “a ceasefire now will only guarantee another war in a year or two or three; the only effective strategy is the complete demilitarization of Hamas, a terrorist organization that has hijacked a country.”

Hamas in Arab Eyes: Few Signs of Revival, Except in West Bank, Washington Institute

David Pollock contends that even now, few Palestinians affiliate with Hamas, while a majority supports a ceasefire with Israel.

How Israel decides to go to war, Vox

Zachary Beauchamp and Brent Sasley discuss Israel’s military strategy in the Gaza war.

Caring Is Not a Zero-Sum Game, Jew School

Decrying the lack of nuance in the discourse over the current crisis, Rabbi Joshua Strom writes, “Even when—especially when—it is most difficult, when the view of a peaceful future for all Palestinians and Israelis is cloudy at best, if not all but completely obstructed, it is precisely in these moments, these darkest of hours, where we must have hope, where we must be active in calling for and striving towards peace.”