J Street News Roundup 7/29/2014

July 29th, 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

How J Street Shows Solidarity With Israel, New York Jewish Week

"As a community," urged J Street Senior Vice President for Community Relations Rachel Lerner, "we should seek ways to come together and give voice to the tensions present in our community as well as the principles that unite us. And if we cannot, we should at least attempt to understand and respect each others modes of reaction and expression at moments of danger and sorrow – without judgment, without smears and name calling, without attacks."

Conflict draws community reaction, Jewish Journal

J Street Southern Regional Director Scott Brockman said that "J Street stands in solidarity with our family in Israel. Israel has every right to defend itself from Hamas rockets fired from Gaza and to destroy the tunnels that clearly were intended to be used to attack Israeli citizens… We also feel compassion for the loss of life on all sides. It is our hope that when the guns are silent we can all work toward ensuring we do not find ourselves here again."

Top News and Analysis

LIVE UPDATES: Bennett: Destruction of tunnels not enough - Hamas must be defeated, Haaretz

Operation Protective Edge entered its 22nd day on Tuesday, as Israeli ground forces continued their incursion into Gaza after the government rejected a ceasefire draft proposed by Secretary of State Kerry over the weekend. Ten Israeli soldiers have died in the past 24 hours: five were killed in a militant border infiltration, four in mortar shell fire near the border and one during clashes in Gaza's south. Since the crisis began, three Israeli civilians and 53 soldiers have been killed. Over 1,100 Palestinians have been killed and more than 6,500 have been wounded.

Netanyahu's vision for Gaza: Internationally supervised demilitarization, Haaretz

Prime Minister Netanyahu reportedly wants to establish an international framework for demilitarizing the Gaza Strip, supervising entry of people and goods into the enclave and preventing smuggling. This mechanism will oversee the use of funds, building materials and arms in Gaza, in order to ensure that they are not used for terror.

Palestinians continue cease-fire efforts, but with little optimism, Haaretz

Palestinian diplomats pressed on with efforts to reach a ceasefire on Monday, even though sources close to President Abbas were not optimistic that a formula could be found to end the conflict at this time. A senior Palestinian official said that the Palestinians feel the issue has been taken out of their hands and picked up by the international arena, where power struggles between the nations are blocking a serious discussion of the Palestinian demands for a ceasefire.

Gaza's sole power plant knocked out by Israeli strike, Reuters

Israeli tank fire hit the fuel depot of the Gaza Strip's only power plant on Tuesday, cutting electricity to Gaza City and many other parts of the Palestinian enclave of 1.8 million people.


IDF: Terrorists’ rockets hit Gaza hospital, refugee camp, Times of Israel

The IDF said that misfired Gazan rockets and not Israeli missiles on Monday afternoon hit a playground in a Gaza City refugee camp and a building inside the compound housing its largest hospital.

Netanyahu to Ban: UN cease-fire call answers needs of 'murderous terror group', Haaretz

Netanyahu spoke with UN chief Ban Ki-moon on Monday to protest a statement issued by the UN Security Council that urged an immediate ceasefire in fighting in Gaza, telling him that the international body's call reflected the needs of Hamas - but not of Israel.

US officials warn Kerry criticism could jeopardize Israel ties, Times of Israel

In unusually harsh language, US officials said the Israeli criticism of Kerry could put the relationship between the US and Israel in jeopardy. They also said the personal attacks on Kerry crossed a line and were particularly disappointing at a time of active conflict.

Rice, Dermer talk up US-Israel ties, Kerry’s ceasefire efforts, Times of Israel

National Security Advisor Susan Rice and Israeli Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer issued strong proclamations of friendship and unity during a conference of national Jewish leadership Monday afternoon.

With Israel at war, US lawmakers give full support, Times of Israel

While much of the rest of the world watches the Gaza war in horror and scrambles for a ceasefire, US lawmakers are pressing the Obama administration to take no action that puts pressure on Israel to halt its military operations.

Third of young Americans blame Israel for Gaza conflict, Times of Israel

A Pew Research Center survey of Americans showed mostly favorable opinions for Israel’s military campaign among the general public. However, a much larger proportion of respondents under the age of 30 tended to see Israel as the guilty party.

Rivlin makes plea for unity in Ramadan greeting, Times of Israel

Newly minted President Rivlin called on members of all Abrahamic faiths to find unity, even as Israelis and Palestinians fight a bloody war and ethnic tensions continue to ramp up, in a holiday greeting to Israel’s Muslims Monday.

Opinion and Analysis

Diplomacy key in talks with Iran, Sun-Sentinel

Urging patience regarding nuclear negotiations with Iran, Rachel Streitfeld writes, “America is still more than capable of tough, smart diplomacy that avoids real death and destruction.”

Breaking the American Jewish silence over the Gaza conflict, Haaretz

“Thanks to heaven and thanks to their bravery and wisdom, the IDF will continue to protect the Jewish body with distinction,” says Rabbi Jeremy Kalmanofsky. “But every call for vengeance, every chant of ‘death to the Arabs,’ every politician hammering on about paving over Gaza, every calloused reaction to Palestinian death, reminds me how crucial it is to care vigilantly for the Jewish soul.”

Salvaging Abbas, Times of Israel

Steven Cook warns that “empowering Abbas sounds very neat and clean, but it may very well be too late to help him. Over the last decade the combination of American and Israeli political pressure, missteps, and disingenuousness have consistently left the Palestinian president in a bind, forced to take part in negotiations that he and his advisors knew would never go anywhere, and then hung out to dry when they failed.”

The mystery at the heart of the Gaza crisis: did Hamas really kill 3 Israeli students?, Vox

According to Max Fisher, “The conflict is structured in such a way that another war was likely going to happen whether Netanyahu blamed Hamas or not.”

John Kerry’s big blunder in seeking an Israel-Gaza cease-fire, Washington Post

David Ignatius argues that both Kerry and Netanyahu should be focusing more on the long-term.

Netanyahu convinces Israelis of existential threat, Al-Monitor

Akiva Eldar explains how the Netanyahu narrative has become “etched” into Israel’s consciousness.

Barack Obama is not the enemy, Haaretz

The Haaretz editorial board stresses that “a trusting relationship between Israel and the United States is a supreme strategic asset for Israel that dare not be undermined. Netanyahu bears responsibility for protecting this asset, and any damage done to it contravenes the interests of all Israelis.”

Tumbling into Gaza, and climbing out again, Ynet

Nahum Barnea asks, “After Israel spent years ignoring the tunnel threat, will it really be so willing now to leave a fight it is winning while even one still stands?”

What I Learned Turning The Israel-Palestine Conflict Into A Video Game, Kotaku

Seven years after he created the video game "Peacemaker," Asi Burak shares lessons of Middle East diplomacy.

Of Ceasefires, Legitimacy and Lives vs. Strategy, Partners for Progressive Israel

Paul Scham says that “Israel can indeed coexist with Hamas for quite a while and it may have to. That is a proposition that is worth testing. But doing this requires an acceptance that Hamas will insist on surviving.”

Hamas Victory? Can Israel Safely Give Up The West Bank? Plus: A Heartfelt Message From an Israeli Peace Activist, Times of Israel

Jeff Pozmantier makes the case that “allowing the Palestinians to enjoy the many benefits of having their own state would lessen, not increase, the reason to fire missiles and dig tunnels. “