J Street News Roundup 8/13/2014

August 13th, 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

A War Without Weapons: Social Media and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Times of Israel

“Despite that we are miles away from the Middle East here in the United States,” wrote J Street U Georgetown Co-President Natalie Magioncalda, “we must continue to support diplomacy and ignore the online outbursts that are counterproductive to relieving the issues at stake.”

Top News and Analysis

LIVE UPDATES: State comptroller to investigate whether Israel violated int'l law during Gaza op, Haaretz

Egypt presented a ceasefire proposal to Israeli and Palestinian delegations early Wednesday, aimed at ending the five-week long Gaza conflict. The three-day cease-fire, currently in its final day, appeared to be stalled, after an Israeli official made clear that large gaps between the sides remain. According to Palestinian officials, Egypt’s proposal calls for easing parts of the Israeli blockade of Gaza, but leaves the key areas of disagreement, including Hamas' demand for a full lifting of the blockade and Israeli calls for Hamas to disarm, to later negotiations.The Israeli state comptroller announced that he will conduct an inquiry into decisions made by Israel on the military and political level during Operation Protective Edge.

Palestinians cautiously optimistic on reaching long-term Gaza truce with Israel, Haaretz

Disagreement over the opening of the border crossings between Israel and Gaza, including how the crossings will be supervised and what kind of merchandise will be allowed into Gaza, are among the key issues delaying the signing of a ceasefire agreement in the Gaza Strip. According to a Palestinian source, Hamas is insisting on a complete end to the blockade of Gaza rather than a mere easing of it. “The debate is mainly over the wording, not over the fundamental positions,” the source said.

Amid fears of renewed fighting, PM updates ministers on ceasefire progress, Times of Israel

Prime Minister Netanyahu summoned members of the security cabinet for one-on-one talks on Tuesday, leading to speculation that Israeli and Palestinian negotiators in Cairo could be nearing a ceasefire deal. Netanyahu reportedly met with the ministers individually because they were irritated that an earlier cabinet meeting had been canceled.

Role in Gaza Talks Signals a Comeback for Abbas, The New York Times

President Abbas is making a comeback as a major player in the Egyptian-mediated talks and is emerging as a potential linchpin for Israel, Egypt and Hamas as they seek new and lasting arrangements for Gaza.

As war with Israel shatters lives, more Gazans question Hamas decisions, Washington Post

Growing frustration among Palestinians in Gaza suggests that, despite their fervent nationalism, many hold Hamas partly accountable for the humanitarian crisis.

Criticizing Israel, Slate

Emily Bazelon argues that for Diaspora Jews, criticism is a legitimate form of engagement.


AP video journalist, translator killed in Gaza, Associated Press

An Associated Press video journalist and a freelance Palestinian translator assisting him were killed in an ordnance explosion Wednesday while working on an assignment in Gaza.

Foreign Ministry pooh-poohs Lapid plan for regional Gaza conference, Times of Israel

A foreign ministry official criticized Finance Minister Yair Lapid’s plan to hold a regional conference with Saudi Arabia and other Arab states to discuss the future of Gaza as utterly unrealistic. “Even the latest ‘Transformers’ movie is more rooted in real life than this proposition,” said the official.

Lieberman calls for spurning of UN human rights probe, Times of Israel

Foreign Minister Lieberman said on Wednesday that Israel should not cooperate with the UN Human Rights Council probe into the conflict in Gaza, and threatened the lives of top Hamas leaders if the terror group doesn’t return the bodies of two IDF soldiers who were killed in the fighting.

Palestinians say UN probe will prove Israel war crimes, AFP

Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki said Tuesday that a probe by the UN Human Rights Council will prove Israel committed war crimes and violated humanitarian law during its Gaza offensive.

Gaza probe head acknowledges 'double standards' at the UN, Haaretz

Professor William Schabas, appointed on Monday as head of the United Nations probe into Operation Protective Edge, acknowledged that "there are many instances of double standards" at the international body.

IDF nabs Hamas activist suspected of planning attack, Times of Israel

An elite IDF unit arrested a Hamas operative near Hebron Tuesday afternoon who the army says was plotting a terrorist attack against Israeli soldiers and civilians.

Palestinian Invitation to Cuomo Is Declined, The New York Times

Governor Andrew Cuomo and top New York lawmakers departed for Israel on Tuesday night to express support for the country in the Gaza conflict, but not before receiving an unexpected, and not entirely welcome, invitation: to visit Palestinian territory. No time, the governor said. No thanks, his fellow travelers said.

Opinion and Analysis

Why bother delving into history?, Times of Israel

“Why bother to raise a moderate voice, look closely at the tragedy of both sides (including the incomparable tragedy in Gaza’s ruined streets), and invoke historical facts, relevant truths, complexities and nuances?” asks Fania Oz-Salzberger, “because I do not believe that most Europeans, or even most Arabs, are willing to be fed by lies and watered by hatred. Because as a scholar of the Enlightenment and a political liberal I believe that rational dialog, twinned with human compassion, is bound to win. Because as a humanist Israeli Jew, and a Zionist believer in the two-state solution, I expect that hope will win.

But only if we help hope win.”

Former Shin Bet chief calls for regional conference, Al-Monitor

Mazal Mualem interviews Science Minister Yaacov Peri about Yesh Atid’s plan to inject hope into Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

Now is the time for Israel to be generous with Gaza, Haaretz

According to Uri Halperin, “Israel must act now to derive maximum benefit from this new opportunity and take advantage now of Hamas' weakness to reestablish long-term deterrence. The way to do this is to continue building the strategic alliance with Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and open up to the idea of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas playing a much larger role. To continue pushing Hamas to the brink will lead to total catastrophe in Gaza, which will be laid at Israel's door.”

Will this US-Israel crisis go to waste?, Haaretz

“[President] Obama has a choice,” writes Gershom Gorenberg. “He can leave Egypt the role of negotiating a ceasefire that will inevitably collapse if Gaza remains the embodiment of Palestinian frustration. Or he can reengage, making clear to Netanyahu that American support comes with a condition: finally engaging in serious negotiations with the Palestinian Authority on a two-state agreement. The latter path won't end the public spat between Obama and Netanyahu. But it could mean that the opportunities presented by this crisis don't go to waste.”

Three questions for the prime minister, Times of Israel

Naomi Chazan questions Netanyahu’s vision for Israel.

After Gaza, Foreign Affairs

Michael Koplow and Jordan Chandler Hirsch contend that a unilateral withdrawal from the West Bank “is the best of an array of bad options.”

Obama misses the mark on Netanyahu, Al-Monitor

Ben Caspit says that Netanyahu is in a weaker political position than President Obama recently implied.