J Street News Roundup 8/21/2014

August 21st, 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

Time for solutions, J Street Blog

J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami proposed a new diplomatic initiative to break the impasse in Gaza.

Campuses Hone Tactics As BDS Wars Loom, New York Jewish Week

J Street U Director Sarah Turbow said that J Street U is preparing to come “back to campus with a student population that is far more aware and probably very angry and very frustrated about the current situation regardless of their political faction.”

Top News and Analysis

LIVE UPDATES: Body of Mohammed Deif's daughter found; 3 Hamas commanders killed, Haaretz

Three Hamas commanders, two of them considered the most senior in the southern Gaza Strip, were killed early Thursday in an Israel Air Force strike, a day after the assassination attempt on Mohammed Deif, the military wing chief. Hamas has said that the IDF "failed" in its attempt on Deif's life, but there is still no concrete evidence indicating whether he is dead or alive. Rockets and mortar shell fire continued over the course of Thursday morning, wounding an Israeli in the Eshkol Regional Council. Meanwhile, the UN Security Council on Wednesday deplored the resumption of fighting in the Gaza Strip and called on Israel and the Palestinians to resume negotiations. More than 175 rockets and mortar shells were fired toward Israel on Tuesday and Wednesday. In response, Israel struck some 110 targets in Gaza. Palestinian officials reported that more than 22 people have been killed since midnight on Thursday.

Netanyahu: Regional changes promise new 'diplomatic horizon', Haaretz

Prime Minister Netanyahu said on Wednesday that dramatic changes in the region promise a "new political horizon," even as Hamas and Israel continued to exchange fire after the collapse of truce talks on Tuesday. “I expect to start talks with a Palestinian government which can abandon the path of terror," he said.

Top Hamas sheikh admits to June kidnapping of Israeli teens, Times of Israel

A recording of a top Hamas official admitting the terror group was behind the June kidnapping and slaying of three Israeli teens in the West Bank emerged Wednesday, representing the strongest evidence yet of Hamas involvement in the attack.

Permanent ceasefire may require Palestinian Authority’s return to Gaza, Washington Post

Samuel Berger and Stephen Hadley argue that “for Israel, the [Palestinian Authority’s] return to Gaza offers the best hope for preventing the resumption of rocket, missile and tunnel attacks on Israel.”

Obama and Netanyahu, from Gaza to Iraq: Closer than ever but miles apart, Haaretz

“Without America – even a weakened America headed by a reluctant president – there can be no long-lasting arrangement in Gaza,” writes Chemi Shalev, “only America can guarantee Israel's commitments, only America can give proper backing to the Palestinian Authority and only America can lead the kind of international effort that is needed in order to rebuild Gaza and hopefully bring about its disarmament as well. And with all due respect to the regional changes that Netanyahu mentioned in his press conference, only America is capable of facilitating the kind of diplomatic process that would lead to the ‘new political horizon’ that Netanyahu alluded to on Wednesday, in a transparent effort to woo coalition partners on his left as well as Israel's more centrist-minded public.”


Report: Israeli delegation arrives in Cairo for ceasefire talks, AFP

An Egyptian news outlet reported that an Israeli delegation has landed in Egypt, indicating Israel could be considering renewing diplomatic efforts to reach a long term ceasefire in Gaza despite renewed rocket fire. Meanwhile, Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi accused Israel of "blocking" all attempts to end the Gaza conflict.

Amman asks Security Council members to pass cease-fire resolution, Jerusalem Post

Jordan is lobbying member states of the UN Security Council to adopt a resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and an end to the blockade.

Opposition Chairman Herzog: Netanyahu putting politics above security, Ynet

Opposition Leader Isaac Herzog (Labor) slammed Netanyahu on Wednesday night, accusing him of being more concerned with political infighting than addressing the needs of Israelis.

Lieberman, Bennett divided over Hamas, Haaretz

Foreign Minister Lieberman and Economics Minister Naftali Bennett disagree on the value of unilateral moves, but both support toppling Hamas.

US says Israel appears to be targeting family of slain teen, Times of Israel

State Department Spokesperson Marie Harf said Israel appeared to be singling out for arrest the family of a Palestinian teen who was kidnapped and killed in July.

Gaza Cost Far Exceeds Estimate, Official Says, The New York Times

The United Nations drastically underestimated the devastation that could result from possible assaults by Israel on Gaza this year, with 350,000 people so far displaced from a six-week-old conflict — seven times the 50,000 foreseen in its contingency plan, the top UNICEF official for Gaza said Wednesday.

Gaza severely short of water for drinking and bathing, Haaretz

Almost all the Gaza Strip’s 1.8 million residents are suffering from a severe water shortage.

Some see Qatar’s hand in collapse of Gaza talks, Associated Press

Efforts to end fighting between Hamas and Israel could hinge on Qatar.

Secretive Army of Hamas Emerges From Shadows in Gaza, Wall Street Journal

The conflict in Gaza has brought the secretive guerrilla army of Hamas out of the shadows and into battle against Israel's military for only the second time.

Opinion and Analysis

Enough hate for everyone, The New York Times

Taking on anti-Semitism and anti-Muslim sentiment in Europe, Kenan Malik contends, “Bigots on both sides need to be held to account.”

Israel must end Gaza-West Bank separation policy, Al-Monitor

Akiva Eldar urges, “This is the time to help the PA rehabilitate the communities in Gaza and earn the faith of its residents through an agreement establishing two states between the Mediterranean and the Jordan.”

Assassinations aren’t a solution, Haaretz

The Haaretz editorial board notes that “the attempted assassination of Deif didn’t change any of the basic facts. Israel still needs a smart policy that will enable the fighting with Hamas to end and will also have real value for the future.”

Killing of Hamas chiefs will spark desperate attacks against Israel, Times of Israel

According to Avi Issacharoff, “The elimination of the three [senior Hamas commanders] and the attempt to kill Deif — whose fate is still unclear — paves the way for a return of the Hamas political leadership, in Gaza and overseas, to a more central role… Ultimately the Hamas political leadership will have to decide how long to continue a conflict that is bringing destruction and devastation on Gaza and endangering Hamas’s survival.”

Is a signed agreement between Israel and Hamas necessary?, Haaretz

Zvi Bar’el examines the difficulty of reaching an agreement in Cairo.