J Street News Roundup 8/27/2014

August 27th, 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 Welcomes Gaza Cease-Fire, J Street Blog

Welcoming yesterday’s truce in Gaza, J Street said that “this ceasefire is a beginning, but only a comprehensive two-state solution can bring an end to the suffering we have witnessed.”

J Street welcomes Gaza truce, Times of Israel

“J Street welcomes the truce reached with Egyptian mediation between Israel and the Gaza Strip, praising the two sides for seeing ‘there is no military solution to their conflict’ and saying the ‘awful bloodshed’ had ended ‘without winners — only losers.’”

Student groups confront Israel-Palestine conflict, University of Virginia Cavalier Daily

“Another group advocating for awareness of the conflict and violence between Israel and Palestine is J Street U VA. On a national level, J Street also offers a political outlet for pro-Israel students in the United States working for a peaceful resolution between Israel and Palestine. Group members promote an independent Palestinian state.”

Liberal Zionism Is Dying. The Two-State Solution Shouldn’t Go With It, The Nation

Michelle Goldberg said that J Street “disgraced itself by declining to stand against Israel’s most recent war on Gaza, a departure from its opposition to 2009’s Operation Cast Lead.”

Top News and Analysis

LIVE UPDATES: Hamas arrests 15 suspected collaborators with Israel, sources say, Haaretz

After 50 days of fighting, Israel, Hamas and the other Palestinian factions agreed on Tuesday to a ceasefire of unlimited duration. At least half the members of the diplomatic-security cabinet opposed the agreement, but Prime Minister Netanyahu decided to accept it without bringing it to a discussion or vote. President Abbas announced the ceasefire in a televised statement, adding that the Palestinian leadership has decided to change its policy over the diplomatic process with Israel, and that he intends to present a detailed plan to end the occupation and establish a Palestinian state on the basis of the 1967 lines.

A mortar shell fired from Gaza shortly before the ceasefire took effect killed two Israelis in a town near the border, raising the death toll to 70. At least six Palestinians were killed in Israeli strikes across on Tuesday, raising the Palestinian death toll to over 2,100.

What's in the Gaza peace deal?, Reuters

In the ceasefire agreement, both sides agreed to end the fighting in Gaza, Israel and Egypt agreed to open more border crossings with Gaza to allow the easier flow of goods, the Palestinian Authority will take over administering Gaza’s borders from Hamas and lead in coordinating the international reconstruction effort, and Israel will narrow the security buffer within Gaza and extend the fishing zone off the coast. Other issues will be discussed in indirect negotiations within a month.

The US-Israel relationship arrives at a moment of reckoning, Foreign Policy

In an interview with David Rothkopf, former US Envoy for Middle East Peace Martin Indyk said, “As nice as it is to have strategic alignments, none of that solves Israel's existential problem: What is it going to do about the 2.6 million Palestinians it has responsibility for now? And if it doesn't find a way to resolve that issue, that existential dilemma, if Israel continues to control 2.6 million Palestinians in the West Bank, it's going to have to decide sooner rather than later whether it's a democracy or a Jewish state, but it won't be able to be both.”

Netanyahu saw his chance to run away from Gaza, and he took it, Haaretz

According to Barak Ravid, “All Israel's prime minister wanted in the end - after all the promises, and the rhetoric - was to achieve a cease-fire with Hamas at just about any price.”


IDF officer injured as Islamist rebels take Syrian crossing, Times of Israel

An Israeli officer in the Golan Heights was moderately injured by stray fire from fighting in Syria Wednesday morning, as an al-Qaeda linked rebel group reportedly took control of the only crossing between Israel and Syria.

Kerry to Israel and Palestinians: Comply completely with cease-fire, JTA

Secretary of State Kerry called on Israel and the Palestinians to “fully and completely” comply with the terms of the ceasefire.

Opposition to cease-fire comes from across political spectrum, Jerusalem Post

Murmurs of dissatisfaction rose from the Israeli political left and right Tuesday night.

President Rivlin working on anti-racism program, Haaretz

President Rivlin has been working in recent weeks on a multidisciplinary program to combat incitement and violence in Israel. Several discussions about the program, which is in the preliminary stages, have already taken place in various government ministries, including the Education Ministry.

Gaza chiefs make first public showing since July 8, AFP

Several senior Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders appeared in public on Tuesday shortly after a Gaza truce took hold, the first time they had done so since the conflict began on July 8.

Palestinians to UN, Western states: Try citizens who served in the IDF for war crimes, Haaretz

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki has sent a letter to UN Secretary General Ban ki-Moon and a number of Western foreign ministers asking them to bring to trial their citizens who serve in the Israeli army or volunteer with the military for alleged war crimes committed in Gaza.

Using seismic vibrations, Israeli firm aims to detect Gaza tunnels, JTA

Elpam Electronics says its geophone can find someone crawling 32 feet underground, and wants to bury hundreds of sensors.

New Palestinian Town in West Bank Awaits Israel’s Approval for Water, The New York Times

The first 600 apartments in Rawabi, a short commute from Ramallah, the Palestinian Authority’s administrative capital in the West Bank, were sold over a year ago and should have been turned over to their new owners in the spring. But there are no people living in Rawabi, because there is no water here. Connecting the new city to a nearby water main depends on long-awaited approval from Israel. As a result, the future of the whole enterprise is hanging in the balance. While Israeli officials say the water issue will be resolved soon, possibly within a week, Rawabi has already turned from a symbol of Palestinian entrepreneurship and state building into a cautionary tale of the perils of investing in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Netanyahu's Likud faces serious competition as breakaway minister's party steps up, Haaretz

A party formed by former Communications Minister Moshe Kahlon would damage Likud considerably in the run-up to the next elections, said major Likud activists, including one of its most prominent Knesset members. Kahlon, a popular Likud minister, who stepped down in late 2012, indicated last week that he would return to politics to form a “political framework” after the security situation stabilizes.

Opinion and Analysis

And how does that make you feel, Bibi, Foreign Policy

“Given my analysis of Netanyahu's political psychology, pressure from the international community that includes carrots that address Israeli security concerns will be more effective than sticks like diminishing aid, the threat of sanctions, or international boycotts,” writes Yael Aronoff. “Just as Netanyahu backed into the introduction of ground forces, he is also capable of surprising many by backing into significant progress toward peace. Unfortunately, his tremendous caution and his ideology will make it a risky bet.”

Real test for Gaza truce still lies ahead, Haaretz

Amos Harel reports, “It is now clear that Israel views the Palestinian Authority differently, as well as its unity deal with Hamas. Netanyahu's government even half-heartedly recognizes the need for the partner from Ramallah, who maintained stability in the West Bank despite the rage over the killings in Gaza, and is now willing to restrain Hamas and help with reconstruction.”

With truce, Israel talks to Hamas and Islamic Jihad, Haaretz

According to Zvi Bar’el, “The significance of the ceasefire is that Israel has recognized militant groups as an inseparable part of the Palestinian polity.”

No winners in Israel-Hamas cease-fire, Al-Monitor

Ben Caspit contends that “it is not only Meshaal’s fate that will be sealed in the coming weeks, but also Netanyahu’s. These two have not been able to break loose from each other’s stranglehold for 17 years.”

An Insider’s Guide to the Most Important Story on Earth, Tablet

Former AP correspondent Matti Friedman explains how and why reporters get Israel so wrong, and why it matters.

The unrequited love affair between liberal Jews and an illiberal Israel, Haaretz

“Israel certainly needs to mature,” notes Carlo Strenger, “but so do we Jewish liberals: only adolescents demand ideal objects for their loves. But that doesn’t mean that will not continue to fight against policies and views we despise as long as we have the slightest chance to turn things around.”

Humiliation Only Fuels War; Redeemed Honor Aids Peace, Partners for Progressive Israel

Paul Scham says, “Understanding your adversary's mindset is key to making a durable peace.  Humiliation is perhaps the strongest goad to enmity and radicalism; conversely, it is much harder to goad comfortable people to make war.”