J Street News Roundup 8/28/2014

August 28th, 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

Questions for Prime Minister Netanyahu, J Street Blog

J Street said that now that the fighting between Israel and Hamas seems to be finally and thankfully over, it is appropriate to ask what either side got out of it. In the spirit of Israeli democracy, Prime Minister Netanyahu owes Israelis a full accounting of the government's actions and decisions over the past two months.

Coat of many colors: US Jewish leaders divided on Gaza truce, Jerusalem Post

“Response to the Gaza ceasefire that began on Tuesday evening by American-Jewish leadership runs the gamut, from relief to outrage. Organizations such as J Street roundly support the truce, and referred to it as ‘truly welcome.’”

Top News and Analysis

LIVE UPDATES: Report: Abbas and Netanyahu held secret talks prior to Gaza truce, Haaretz

The ceasefire between Hamas and Israel continued to hold on Thursday, two days after it went into effect and ended 50 days of fighting between the two sides. Hamas declared victory with celebratory parades in Gaza. Hamas' deputy political leader in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, emerged from hiding and made his first public appearance at a rally in Gaza City on Wednesday evening. Netanyahu declared in a press conference on Wednesday that Israel had secured a "great military and political" achievement in the Gaza war and that Hamas had been dealt a "heavy blow." The prime minister will convene his security cabinet on Thursday evening to discuss the ceasefire.

Netanyahu, Abbas met secretly in Jordan — report, Times of Israel

A Jordanian newspaper reported that Netanyahu and President Abbas met secretly in Amman several days ago. There was no confirmation of the report from either the Palestinian or Israeli sides, and the Prime Minister’s Office declined to comment.

Palestinians threaten to turn to ICC if date not set for return to 1967 lines, Haaretz

Senior Fatah official Nabil Shaath said that the Palestinians plan to turn to the United Nations Security Council on September 15 to demand a deadline be set for Israel's withdrawal to 1967 borders. If the Security Council rejects the initiative, the Palestinians would open their case against Israel at the International Criminal Court. The Arab League will meet in Cairo September 7-9 to discuss providing Abbas with Arab support.

Iran Altering Reactor in Bid for Nuclear Deal, The New York Times

Iran’s top nuclear official said that Iran has started redesigning a partly constructed reactor in the northwest city of Arak to limit the amount of plutonium it produces, expressing hope that the change would help alleviate Western objections that the plutonium could be used in weapons.

Reports propose compromise for Iran nuclear deal, Al-Monitor

As negotiators from Iran and six world powers prepare to resume talks next month, two new papers by prominent arms-control experts close to the negotiations offer prescriptions for how to overcome key obstacles to reach a nuclear deal.

What’s next for Gaza?, Los Angeles Times

The Los Angeles Times editorial board urges, “Progress toward a two-state solution and an improvement in the lives of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank alike would make it harder for Hamas to argue that armed struggle is the only way forward for the Palestinian people. And that would make Israel more secure.”


As Truce Holds, Dazed Gazans Get to Work, The New York Times

In Gaza on Wednesday, banks reopened, markets were crowded, bulldozers began to remove rubble blocking roads and fishermen ventured out to sea, seizing on the ceasefire deal’s return of the zone permitted by Israel to six nautical miles, as agreed in 2012, from three nautical miles since June. Brown-uniformed security forces spread out to the border areas to make sure that no rogue rockets would threaten the fragile calm. Life did not exactly return to normal, but thousands of residents did return to their homes.

Despite reassurances from officials, few families return to Gaza-border homes after ceasefire, Haaretz

Only a few of the many families that had left Israeli communities adjacent to the Gaza Strip returned home on Wednesday. The rest, it seemed, are waiting to see if the ceasefire would hold before coming back to an area that in the day preceding the truce was hit by 116 rockets and mortar shells.

Support for Netanyahu plummets further in new poll, Times of Israel

A poll conducted by Israel’s Channel 2 found that only 37% of Israelis support the ceasefire, and 32% approve of the prime minister’s performance.

Opposition head accuses Netanyahu of losing public’s trust, Times of Israel

Knesset members from the right and left wings of the political spectrum criticized Netanyahu after a Wednesday address declaring victory in the Gaza military campaign, with lawmakers arguing that the Israeli leader failed to live up to the promises he made. Opposition leader Isaac Herzog called the prime minister’s speech “bleak,” and said Netanyahu had “lost the Israeli public’s trust.”

Lieberman pans ceasefire with ‘contemptible murderers’, Times of Israel

Foreign Minister Lieberman voiced his opposition to Israel’s ceasefire with Hamas, arguing that Israel should have rooted out the Gaza-based terror organization rather than sign an agreement with “contemptible murderers.”

Israeli envoy demands UN probe Hamas war crimes, Times of Israel

Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations submitted a request to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the Security Council Wednesday to investigate war crimes carried out by Hamas during Operation Protective Edge.

Opinion and Analysis

Gaza ceasefire is too little, too late, Ynet

Nahum Barnea says that “Israelis have discovered that they have no leadership.”

A time to destroy, a time to build, Jerusalem Post

Gershon Baskin argues, “The convergence of security and stability interests among Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, the PLO and Israel requires Israel to come to terms with the necessity of ending its control over the Palestinian people. The opportunities that now exist for Israel with the convergence of the interests in the immediate region will enable Israel to demand and create the mechanisms that will provide for genuine security in the face of rising Islamic extremism in the region.”

Gaza will not go away, Haaretz

According to Ari Shavit, “All those who have failed in Gaza – the Israelis, Arabs, Palestinians, Americans and Europeans – must take responsibility for that strip of land that has become the country’s gall bladder.”

Zahar, Haniyeh pressured Meshaal into ceasefire, Al-Monitor

Shlomi Eldar reports that Haniyeh and Hamas official Mousa Abu Marzouk “tried to force the recalcitrant [Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal] in Qatar to accept the Egyptian outline, and made it clear to Meshaal that if he continued to insist on having his way, he would have to bear the consequences.”

I Have Two Nightmares About a Palestinian State: That there won't be one—and that there will be one, The New Republic

Yossi Klein Halevi notes that “the war has already renewed the Israeli debate—all but dormant in recent years—about the future of a two-state solution.”

Take away their guns--then we’ll talk, Foreign Policy

“As long as Hamas remains armed,” writes Foreign Minister Lieberman, “its weapons represent the strongest and most violent veto of peace and security for Israelis and Palestinians alike.”

A Two-State Strategy Is Israel’s Strongest Weapon, Bumpspot.com

Jeff Pozmantier says that “Israel has to negotiate a political solution unless its leaders believe the ‘acceptable level of violence’ status quo that has existed for 47 years is sustainable indefinitely. It isn’t.”