J Street News Roundup 8/29/2014

August 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.

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J Street in the News

Build on Gaza ceasefire, Chicago Sun-Times

J Street Vice President of Communications Alan Elsner urged, “Israelis, Palestinians and the international community should not be satisfied with a ceasefire and a return to ‘business as usual.’... What is needed is a radical re-think that goes back to basics and attacks some of the root causes of the conflict.”

The next step for liberal Zionists after Gaza: a Freedom Summer with Palestinians, Haaretz

Noting that “by itself, J Street’s strategy of pressuring Washington to pressure Israel won’t work if the White House won’t aggressively run the ball,” Peter Beinart proposed that American Jews go on a “freedom summer” to join Palestinian protests in the West Bank.

Top News and Analysis

PM dismisses claim he agreed to state on 1967 lines, Times of Israel

The Prime Minister’s Office denied a claim by President Abbas that Prime Minister Netanyahu had agreed to withdraw to the pre-1967 borders and to the establishment of a Palestinian state in those territories. In an interview, the Palestinian leader said he would demand from Israel and the US to outline specific borders for a Palestinian state. If Israel does not respond, “we have what to do,” he said in an apparent veiled threat to take Palestinian demands to the international sphere. Abbas concluded by criticizing Hamas for the “criminal” public executions of dozens of alleged “collaborators” with Israel.

US reportedly pushing Gaza demilitarization at UN, Times of Israel

The US government is reportedly working toward presenting to the UN Security Council a comprehensive proposal for the demilitarization of the Gaza Strip.The proposal is set to be presented to the Security Council following negotiations over key issues between Israeli and Palestinian representatives, which are scheduled for next month in Cairo.

Arab East Jerusalem seethes with protests and raids, Reuters

Violent protests in Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem have been raging nightly beyond the spotlight on the Gaza war, leading to a crackdown by Israeli police in which hundreds of Palestinians have been detained.

Iran's foreign minister hopes for nuclear accord 'in short time left' till deadline, Reuters

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Tehran hoped to reach a "positive result" in talks with world powers on its nuclear programme ahead of a November deadline, thanks in part to support from Russia.

Making a weakened Israel into a political powerhouse, Ynet

Yuval Diskin argues, “The time has come to dust off the Arab peace initiative, update it and make it into a surprising massive regional process, which gradually resolves - while providing significant security guarantees for Israel - the conflict with the Palestinians.”


Poll: Americans sympathize with Israel more than with Palestinians, Haaretz

According to a new poll, 49 percent of Americans say that President Obama is properly balancing Israel and the Palestinians as he manages through the conflict, while 22 percent say he favors the Palestinians too much and 13 percent say he favors the Israelis too much.

Study of young US Jewish adults finds nuanced support for Israel, Times of Israel

A report released Thursday finds that a decisive percentage of young American Jews strongly supported Israel’s Operative Protective Edge against Hamas, but concurrently also deeply empathized with the resulting destruction in Gaza and loss of Palestinian lives.

IDF on high alert in Golan Heights, Times of Israel

As a result of the fighting on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights, the Israeli military upped its readiness.

Israeli soldier wounded by rocket last week dies, Haaretz

An Israeli soldier who was critically wounded by a Gaza-rocket which exploded in Gan Yavne a week ago died on Friday, raising the number of fatalities on the Israeli side to 72.

Promising Palestinian soccer star was among the conflict's dead, Haaretz

A bright future was predicted for Mohammad al-Qatari, but he was shot dead by an Israeli soldier.

Lapid: Gaza op not over until Gaza demilitarized, Ynet

Finance Minister Yair Lapid said, “Operation Protective Edge cannot end with a ceasefire. The operation needs to end only after Gaza has been demilitarized."

France suggests Europe could help as Gaza monitor, Associated Press

France’s president called on the international community to help enforce the ceasefire in Gaza, suggesting Thursday that Europe could play a role in monitoring the dismantling of tunnels dug by Hamas operatives as well as helping to secure gateways between Gaza and Egypt and Israel.

Meshaal: Hamas will go back to war against Israel if upcoming truce talks fail, Haaretz

Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal said Thursday that his organization still has rockets and tunnels at its disposal, and will not hesitate to use them against Israel again if the negotiations for a long-term truce, set to begin within a month, come to naught.

Netanyahu meets with House Armed Services members, JTA

Netanyahu likened Hamas to radical Islamists in Iraq and Syria in a meeting with members of the US House of Representatives Armed Services Committee.

Jewish, Muslim leaders in UK unite in call for Mideast peace, JTA

Jewish and Muslim leaders in the United Kingdom issued a joint statement, calling for peace in the Middle East and “constructive dialogue” between the two groups in Britain.

Opinion and Analysis

Ceasefire marks start of real work toward peace in Gaza, Boston Globe

“If Netanyahu is unable to solve Israel’s problems through diplomacy or through war, then perhaps it is time for Israelis to begin looking for another prime minister,” says the Boston Globe editorial board.

Netanyahu’s horizon after Protective Edge, Haaretz

“Now, after the war, it is time for [Netanyahu] to keep his promises to the public and to obtain peace, even if it means replacing some of his coalition partners and confronting the political hacks in his Likud party,” writes the Haaretz editorial board. “If he dares to do so, he will find that the public is behind him and the international community is at his side. But if he withdraws into his fears instead of going forward into negotiations, his term will end in a diplomatic and legal battle against claims of Israeli war crimes in Gaza, it will become a mere footnote.”

Meridor: Israelis will back diplomatic initiative, Al-Monitor

In an interview with Mazal Mualem, former Likud Minister Dan Meridor contends that if Netanyahu chooses to move toward a two-state peace agreement, “70% of the population would be with him.

After Gaza, Israel sees a new type of war and diplomacy, Al-Monitor

An Israeli cabinet minister tells Ben Caspit that “If Israel does not exploit the one-off diplomatic opportunity that we now encounter, it will be a catastrophe.”

How I Know Israel Won the Gaza War, Forward

“Though Netanyahu continues to be vague, speaking only of ‘political horizons,’ it seems that even he is now aware that Israel cannot simply maintain the status quo and manage threats without trying to address them at their root,” says Brent Sasley. “It’s unlikely we’ll see a return to serious peace talks soon, but making it clear that Israel prefers Abbas to Hamas is — as silly as it may sound — an important step forward.”

A fateful time ahead for Netanyahu’s divided government, Times of Israel

Haviv Rettig Gur reports, “Despite swirling speculation over the Gaza war’s impact on the coalition, the prime minister’s hawkish critics may have to bide their time unless public discontent deepens.”