J Street's News Roundup 6/19/14

June 19th, 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

Kidnapping Unites Jewish Community as Israel Splits Are Set Aside, Forward

“In a rare moment of unity, the kidnapping of three Israeli teens in the West Bank has brought together a Jewish community deeply divided over Israel… J Street, the dovish lobby that rarely sides with the current Israeli government, also laid the blame on Hamas. In a June 16 statement it quoted Secretary of State John Kerry, who spoke of ‘many indications pointing to the involvement of Hamas.’ But J Street also stressed the positive role being played by the PA in supporting Israel’s efforts to locate the missing students.”

Top News and Analysis

LIVE UPDATES: 'Focus on bringing teens home, not toppling Palestinian government', Haaretz

The search for three teenagers kidnapped in the West Bank late on Thursday entered a seventh day Thursday, with still no sign of life or demands from the kidnappers. The IDF arrested 30 Palestinian suspects overnight. According to the army, two Palestinians were shot while trying to firebomb soldiers in Jenin. On Wednesday evening, a rocket was fired from Gaza toward a kibbutz in southern Israel, causing damage to a house. No casualties were reported. In response, the Israel Air Force struck five terrorist targets in Gaza early on Thursday. The Prime Minister's Office offered a tepid response to President Abbas' condemnation of the kidnapping yesterday, saying his “words will be evaluated according to the PA's efforts to return the kidnapped boys safely home, and the real test is the dismantling of the agreement with Hamas.”

Iran talks sitrep: drafting underway, but progress slow, Al-Monitor

Drafting of the final Iran nuclear accord officially got underway in Vienna yesterday, but progress on the text was limited and many substantial differences remain, negotiators from Iran and six world powers said.

Iran eases key demand in nuclear talks, boosting chances for a deal, Los Angeles Times

Iran’s deputy foreign minister said that Tehran now accepts the principle that as part of the deal sanctions on its economy would be gradually eased as Iran gradually complies with limits on its nuclear activities, a key demand which boosts prospects for the agreement that diplomats are racing to finish within a month.

West Bank kidnapping poses opportunity to reset Netanyahu-Abbas ties, Haaretz

Barak Ravid argued that “in addition to the efforts to find the missing teens and their abductors, [Prime Minister] Netanyahu must decide in the coming days what political objective he wants to achieve from these events. One option is to slowly rebuild trust, while returning to talks aimed at extending the negotiations, talks which were broken off a few weeks ago. Another option is to embark on an ambitious new diplomatic plan that would fill the vacuum that has been created while extricating Israel from the international isolation it finds itself in.”


US praises Abbas for comments, urges restraint, Ynet

The United States praised Abbas for condemning the kidnapping and called on both Israel and the Palestinians to show restraint as Israel tightened its grip on the West Bank in search for the boys.

Senate Republicans looking to slash aid to Palestinians, Al-Monitor

Senate Republicans are preparing to push new restrictions on Palestinian aid that have already cleared the House with bipartisan support.

Kidnapped teen’s US cousin to hold vigil at White House, Times of Israel

Manny Halberstam--second cousin of kidnapped Naftali Frankel-- hopes “to send a strong message to President Obama that what is going on in Israel touches and concerns us in America.”

Palestinian Wakes Up To Find His Innocent Facebook Photo Used As Symbol Of Anti-Israel Hate Campaign, Buzzfeed

The Israeli public has been horrified in recent days by an online campaign in which people hold up three fingers to celebrate the kidnapping of the teens. But at least some of the photos appear to be misappropriated.

Over Arab objections, Israel to vice-chair UN panel on Palestinian refugees, Times of Israel

Israel overcame a coordinated effort by Arab states on Wednesday to thwart its appointment as vice chair of a UN committee dealing with issues such as Palestinian refugees and human rights, and will serve in that capacity at the 69th session of the UN General Assembly

Former Shin Bet chief Avraham Shalom dies at 86, Haaretz

Former Shin Bet director Avraham Shalom died on Thursday at age 86.

Opinion and Analysis

Pray for the safety of the kidnapped boys as well as the sanity of Israeli society, Haaretz

Chemi Shalev warns that “the killing of the three boys could push us closer to the edge that we’ve been long approaching.”

Palestinians in the West should speak out against Hamas’ human rights abuses, Haaretz

“Just as nothing anti-Semites do justifies keeping millions of Palestinians under occupation, nothing Israel does justifies Hamas repression in Gaza,” writes Peter Beinart.

Who did it?, Jerusalem Post

Gershon Baskin says, “I believe that the best chance of finding [the boys] quickly is by working hand-in-hand with the Palestinian security forces whose knowledge of the area, coupled with Israeli intelligence, provides the best asset for the search. It would also be wise not to be locked into the conception that Hamas is responsible, because it could turn out that it was not Hamas.”

Netanyahu, Abbas can avoid the next abduction, Al-Monitor

According to Akiva Eldar, “Netanyahu’s behavior shows that all he cares about is managing the conflict.”

The New President of Israel: Not Easily Categorized, Middle East Institute

Paul Scham explores how President-elect Rivlin reconciles his support for “Greater Israel” and his belief in civil and human rights.