J Street's News Roundup 6/2/14

June 2nd, 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 on Mideast peace: Wait till next time, San Diego Jewish World

Reflecting on a recent delegation to Israel, J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami wrote, “Our visit reinforced just how much J Street and our pro-Israel, pro-peace partners here and in Israel have to do. It deepened our commitment to bring home both the positive message of developments like Rawabi and the negative about the ongoing, corrosive impact of occupation on Israel and on the day-to-day lives of the Palestinians.”

Truth, Lies, Settlements, and the Need to Talk, Times of Israel

J Street Northern New Jersey Communications Co-Chair Martin Levine made the case for ongoing diplomacy with the Palestinians.

Cruz ventured far but stayed course on criticizing Obama, Dallas Morning News

“J Street, a lobbying group that calls itself pro-Israel and pro-peace, accused [Senator Ted] Cruz of ‘doing his best to pander to the far right elements of the pro-Israel community.’ Executive director Jeremy Ben-Ami denounced Cruz for ‘extremist views’ and for stirring opposition to a reasonable two-state solution. ‘Apparently Cruz thinks the path to the White House runs through Judea and Samaria,’ he wrote in an email to would-be donors.”

Top News and Analysis

Palestinians swear in unity government, Haaretz

President Abbas swore in a Palestinian unity government on Monday after overcoming a last-minute dispute with Hamas over dismantling the Prisoners Affairs Ministry. Ministers in the new administration, whom Abbas has said would be politically unaffiliated, took the oath of office in a televised ceremony in Ramallah. Abbas stressed that the government would be committed to its diplomatic platform and to previous agreements, and that he would be responsible for negotiations as chairman of the PLO and not on the authority of the new government. Hamas’ Ismail Haniyeh welcomed the "historic move" whereby "the two sides worked to end the rift for the sake of the Palestinian people."

Security cabinet to meet over new Palestinian unity government, Haaretz

The Israeli security cabinet is expected to meet at 3:30 P.M. to discuss the swearing-in of the Palestinian unity government. A senior Israeli official said that the ministers will discuss the possibility of imposing additional sanctions on the Palestinian Authority, to the point of severing all connection with the new government except security coordination. While Prime Minister Netanyahu wants to avoid taking measures that could lead to destabilization in the West Bank or to the collapse of the Palestinian Authority, he is trying to avoid responding with measures such as a wave of construction in the settlements because of the sharp international criticism that such a move could draw from the United States and the European Union.

Kerry calls Abbas to express concern over unity with Hamas, AFP

Secretary of State Kerry spoke Sunday with Abbas about the imminent establishment of the new unity government, and “expressed concern about Hamas’s role in any such government and the importance that the new government commit to the principles of nonviolence, recognition of the state of Israel and acceptance of previous agreements with it… Abbas assured the secretary that the new government would be committed to these principles.”

US signals extension on Iran deal could be needed, Al-Monitor

The US is signaling that it is prepared to extend Iran nuclear talks into the fall if Iran does not return to the table with more realistic proposals including on the centrifuge capacity it could be expected to have in a final deal. Experts from Iran and the P5+1 are due to hold technical talks in Vienna next week, while the next round of final deal talks will be held in Vienna on June 16-20.

IAEA says gains 'better understanding' of Iran nuclear program, Reuters

The International Atomic Energy Agency praised Iran on Monday for showing increased openness about its disputed nuclear program but made clear Tehran must do more to fully address questions about weapons research.

With New Palestinian Government Come Many Questions, and Some Answers, The New York Times

Jodi Rudoren answers major questions about Palestinian reconciliation.

Recognize the new Palestinian government, Haaretz

The Haaretz editorial board urges, “So long as the new Palestinian government continues to stick to the agreements it signed with Israel and seeks to continue cooperating with Israel, Netanyahu may not cut off ties with it or threaten to boycott it. He would be better off investing his efforts in renewing the diplomatic process with the partner that still exists.”


Israel to withhold PA tax transfers ahead of unity announcement, Times of Israel

The cabinet reportedly ruled that Israel would reallocate some Palestinian tax money and use the funds to pay off the Authority’s debts to Israeli companies. Abbas said he would respond to any Israeli measures, though he did not elaborate.

Israel strikes Syria, Gaza in response to fire, Haaretz

Israel Air Force jets struck two targets in the Gaza Strip in response to rocket fire toward Israel.

Netanyahu defers vote on terrorist pardon bill, Haaretz

HaBayit HaYehudi party members are furious with Netanyahu, who on Sunday canceled a vote on a bill that would prohibit granting pardons to terrorists.

US Congressmen vow to work to keep Jerusalem undivided, Ynet

Members of Congress from the bipartisan Congressional Israel Allies Caucus vowed this week to work to keep Jerusalem united as Israel's undivided capital. The caucus members met with a delegation of MKs on Thursday at an event marking Jerusalem Day.

Palestinian Artists Pull Out of Pittsburgh Show, JTA

An art exhibition in Pittsburgh featuring the work of Israeli, Palestinian and American artists was canceled after the Palestinian artists withdrew from the show.

Opinion and Analysis

Building Palestinian democracy, one brick at a time, Foreign Policy

“Palestinian businessman Bashar al-Masri has a plan for building democracy on the West Bank--and it's not really about politics,” writes Jonathan Schienberg.

For Hamas, it’s Palestinian unity for the sake of survival, Haaretz

Zvi Bar’el says that Israel’s “other course of action is to recognize the new Palestinian government, continue close cooperation and restart the negotiations instead of viewing reconciliation as a red line. It would mean understanding that the Palestinian government is an issue for the Palestinian public, just as the composition of the Israeli government is an issue for the Israeli public.”

Will Netanyahu recognize new Palestinian government?, Al-Monitor

Ben Caspit analyzes the political implications of Palestinian reconciliation

Hamas will keep limited force in unity government, Al-Monitor

Shlomi Eldar argues that “the reconciliation agreement with Fatah, if completed and implemented, will force Hamas to change.”